Indoor crates are ideal for dogs of any age, creating a space that they can retreat to and consider their own. They can also be used for training and transport, making them an absolute must for dog owners!
Choosing your crate
Your crate should give your dog enough space to move comfortably at adult size - so if you have a puppy, try to imagine how big they’ll be in a few years’ time! Make sure they have enough room to stand up, sit up, lie down and turn around. Think about convenience when deciding, too; most crates have removable bases to make them easier to clean.
Setting up your new crate
An appropriate spot for your crate is one which doesn’t lie near a draught or a radiator - you should pick somewhere with a fairly consistent temperature so that your dog doesn’t get too hot or cold. Try to place it somewhere they can rest without being disturbed, but close enough to the family living spaces that they don’t feel excluded.
The first time you set the crate up, it’s best to do it without your dog around as there are usually folding parts you’ll need to learn to use, and your pet should be able to enjoy it straight away to create the right association with it. Once erected, add suitable bedding - you can take a look at our crate mats in store to get an idea of the right size - and include a blanket over the top to enhance the den-like feeling for your dog.
Spend lots of time with your dog as they get used to their crate to make sure they are content to use it for rest and for training. Once your dog is comfortable with using it, begin closing the door for short periods and stay with them, before slowly introducing unsupervised periods of time where the door is locked. This is ideal for training puppies and dogs to be happy while left alone, although please note that you shouldn't leave your dog in the crate unsupervised for long periods of time.
Crates offer an effective method of house training, allowing you to easily control when and where your dog is able to relieve themselves. It's natural instinct for dogs to keep their resting and feeding places clean, making them unlikely to urinate inside their crate. This means that they will wait until you take them to a suitable relief area, giving you more opportunities to be present and give appropriate praise when your dog uses the right place.
Be aware of the difference between crate training and confining your dog for long periods of time to restrict messy areas. Short-term use of the crate is best, so that your dog understands that they are only supposed to use outside spaces or Puppy Pads to eliminate. If they do have an accident inside their crate it could significantly set their training back, so ensure they are taken to a relief area once an hour until you are certain of what their schedule is - they will soon become quite regular if you feed them at the same time each day.
A crate can be a good way to work through behavioural issues that pets have, in particular with chewing and other anxious behaviours. It should be a safe space for your pet to retreat to, alleviating the worry that is causing the bad behaviour in the first place. Get them used to their crate as described above, and monitor them as they get used to being left unsupervised, to ensure that they are content to be alone.
Keep in mind that the crate should be used to address the problem itself, and can help with feelings of anxiety or insecurity, but if the behaviour continues you should speak to a specialist, as there may be another underlying problem.