How To Crate Train A Dog – Part One
The following article is part of a series of articles “How to Crate Train a Dog.”
“How to crate train a dog?” is an excellent question to ask, because many people do not understand that dogs like to spend some time in a crate and it can be useful for their mental health and well being. The best way to describe a dog crate is a “safe haven” for your dog. It should be a den where your dog can go and relax and chill. For puppies, it has another use which is to help with house training. When we look at a crate, we see a cage and some people go one step further saying if you put your dog in one you are cruel. Here are a few comments I have heard about dog crates, and they are misconceptions.
- A prison cell.
- Somewhere to put your dog while you go to work.
Dogs should not spend long periods in a crate. If you are doing that you need to ask yourself why and if there is an underlying problem that needs addressing.
One of the first things the American Kennel Club has to say about crate training is that you should be patient because it will take at least six months to complete the training. Some dogs may take six months of practice; the critical point to bear in mind is that you must have a safe, reassuring and stress-free environment to teaching your dog to use a crate.
Crate Training For Dogs, What Crate Should I Use?
Before starting any training with your dog, you must get a suitable crate. There are two types of crate, Wire Crates which people confuse with a cage as they are made from wire and are open on all sides letting in light. The second type is the Airline/Kennel Crates. These tend to be made of high-density plastic and are more enclosed all the way around. If your dog likes to sleep in the dark, this crate may be more suitable for your dog.
The next element of choosing a suitable crate is ensuring that the size is appropriate. That means it is not too small or too big. I recommend buying a crate when your dog is a puppy. Some people have concerns because they have purchased a large breed, and it would be expensive to keep buying larger and larger crates as the dog grows. You buy a crate when your dog is a puppy that will be suitable for the dog when it is fully grown. Then put in a divider and slowly make the living area larger as the dog matures.
So what is the ideal size?
Here are four guidelines I would recommend.
- The dog should be able to comfortably, stand and turn around and lie down without any discomfort.
- Size matters, height and width, are more important than the weight of the dog.
- The crate should be at least 15cm (6″) longer than their body length and 15 cm (6″) higher than their shoulder height for adequate comfort. Your dog will then have room to stand, turn and lie down comfortably.
- Depending on the Gender and what cross breed a dog maybe some of the guidelines may not be suitable. Remember, Dogs are individual and more people are getting cross breeds which means a great mixture of genes and therefore differences in size and build.
Suggested Sizes For Various Sizes Of Dogs.
Extra Small – 45-56cm (18″ – 22″)
45 – 56cm (18″ – 22″) the Extra Small dog crate is suitable for breeds weighing up to 25 lbs (11 kg). You might also consider the 24″ crate for these breeds as there isn’t a big difference in size.
Examples of breeds.
- Toy Fox Terrier
- Toy Poodle
- Yorkshire Terrier
Small – 61cm (24″)
61cm (24″) Small dog crates are suitable for breeds weighing up to 11kg (25 lbs).
- Boston Terrier.
- Jack Russel Terrier.
- Chinese Crested.
- Italian Greyhound.
Medium – 76cm (30″)
76cm (30″) Medium dog crates are suitable for breeds weighing between 12 – 18kg (26-40lb).
- Miniature Schnauzer.
- Tibetan Terrier.
- Cocker Spaniel.
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
Intermediate – 91cm (36″)
91cm (36″) Intermediate dog crates are suitable for breeds weighing between 41 – 70 lbs (18 – 32 kg).
- Kerry Blue Terrier.
- English Setter.
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.
Large – 107cm (42″)
107cm (42″) Large dog crate sizes are suitable for breeds weighing between 32 – 41 kg (71 -90lb).
- Bearded Collie.
- Border Collie.
- Labrador Retriever.
- Schnoodle (Schnauzer | Poodle mix).
Extra Large – 122cm (48″)
122cm (48″) Extra Large dog crates are suitable for breeds weighing between 41 – 50 kg (91-110lbs).
- Alaskan Malamute.Dogue De Bordeaux.
- Doberman Pinscher.
- Siberian Husky.
XXL – 137cm (54″)
137cm (54″) XXL dog crates are suitable for breeds weighing over 50kg+ (110lbs+).
- St. Bernard.
- Neapolitan Mastiff.
- Irish Wolfhound
When you get a dog, you are likely to have to make the decision, whether or not to crate your dog. No matter which professional you speak to, Dog Trainer. Veterinarian or dog behaviourist, you are likely to be given the same advice. It is a fact that crating your dog has a positive impact on its well-being. So crates as dog training tools are highly recommended by professionals.
When you have a dog, you will probably be faced with a challenge when it comes to deciding whether or not to crate your dog.
How to crate train a dog – Part Two