Why do I need a dog crate? I just want my dog to be loose in the house.
Dog crates are very useful tools to have when owning a dog. Using a dog crate when training your dog, whether a new puppy or an older dog, is indispensible. A dog crate allows for your dog to have a safe space in the house, learn behaviors like waiting, learn to not have accidents in the house, and guarantee safety for your dog when you leave the house or are sleeping. Dog crates do not take up much space and are very useful for caring for your dog.
I have heard a dog crate can be used to train my dog. Why?
Using a dog crate taps into a dog’s natural tendencies and a species that is used to having a den. In the wild, dogs have a base point that they use as housing, protection, and refuge (a den). A dog crate works with this instinct by providing a den for your dog in your home. Dogs are not likely to soil their den, as this is a place for relaxing and safety. Therefore a dog crate is a great way to show your dog when and where to go to the bathroom. Dog crates also limit your dog’s ability to roam the house and show them house rules, like not chewing on or scratching furniture. Furthermore, dog crates are a great and safe way in which to transport your dog when riding in a car.
How do I know what size crate to get?
Your dog crate should be a big enough size that your dog is able to stand and turn around in the dog crate. As your dog grows up (if you have a puppy), you will want to get a dog crate that will work for your dog at his/her adult size. If doing so, it can be a good idea to block off part of the dog crate when your dog is younger to make it a more appropriate size. It is also possible in some stores or shelters to rent a dog crate so that it is easier to upgrade the dog crate as your dog grows. Ask us here at Pet World any sizing questions you might have about dog crates.
Is there anything else I need besides the dog crate itself?
Yes. You will want to provide your dog with some comfort in his/her dog crate. Especially when using a wire dog crate, that can be tougher on your dog’s paws, you will want to line the bottom of the dog crate with some sort of cushion or blanket. This will help to remind your dog that his/her dog crate is a place of comfort, not for going to the bathroom. If there are any accidents in the dog crate, make sure to remove the used cushion immediately and replace it with a clean one. Any remaining scent could encourage your dog to have more accidents in the dog crate in the future.
How long can I leave my dog in his/her dog crate?
As might be expected, you will have to ease your dog into extended amounts of time in his/her dog crate, and a dog crate should never be used as an all day solution. As your dog ages, he/she will gain better control of his/her bladder with experience and size, so you will be able to leave your dog in his/her dog crates for greater amounts of time. A list of maximum lengths of time for staying in a dog crate based on age are: 8-10 weeks 30-60 minutes, 11-14 weeks 1-3 hours, 15-16 weeks 3-4 hours, 17+ weeks 4-5 hours. You will need to make sure to pay attention to your dog and his/her personal level of comfort and ability to stay in the dog crate. Each dog is different and should be left in his/her dog crate based on individual need and experience.
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