Crate training benefits for dogs include creating a safe personal space, promoting independence, and preventing separation anxiety.
Using a crate — an enclosure made of wire, plastic, or metal — can help with potty training, traveling, and overnight stays.
Crates are usually large enough for a dog to stand up and turn around. A dog crate gives a dog a safe space where they can feel secure and have their alone time.
Owners usually use dog crates as a training tool, as well as to help with transportation.
Tips for effective crate training include slowly introducing the crate, using positive reinforcement, and not using the crate as punishment.
It is essential to not leave the dog in the crate for too long and to provide human interaction, exercise, and bathroom breaks.
Crate training benefits for dogs
Create a personal safe space
- Dogs like to have a safe space where they can be alone. They can use the dog crate as a place of relaxation whether they want alone time or need to escape a stressful environment.
- Dog crates act as dens. In the wild, dog ancestors were raised in dens, where they know it’s a space they should keep clean. Because of this, dogs usually have “denning instincts.”
- Keeping your dog in a crate for a few hours while you are home trains your dog to be OK even when you are gone.
- Preventing separation anxiety means your dog won’t bark or freak out when you leave the house for hours.
- Usually, dogs know not to soil where they sleep, so confining your dog to their crate will teach them how to hold their bladder and bowels.
- Your dog usually tells you they need to use the bathroom by whining and scratching.
- Make sure you let your dog out to the bathroom as soon as they notion to you, or else if they do end up soiling their crate, it will teach them that it is, in fact, OK to go to the bathroom in their living space, and therefore also your living space.
- Traveling to a new space can make your dog nervous. But bringing your dog’s crate along provides your pup with their well-known, safe space in a new location.
- Improve safety. A crate will protect your dog if you’re in a crash.
Ready in an emergency
- If you need to evacuate your house immediately, having a crate-trained dog will make things easier.
- You can load your dog faster, and they will be comfortable in a scary or unknown environment.
- A visit to the vet may make your dog stay overnight, whether after surgery or for observation.
- The vet is usually a scary place for dogs, so training to stay in a crate will be more secure and comforting.
Crate training benefits for pet parents
A crate will help you house-train your dog quickly and effectively.
Start with the crate, and once your dog shows they understand the concept, you can graduate from using the crate to a bigger space until you can leave your dog home alone without supervision.
- Your dog won’t distract you from driving by moving or barking.
- The crate protects in case there’s a car crash.
- Safely bring your furry friend with you when you travel.
- Smaller dogs can usually travel in a crate in the cabin, while larger dogs can travel in cargo.
Effectively confine your dog
- Keep your home and belongings when you can’t supervise your dog or are away.
- Protect your dog. For example, if you are cleaning or eating, confining your dog in their crate will prevent your dog from eating unwanted items.
- Protect visitors to your home. When people come to your house, you don’t know how your dog may react, so keeping them in their crate before letting them out to meet the people may keep both your dog and guests safe and comfortable. For example, a dog may be intimidated and bite if kids are aggressive. Or, if guests are allergic to dogs, you can protect them by keeping them separated from your dog.
How to crate train a puppy
While crate training your dog has many benefits, it is still important to note that it can harm your dog if crate training is done incorrectly.
Here are some tips to help you crate-train a puppy and ensure the training goes as smoothly as possible.
- Slowly introduce your dog to the crate. Let them explore it on their own or motivate them by adding treats or their favorite toy inside the crate.
- Begin feeding your dog meals near or inside the crate. This will create a positive feeling regarding the crate. Then, slowly close the crate door while they eat.
- Slowly add more time for your dog to stay in the crate until they can comfortably stay there for longer periods while you are not in sight.
- Crate your dog at night while they sleep, where they can see you.
- Never use the crate as a form of punishment; they will see it as a negative rather than a positive and comforting environment.
- Don’t leave your dog in the crate for too long. Ensure they get human interaction, exercise, and time for the bathroom.
Amanda Ng is a content writer specializing in law, specifically personal injury, criminal defense, and family law. She also works with the personal injury law firm Harting Simkins and Ryan, LLP, which specializes in dog bite injuries and other accidents in Long Beach.