This is a question that is asked thousands of times every day as people get their new pets and bring them home, here are some of the more common questions and their answers:
Should I Crate my new Puppy?
Definitely, I like you initially had concerns about this as it seemed cruel to put a dog in a “cage” but in the end after much research and talking to people, we found it was the best thing you can do for your new friend.
Dogs in the wild like to sleep in tightly enclosed areas that can be protected, it’s called the “den” instinct and our domesticated friend is no different, it still has these instincts. Think about your puppy where do you see it sleeping most? Usually under a desk, table, in closet, a corner or up next to a wall… because it fulfills this sense of security and well being. Research has shown that dogs will sleep more soundly and can take refuge when frightened in their crate or as we call it in our home, their house.
But my puppy cries when I put it in the Crate!
Well, babies and kids initially cry when you put them into their cribs and rooms… until they adjust and begin to feel comfortable, dogs are the same way, they want to be with you constantly or not confined to a small area, but would you let a small child wander around the house all night or all day when you can’t watch it? Of course not! This can be not only a housebreaking issue but also a safety issue just as with a small child puppies will chew on just about anything during teething, or if they are bored, so crating is the best option.
But my dog doesn’t want to go in the crate!
Most dogs don’t want to at first, but make it very positive experience… here’s how we did it.
Initially, we would have to push our dog in saying “in your house” and immediately give a treat, close the door and then walk away not returning until the crying stopped, we would let it out with a lot of praise and a treat. Doing this over a period of time acclimated the dog to the crate until it felt comfortable, now all we have to say is “in your house” and the dog will run to the crate jump in a laydown.
Also, put in a couple of the dogs favorite toys or chew bones, but don’t pack too many items in the crate or the dog will not be able to get comfortable.
Isn’t it mean to put a dog in a Crate for extended periods of time?
No, people don’t realize that dogs spend over 80% of a twenty-four hour period… sleeping! That’s right they snooze most of the day. Keep in mind though that puppies should not be created all day initially as they will be in great distress due to having to potty, you should make arraignments for either you or a friend to get the puppy outside about every four hours until they are old enough to hold it. Imagine if you had to hold it for eight hours as a child!
Well, how long can they hold it you ask? Well, age will vary depending on the size and breed, but here is a general guide:
1 – 2 months about every two hours, slowly extending the times.
3 – 4 months about every four hours, again slowly extending the times.
After about 6 months a dog should be able to hold it for about eight hours if you have trained it right, But keep this in mind, you should feed and water the dog about two hours prior to placing it in the Crate and make sure to give it ample time to relieve itself before crating, also when waking or coming home the dog should immediately be taken outside, no playing or welcoming home until this is done.
How big should the crate be?
Dogs do not need a condo-sized crate, the crate should be just big enough for the dog to stand, turn around and lay down, if the crate is too large the dog will be able to potty in one end and sleep in the other, Just remember the old rule “a dog will not potty where it sleeps”. What we did was buy a crate that was big enough to hold a large dog (Lab) and blocked off a section making the crate half its size, that way as the dog grew we could adjust the crate size. Dogs just like kids will have accidents so don’t be hard on ’em if they soil their bed.
How long should a dog be created?
Depends on the dog and its behavior, our Golden Retriever, Champ, was created for about five months and then we slowly let have run of the house one room at a time. But on the other hand, our Chocolate Lab, Chloe, developed Separation Anxiety and became very destructive so she was crated for about 11 months until she “matured” then again she was slowly given run of the house, one room at a time. Keep in mind though that her crate is still in our bedroom, but without the door and she still sleeps in it quite a bit.