Dog owners should include a crate as an essential item in dog training. Dogs must be trained to tame their naturally rowdy qualities so they will learn to live safely in the environment that they are in.
A dog crate is not a cage. In a natural environment, undomesticated dogs dig shallow holes as protection from predators. A crate is similar to this space that would give them a safe refuge and a private space. It would also help them adjust to a new environment and discourage them from harmful behaviors. Travels with your dogs would also be easier if your pet is in a crate.
Buying dog crates
There are factors to consider when buying a dog crate. These are size, materials, and safety.
The size of the crate should be dependent on the size of your dog. Its height must allow the dog to stand up in full. The length of the crate must let him lie down with his entire stretched body without being hampered. If your pet is still a puppy, consider putting a divider with enough allowance for adjustment as the puppy grows.
To get the length, measure the dog from nose to tail. From the tail, add 2-4 inches depending on the size of the pet. For the height, measure the dog from top of the head or the tip of the ears to the floor. The width is measured by adding two inches for smaller dogs and four inches for larger ones.
It is good to keep the space just enough for the dog to feel comfortable but not big enough that he will have a space to relieve himself and retreat to a clean area or corner to sleep. It must train him to go out to potty and go back to his crate after.
Materials must be strong and sturdy and must meet the standards of safety. It must be durable enough to withstand the strength of the dog including the force of its teeth.
Crates vary in their sizes. Here’s a list of the different sizes and the breeds suited for the crate size.
Extra small crates – This is good for dogs that weigh 1-10 lbs. This suits breeds like Chihuahua, Maltese, Boston Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Pomeranian, Papillon, Shih Tzu, Pug, and Yorkshire Terrier.
Small crate – This is good for dogs that weigh 11-25 lbs. This suits breeds like Boston Terrier, Miniature Dachshund, Border Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Maltese, Tibetan Spaniel, etc.
Medium crate – This is good for dogs that weigh 26-40 lbs. This suits breeds like Dachshund, Cocker Spaniel, French Bulldog, Miniature Pinscher, French Bulldog, Welsh Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, etc.
Large crates – This is good for dogs that weigh 41-70 lbs. This suits breeds like Belgian Sheepdog, Bulldog, Welsh Corgi, Bull Terrier, English Setter, Harrier, English Springer Spaniel, etc.
Extra large crates – This is good for dogs that weigh 71-90 lbs. This suits breeds like Chow-chow, Border Collie, Boxer, Irish Setter, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, etc.
XXL crates – This is good for dogs that weigh more than 90 lbs. This is good for breeds like Great Pyrenees, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Old English Sheepdog, Greyhound, Bloodhound, etc.
A crate mat will make your dog more comfortable inside the crate. A cozy rug will allow him to lie down and sleep more comfortably. It will make the crate feel more like home.
As part of the training, give treats as a reward while your dog is still getting used to life inside a crate. Place the treat inside the crate which he will enjoy as soon as he returns. Be sure you are present whenever you give the treat to your dog.
Chew toys can also be left inside the crate to encourage him to stay inside the kennel. You can leave the crate door open so he can go out to relieve himself. But keep his chew toys inside the crate so he will go back again later. Just close the crate door when necessary.
Dog training needs patience. In time, he will soon learn to love life inside a crate.