Dog Crate Training Philosophy
Dog’s are natural den animals. Even though our domestic dogs have long evolved and separated themselves from wild dogs and wolves, they still maintain that age-old instinct of retreating to a comfortable and secure refuge.
A simple way to provide this place of refuge is by utilizing a dog crate. Dog crates come in all sizes to fit almost any dog, so finding one for your four-legged friend shouldn’t be an issue. Dog crates serve many purposes for you and your dog. However, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind though if you decide to provide a crate for your dog.
Never use your dog’s crate as a punishment tool. This should be a place that makes him/her feel safe and happy. If the crate is used a disciplinary tool, it will quickly be associated as a negative rather than a positive and you’ll end with a dog crate that never gets used.
Make sure you find the right size for your dog. If you have a mastiff, you’re not going to want to stuff him into a medium size crate right? On the other hand, you don’t want to put a Chihuahua in large crate either. A simple rule of thumb is to make sure your dog has enough room to stand up and turn around. Providing any more space beyond that will allow your dog too much room and could even allow him to use the dog crate for potty breaks when you’re out. Just be sure to pick out a crate that will fit your dog once he is full grown.
Try crate training your dog as early as possible. The earlier you start getting your dog acclimated to the crate, the better. This is especially important for a puppy or young dog coming into a new home with children or other pets. The dog crate will provide a shelter for them to relax and lower their stress levels the first few days and weeks in their new home. When crate training puppies, be sure not to leave them in their crate for more than three to four hours as they can’t hold their bowel or bladder movements very long.
Whatever you do, try not to crate your dog day and night though. Dogs need interaction and exercise. If you are busy with work or something else and can’t change your schedule, try to give your dog time at a doggy day care or find a neighbor or dog walking service so they can get outside.
Start by putting your dog in the crate for just a few minutes at a time. At first they may wine and cry, but don’t give in to this. Instincts will kick in after just a little time and they will grow accustomed to their crate. Once they feel secure in their crate, not only will it help your dog, but it will help you in a number of ways too.
Crating your dog will prevent chewing, unwanted potty breaks and mischievousness when you are out of the house. A bored or new dog or puppy left alone will wreak havoc when unsupervised.
Traveling with a crate trained dog is also much easier and safer. Dogs should never ride in the car without being confined to a crate or tethered to a seat belt somehow. A loose dog in a car is a danger to you and others on the road. Driving with a dog in a crate will help reduce anxiety levels and make the trip that much easier.
Proper dog crate training will be a huge benefit to you and your dog. Just take it day by day and be sure to make it an enjoyable experience for your dog and it will pay off in the long run.
How To Crate Train Your Dog
Great, you’ve decided to crate train your dog. Now what??? Take a deep breath and relax. It’s really not that hard as long as you follow some simple guidelines we’ve set out for you below.
1. Get the right size. A dog should be able to stand up and turn around in their crate. Nothing more and nothing less is needed. The crate should mimic a den, which is a tight, enclosed space that provides security and safety for dogs.
2. Never use the crate for punishment. Always make the crate a positive experience for your new dog or puppy. Using a crate in a negative manner will only make it more difficult for you to get him or her inside.
3. Slowly introduce your dog or puppy to the crate. Use a term such “crate”, “house” or whatever to associate with the crate for your dog. Leave the door open at first and let your dog sniff and explore the space. Speak in a positive tone when they are checking out the crate. You can use some dog treats at this point to lure the dog near and into the crate, but once they go inside for the first time, don’t shut the door. Let them get in and out at first on their own and don’t force them in. This process may need to be repeated for several minutes or over the course of several days. Another tip is to put a favorite blanket, bed or even a blanket with the puppy’s mother’s scent in the crate. This will help create a positive and secure association with the crate.
4. Once your dog is comfortable in the crate, you can begin trying to feed him or her inside the crate. Start by feeding your dog a few feet away from the crate and move the bowl a little closer each day towards the crate. Eventually, you’ll want to place the bowl inside the crate. In the beginning, be sure to leave the door open once the bowl is inside the crate. As your dog is comfortably standing and eating in the crate, you can close the door. Gradually work your way up from closing the door for just a few minutes at first until you can close the door for several minutes after the dog is done eating.
5. If your dog whines or barks during the initial acclimation process in steps 3 and 4, don’t let them out until they stop making noise. Letting them out when they whine or bark will only signal to them that whining is a way to get out of the crate. Wait until they stop whining and/or barking and then let them out.
6. Now that you’ve successfully shut the door and your dog can stay in the crate for at least a few minutes, you can now begin working on getting him or her to stay in the crate for longer periods. By this time, your dog probably will have bonded with you. Put a blanket or old shirt of your own in the crate along with the dog’s bed or blanket that you’ve had in there. Initially, sit by the crate with the door closed for about ten minutes or so. This will help soothe and relax your dog inside the crate. Get up and go out of sight for a few minutes and then come back. Let your dog out after you return. Repeat this process over and over again, adding more time as you feel your dog and you are ready. Once your dog can successfully stay in the crate for 30-45 minutes alone without whining, you can then begin to leave the house with your dog in the crate.
7. When leaving your crated dog for an extended period of time the first time, put a few treats and some toys that can’t be shredded or choked on in the crate. Don’t dwell on your departure. Make the process of putting your dog in the crate short and sweet. Say “crate” or “house” or whatever word you’ve chosen for the crate, close the door, offer praise, say bye and leave.
8. Upon returning home, be sure not to respond to barking or whining, but try to let your dog out as soon as possible. Take him or her outside immediately to use the potty and praise them for being so good inside their crate while you were gone.
