Should a crate be used for puppy training?
A crate is often used for puppy training. But is a cage really necessary? And what is the risk to your dog if you decide to use one? Read more about crates, and how and when to use them for puppies or adult dogs?
What is a crate?
It is a kind of niche in which you can lock your puppy or your dog: they are also often used for sleeping. A crate is often used in puppy training, potty training and to prevent destructive behavior. But is a cage really necessary? And is it helpful when your dog suffers from separation anxiety?
learn to clean
Puppies have a fragile bladder. They often need to urinate and they must learn to pee outside and not in the house.
The idea of the crate is to teach the puppies cleanliness because they don’t want to dirty their own “nest”. This may be true to some extent, however, a puppy up to 6 months old will have small leaks as they are not yet able to fully control their bladder. By locking it in a cage, they will try to hold it back as long as possible but it is not good for their health nor is it very comfortable for the dog.
Try to spot your puppy’s signals when he needs to go to the bathroom and take your puppy outside every 2 hours. What about accidents at home? Use a mop or organic detergent instead 🙂 Patience is essential.
Sleep in a cage?
Many puppies bark or cry or whine during the day or at night when they are alone. They do this because they feel lonely: they miss their mothers or siblings. Don’t let your puppy bark for too long, it can be dangerous and can even cause brain damage in the long run. You can let your puppy sleep in different places, and why not near you. This way you give your dog a sense of security and he will know that he is not alone and will be less stressed. Never punish a dog for expressing his emotions, but put him at ease.
Also, try to find out which bark means “I need to pee!” to help your puppy when he needs to go to the bathroom at night.
Give your puppy a choice
Dogs and especially puppies wake up frequently during the night and move around a lot. It is good for the development of their muscles and joints if they can move freely and choose different positions or places to sleep.
For their body temperature, it is also important that they can alternate between warm places (cushion, blanket) with cooler places (floor, tiles). You can leave the crate open at night so the dog can choose his favorite spot.
A cage against destruction, chewing, and scratching?
Dogs that tend to tear down furniture when alone are often put in crates to avoid this kind of behavior. However, this can have the opposite effect. Indeed, the dog can no longer reach the furniture or your shoes but the cause of his stress remains intact. A dog never chews without a reason, there is a cause, for example, stress, anxiety, boredom, or even a toothache.
Dogs that are anxious when alone often chew or nibble to be less stressed. In a cage they do not necessarily feel more secure, they have less freedom and less choice and can therefore be even more frustrated. Many dogs end up giving up and falling asleep in the crate, but mostly because they have no other choice.
Many dogs even try to chew on the cage bars out of frustration. This can cause dental problems.
Tip: Want to keep your puppy out of certain rooms in the house? Put barriers in the house to block access to certain rooms. You can also block certain rooms by using a niche for example or a screen. This way your pup always has space and can decide where he wants to go and you can also decide which places he doesn’t have access to. Give your dog chew treats, ropes, or a Kong.
When is a cage useful?
A cage is useful when you have to transport your dog, during a flight or a move for example. It is important to let your dog get used to a crate well in advance.
A crate is also useful when it is safer that your dog does not wander around the house. For example during a move, or when there are children, or if you do the housework.
Of course, you can leave the crate and use it if your dog wants to sleep inside, but leave the door open.
How to use a cage?
Make sure it is comfortable for your pooch. Put his favorite blanket, his toys, and why not a piece of fabric with your scent on it. You can reward him with a treat when he is in the cage.
However, make sure he has other places to sleep in the house as well. A lot of dogs like to sleep in a bit of an elevated position, so they often prefer to sleep on a bed or couch. If you don’t want your sofa to get dirty, you can put a blanket for your dog on it. There are also raised beds on the market, they are a little higher and dogs love them.
A sitter for your puppy
Puppies need to get used to living outside their nest and in their new family. This includes lots of naps, games, peeing, and socializing. On Pawshake, you can find a sitter who can help take care of your pup during those first few months when he needs a lot of attention. A pet sitter can come to your home, walk your dog, and give it lots of cuddles and attention. He can also help you with his education