Crate Training Dogs and Why I Believe In It
Some people believe that crate training dogs is cruel or unnecessary. They feel dogs are not den animals, therefore shouldn’t be locked up for the convenience of humans.
I can understand that however I don’t see it the same way.
I have two dogs who don’t always get along. It is for their own safety that I have two comfortable dog cages that they can both retreat to when they feel the need, and believe me, they do.
When a dog is crate trained properly, he will choose to go into his cage when there’s too much activity, when he wants some alone time, or if he just wants to sleep. He will also see it as the place where he eats. This will be his own private area where he can decompress and chill out.
Selecting the Right Cage
Your dog’s cage should be large enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lay down in. As he gets bigger, make sure you get a larger cage if he is still using the same one he did when he was a puppy.
Cages come in all different styles, sizes and colors. Choose a type you think works best in your house and one that your dog is most comfortable with. If you find he doesn’t like the one you have chosen for some reason, save receipts and take it back.
The most important thing here is that your dog never looks at the cage as punishment. If that happens, he will never want to go in.
Crate training dogs can be tricky and is not something that will happen over night. Depending on your dog’s age or past experiences, this can take days or weeks. Make sure to take your time and do it right.
Crate Training Dogs- the Process
Put the crate in an area of the house where your dog will not feel left out. Let him see it, smell it, and get used to it.
After a while, throw some treats inside and let him sniff them out. Do NOT shut the door. Keep the door open until he is comfortable, no matter how long that takes.
When you feel he is ready, start feeding him inside the crate, with the door open. The more he associates the cage with food and something positive, the more he will like it. Again, if you feel he is comfortable, begin closing the door. Only you can know for sure how long this process will take.
As he gets more comfortable inside, start putting him in for longer periods of time. Your goal should be 15-20 minutes, then an hour, and so on.
If you are crate training because he will be in the cage while you are at work, please make sure he is not inside for more than six hours. If you will be gone from home for longer than that, consider letting him stay in a different room of the house, using a baby-gate, or having someone come by every day to let him out and play with him for an hour or so.
If you are planning on crating him at night, which is what I do, feel free to start doing that as soon as he seems ready. If he is anxious or afraid, hold off. Again, only you will know when he is ready.
As time goes on, you can decide if you would like to keep the cage where you currently have it, or if you would like to move him closer to you. He may be more comfortable in your bedroom at night, which is how mine feel. I have cages on either side of the bed so they are both right next to us.
If your dog is a puppy, never leave him inside for more than three or four hours MAX. Younger (and older) dogs are not able to control their bladders for that long.
Cages are for the comfort and safety of our dogs. They are not places to stick our dogs when we don’t have time for them. If your dog is inside a locked cage more than he is out, you may want to reconsider how you do things.
When crate training is done properly, your dogs will look at their cages as a place of tranquility and peace. Check out my review on the cages I use for my own dogs.
When you bring a Pit Bull, (or any dog) into your life, no matter what age, you have to make sure they know their boundaries. Crate training is a good way to establish this.
There are a lot of fun activities you can do to keep your dog balanced and happy. Check out my article, training your dog, to learn about some of them!