Following these steps will help make dog ownership and crate training a much more pleasurable experience.
How To Choose The Right Wood Dog Crate
If you’re in the market for a wood dog crate, you’ve most likely grown tired of looking at that old wire dog crate. Wood dog crates offer a great and attractive alternative to the traditional wire crates we’ve all seen. Not only do the wood crates offer a secure sanctuary for your pet, but they also look very attractive, doubling as a piece of furniture in your home.
When trying to decide on a wood dog crate, there are a few simple things to look out for to make sure you’re getting a quality product.
If you’re looking for a wood crate, you should start off by making sure it’s actually made of wood. There are many cheap options on the market today that advertise their crates as “wood”, but when you look closer and read the fine print, you’ll see they’re actually made of recycled plastic made to resemble wood. Insist on wood if you’re buying a wood crate.
Once you’ve determined that the crate you want is actually real wood, make sure the wood used on the crate has been kiln dried to less than 14% moisture content. This is important because the less moisture present in the wood will reduce warping, mildewing, cracking and increase longevity. Quality wood dog crates all have kiln dried wood. It’s very probable that any other wooden furniture you have in your home was probably made from kiln-dried wood, so your dog crate shouldn’t be any different.
Next, you’ll want to make sure the crate is simple to assemble with a minimal amount of pieces and hardware. I don’t know about you, but the less time I have to spend putting something together, the better. The more complex the assembly process will just increase the chances of errors during assembly. Also, wood crates that have a large number of individual pieces and hardware may also increase the chances of integrity failure of the crate as a whole. Numerous small pieces joined together simply mean there are more areas within the crate that are lacking in strength and subject to failure. A good wood dog crate should only have 5-7 large pieces in total.
Finally, make sure the finish is non-toxic and free of mercury and other heavy metals. A good, safe finish will allow for easy cleaning and will also stand up to years of use and abuse.
In conclusion, look for a real wood product that is kiln dried, easy to assemble and non-toxic. Following these simple steps will help you select a crate that meets your needs and expectations.
What is Dog Crate Furniture?
This seems like a fairly straightforward question we hear very often, but it never hurts to offer a detailed explanation.
For years the only available option for crating your dog at home was a wire crate. These crate are very effective at containing dogs and also relatively affordable. In the past 5-10 years or so, new options beyond wire crates have emerged. Dog owners began to desire something a little more appealing to the eye outside of wire crates. From this demand, dog crate furniture was born.
Dog crate furniture serves two purposes.
The first purpose is to offer a “den-like” sanctuary for your dog. This should act as a safe and secure place for your dog to sleep or just enjoy some time alone. Dog crate furniture should have a secure, locking door and plenty of ventilation. It would be inhumane and downright unsafe to put a pet inside something that resembled a coffee or end table that didn’t have proper ventilation.
The second purpose of dog crate furniture is to have “furniture-like” appeal. This concept was really what spawned the idea. Dog owners wanted something that would look just like a nice end or coffee table inside their home. Well designed, furniture quality crates meet this need. Very often, guests entering homes that have these crates don’t even realize that the table they set their drink is meant to contain a dog. In essence, these become conversation pieces.
Obviously any crate will do depending on dog owner’s individual tastes, but if having a wire crate sitting in the middle of your living room seems unappealing, dog crate furniture will fill that void nicely.
How To Care For Wood Dog Crates
Now that you have a wood dog crate for your cherished pet, you’ll want to care for it so it looks as good as it did the day you purchased it.
Wood dog crates obviously are different than a metal crate, so they require different cleaning techniques, touch up, chewing and moisture protection.
Whereas a metal crate can be rinsed off with a hose or cleaned using various household cleaners, wood crates cannot. Wood crates should be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. A very mild soap can be used on the cloth, but make sure it is well diluted. Any moisture that appears on the crate after a good wipe down should immediately be dried with a dry towel or cloth. Most wood dog crates have a water-resistant finish, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure no moisture remains after cleaning. Any harsh chemicals such as bleach or related household cleaners should never be used. They can severely harm the wood itself and fade or completely remove the stain or color.
Deep nicks and scratches can be repaired using special touch up pens. These pens are available from Mohawk Finishing Products. The pens are specifically designed for use in wood furniture. You’ll want to browse their catalog and find the color that best matches the finish of your wood crate. Once you’ve decided on the correct color, you’ll find the pens work extremely well in covering up any noticeable blemishes.
If you have a young dog or a puppy that is prone to chewing, placing him or her in a wood dog crate can be cause for concern. One tactic for reducing or eliminating chewing of the wood is to apply a bitter, non-toxic, substance to the interior portion of the crate. There are several products available online or at your local pet store such as bitter apple. A homemade version of a chewing deterrent can also be concocted using a diluted mix of cayenne pepper or Tabasco. Once you have chosen your chewing deterrent, place the liquid on a cloth and rub it on the areas inside of the crate that you think are most vulnerable to chewing. You don’t need to overdo it either. Just use a little the first time and see how your dog reacts. Usually once they have tasted something like that they remember it negatively and will not want to experience it again.
To prevent scratch and moisture damage to the interior of your wood crate, you’ll want to line it with something. Usually, there are custom size beds made to specifically fit inside your crate, but if these are unavailable, use some old blankets to line the interior. Should an accident occur, this will significantly help protect the floor of the crate. Puppy pads may also be considered inside the crate, but just make sure they are under a bed or blanket because they can easily be shredded by dogs, created somewhat of a mess.
Following some of these simple suggestions will help increase the longevity and aesthetics of your wood dog crate for years and years.