Crate training your dog can be very beneficial to both you and your dog. Although some owners will sometimes see sending your dog to his crate as a punishment, when introduced properly, it can be a safe space for your dog to feel secure and relax.
It is a great idea to crate training almost any dog. Every person as well as dog should have at least one place that they can feel safe and peaceful. When lined with a comfy bed or blanket, your dog will feel nice and cozy in his crate and many dogs will sleep more soundly at night when put into their crate. Leaving your dog constant access to his crate will allow him to separate himself if he feels too overwhelmed or stressed.
Crate training is also extremely helpful if you are potty training your dog. Most dogs do not want to soil their sleeping quarters, so they are more likely to try and stay clean when in their crate. When potty training, it is vital to not leave your dog in his crate for too long (longer than he is able to go without relieving himself). It is a good idea to give your dog lots of bathroom breaks when potty training, especially 20-30 min after eating as that is the typical time they will need to go. Make sure you aren’t leaving your dog in his crate for too long, you don’t want him to resort to doing his business inside the crate and then getting too used to that habit.
When looking for a crate for your dog, make certain it is not too small or too big. Also take into account if he has anymore growing to do. A crate that is too small for your dog will make him feel uncomfortable and cramped, ensuring that he will not be very happy to go into the crate. And there is no need to get the biggest dog crate on the market when you have a miniature or toy breed dog. Bigger is not always better, most dogs will appreciate having a crate the perfect size for them so they can move around comfortably but also be nice and cozy. Make sure that when your dog is in his crate, he can easily stand up straight with approximately 3-6 inches of extra space above his head; as well as able to turn around in his crate easily.
To help your dog have a positive association with his crate, do not force or push him in to it. Leave the door open to the crate so you can let him investigate it at his own pace. If he looks curious and starts sniffing the crate, or even starts to wander inside, give him lots of praise! Help him to realize that the crate is a happy place and not a punishment.
Ensuring that your dog has a safe place to escape to is just one of the many responsibilities a pet parent has. It is up to you to help your dog realize that his crate is not a punishment, but instead, his own little private space if he feels stressed or just wants a peaceful place to sleep. An easy mistake to make is not having the right size crate for your dog which can often make or break your efforts. Make sure it is not only the right size, but also appealing for your dog; adding in a dog bed or even a t-shirt with your scent on it will help make a little sanctuary for your furry best friend.