puppy sleeping in a dog crate

A Dog Crate—Why You Need to Use One

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Let’s be clear about this. A dog crate is not a place of punishment for a misbehaving puppy.  It should not be used as a doggie jail. A dog crate is not a “crutch” to be used by dog owners who lack the skills and experience to properly house train a puppy.  And, a crate should not be used as a “dog sitter” for long hours while the owner is away. 

But, this article is not all about what a dog crate isn’t. The purpose of this post and subsequent dog crate articles is to highlight the positive uses that a dog crate is intended for and why you need to use one.  This article is really about what a dog crate is for.  It won’t focus much on what a dog crate is not for.  

That said, it is important that you understand your dog’s disposition, it’s obedience to you, it’s respect for you, and it’s adaptation to your home (aka, den).  These are all key to your successful puppy house training. Remember, a crate is not a tool to be used as punishment for puppy’s messes or other “bad” behavior.  It’s simply a very necessary tool for you to use in training your young dog.  And, it’s a safe place for your pup to rest or travel.  Stay tuned as there will be more about that in the coming articles.

How Many Hours A Day Should Your Dog Be In A Crate?

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to daily crate time.  Sleep time in a crate at night varies from pup to pup and breed to breed.  But, no pup should be forced to stay in a crate for more than a few hours during the daytime.  

Please remember that the crate should never be used as a form of punishment or “negative reinforcement” for any perceived bad behavior or training issues.

Several factors determine how long your puppy should be in the crate during the day.  These include things such as your level of training skills, your patience, your love of the dog, your home situation, your family’s needs, and your work or school demands.  These factors—as well as others—will determine how much of your pooch’s life will be spent in the crate.  The take away is two-fold.  First, your dedication to your pup’s safety and wellbeing must be your top priority.  And second, it matters how much time your pup spends in the crate.

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Puppy Hazards And Puppy Damages

Never allow your puppy to have an unsupervised run of your home.  Even if you are at home you might be busy with something else or otherwise distracted and not paying attention to the puppy.  There are just too many irresistible hazards that can injure or poison a puppy.  A few might be electrical cords, paint, wood, bath soaps, chemicals, and food trash. There are also many things like furniture and carpets that a free-roaming and teething puppy will damage.  

When your puppy gets bigger and older you may want to keep your pup in a room he can’t damage or be harmed in rather than the crate.  Laying out a few old newspapers or a pee mat, a comfy old rug or blanket, fresh drinking water, and teething toys are key things to do.  Also, don’t isolate the growing pup in a room for more than a couple of hours each day.  Long isolation leads to loneliness and despair which will lead to destructive behavior and excessive whimpering or barking.

If you don’t have a spare small room for this, then a dog crate is certainly a must-do alternative.  In fact, a crate is really a much better and safer choice than any room.  Also, if you must be gone all day, then hiring a qualified dog sitter/dog walker/dog trainer should be considered.  If you are unable to train or adequately provide for expert training then you may want to consider an alternative pet.  Maybe a house cat or a small cage pet would be a more practical choice for you.

Stay tuned for more dog crate articles coming to Pet Hooligans.  You will get more tips on dog crate uses and you’ll learn more crate uses and benefits.  To hear when these articles go live, please join us on our newsletter.

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