Category Archives: Puppy Perspectives

Should I crate train my puppy?

Should I crate train my puppy? by Michelle Gillis of Doggie Fun & Fitness

I hear this all the time…

“I feel bad leaving him in there”

“It’s so mean!”

“I wouldn’t want to be in a cage”

“I want him to sleep in bed with me”

There are so many good reasons to crate train your puppy.  Before I start listing reasons, try to shift to your dog’s perspective.

Human Perspective: a crate seems like a jail cell meaning punishment

Canine Perspective: a crate is a safe place to sleep

Crates are a safe place for a dog to hang without being bothered.  For families with young kids, it’s necessary.  Who wants to take a nap with an unpredictable toddler on the loose?

My dog Annyong loves chilling in his crate. He goes in with the door open, however it’s important you close the door too so it’s on your terms not his.

These are the reasons to crate train…

Housebreaking

Housebreaking problems usually start as a few accidents.  This can turn into a habit that can last through adulthood. If those accidents were not cleaned up properly, we are now blurring the inside/outside the house line. We have to teach a puppy that the smell of urine belongs outside.  This is where the crate comes in…

Puppies like to pee/poop away from where they hang.  The crate is a small version of your house.  Your teaching him “you don’t poop where you hang”.  When he gets older, he will see the house as his crate and never have an accident.

I recommend Natures Miracle for clean up

Safety

Puppies are curious which can lead to mischief.

  • Chewing through live wires
  • Chewing and choking on objects
  • Eating/swallowing dangerous objects (corn on the cob swallowed whole.. $5000 vet bill)
  • Eating/chewing poisonous items (ant traps, odor eaters, anti-freeze)

Separation Anxiety

Crating for small amounts of time at a young age teaches your pup to tolerate being alone.  If your pup is constantly with someone, they will panic when left alone.

Anyone who has a dog with separation anxiety will tell you how awful it is.

Your life will revolve around managing it and it takes a lot of work and help from others to fix.

Signs of separation anxiety

  • Dog will follow you room to room
  • Whining/barking when out of view (excessively)
  • Watches you constantly

When left alone…

  • Scratched trim in doorways, damage to windows
  • Puddles of drool
  • Frantic panting, wild wide eyes, pupils dilated
  • Persistent barking until hoarse

NOT signs of separation anxiety

  • Chewing furniture, shoes, toys
  • Sleeping when you come home/ or excited/happy to see you

Grooming, Vacations, Emergency Vet Visits, etc.

At some point in in your dog’s life he will have to be put in a crate.  Grooming, boarding, vet stays, can be stressful enough, adding crate stress can make things challenging.

“When can we stop using the crate?”

I think 1-½ years old is a reasonable goal but every dog/situation is different.  Some high-energy dogs need it for much longer.  I recommend using it for many years if you spend a lot of time with your dog, mostly to prevent separation anxiety.

So…. crates are good!

Lets stop applying our human perspective and start looking at things through the canine perspective.  We earn our dogs respect that way

Crates should always be used in a positive way, never used for punishment.  Seek a professional trainers advice before forcing a nervous/fearful dog.