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Crate Training Your Dog

Giving your dog a place to call his/her own

Posted April 17, 2012 in Dog Behavior

Just like people, pets need a place of their own. While a cat might seek refuge on a sunny window sill and teenagers might slam and bolt their bedroom doors, a dog often likes nothing better than the peace and quiet of a crate. Crates provide many benefits to the happy pup, as well as his family. They provide a place to relax, an excellent environment to learn house-training manners, a safe place to spend time when people are away, a dining area (especially in a multi-pet household), and a place to call his or her own.

Our guidelines for the perfect canine hangout:

1. Choose the appropriate crate.
It should be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. However, it should not be so large that your dog could easily do his business in one corner and sleep in another (especially for the young dog learning to be house trained). There are many styles of crates available and some allow you to partition the crate so that you can make the area smaller for a young puppy and then expand it as your dog grows.

2. “Decorate” your dog’s crate appropriately.
While your pooch should be comfortable, you want to be careful that anything you put inside won’t get him or her into trouble: bedding should be washable and not dangerous if ripped or chewed, toys should be safe and not a choking hazard, and food and treats should be limited to appropriate quantities. And always ensure your pet has water if he or she is going to be confined for an extended period of time.

3. Keep in-crate time reasonable.
Sleeping overnight in a crate, taking naps during the day, and being confined (especially younger dogs) during your workday are all reasonable. However, if you need to be away more than 4-6 hours, consider hiring a dog walker or ask a friend to come in and give your dog a trip around the block.

4. Make it the coolest spot in town.
Going in the crate should always be a reward, never a punishment. The crate should always have treats, toys, or food waiting. It should never be the place you send a dog if he misbehaves.

Some families find that the best location for a crate is where all the action in the house takes place, like a kitchen or living room.

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