To Crate Train or not to Crate Train

The debate on crate training (or kennel training) will probably continue to rage until the end of time. The reality is that each person needs to make the decision based on what’s right for them and their new puppy.

It is true that when it’s done properly there are advantages to kennel training your puppy, not the least of which is keeping him out of things he shouldn’t get into, like the garbage.

Crate training will also help with potty training, keep him calmer, curb destructive behaviour, and it can help to settle down an over excited puppy before you leave the house. It’s also better for travel in a car where a seatbelt can keep the crate safely in place, and your dog out of your lap. And of course, if you’re ever travelling on a plane, your dog has to be in a kennel or he can’t travel.

In order to do it properly, the first thing you have to do is find a kennel that’s the right size for your pup. It’s important that the kennel isn’t too big, or you puppy will defecate in the corners, and of course not too small, otherwise it’s uncomfortable for them. A dog, no matter what age, needs to be able to stand up in the crate without having to lower his head, fully turn around, and lie down without touching the sides. That will go a long way to ensuring your dog’s comfort.

Kennels can give a dog a pleasant sense of security because it gives them a safe and enclosed place to go and get away from it all. There’s no need to be wary of anything sneaking up on him when he’s in a kennel.

The kennel should always be treated as your puppy’s safe haven, and be a positive experience. That means he gets praised when he goes into the kennel and never yelled at when he’s in there, no matter what he’s done. Even if it was your best sneakers that got chewed.

When your pup is positively kennel trained he will go in there to hang out on his own when he wants some downtime.

When it’s done properly, crate training can actually help to relieve separation anxiety because he gets to go to his feel-good place while you’re away. When a crate is treated as the positive place your puppy can go to relax, it helps to condition calm behaviour which is associated with the kennel. That way when you’re gone for a couple of hours it will be a lot less stressful for both of you.

It’s important to remember that puppies are like babies and can’t be left alone for long periods of time. They don’t develop bladder control until they are about 16 weeks old. So that means you have to be home to let your puppy out every 2-3 hours. Kennel training can help you to potty train your puppy, because dogs never like to do their business in the place that they sleep. You just have to make sure you’re there to let them out when they have to go.

Here are a few more tips to consider if you decide to kennel train your puppy:

  • Place the kennel in a pleasing place for your dog. You don’t want an area that’s too hot or cold, or too active.
  • Be sure to give him water. You can get bowls that attach to the side or the door, so the water doesn’t get spilled.
  • Put a blanket or dog bed in the kennel for comfort.
  • If you put a toy or a chew in the kennel, make sure it’s something that can’t be broken into pieces, creating a choking hazard.

If you need a some tips for training your puppy, we’d love to help you out. Just contact us and one of our professional trainers would be happy to setup a free consultation and puppy assessment.