A crate is pretty much what the word would imply, a sort of cage for your dog. Crates are made from a variety of materials, usually from, wire meshing, cloth meshing or plastic. At first impulse an animal loving member of the public may be repulsed at the thought of "caging" a dog. Actually a dog finds his crate enjoyable and comforting and likes using it. A crate, is safe and secure for your dog is your dog's babysitter is great for your dog to use when recuperating from an illness is great for travel, being a safe aid for both you and your dog. How many car accidents have been caused by an unruly loose dog? can be a useful tool for house training your dog The use of a crate is far from cruel. Of course the crate must be used as intended and not as a punishment tool or as a means of extended confinement.
A crate – your dog's den A crate becomes a den for a dog. He feels comfortable and secure in the safe environment of the crate. Sizing your dog's crate A crate should be big enough for your dog to stretch out and turn around in. Anything smaller and a crate simply becomes a cage and is not a good thing. A crate is very useful when transporting a dog in your car. It is quite a good idea to purchase an additional crate that you leave permanently in the back of the car. This of course will only be feasible if you particular circumstances allow for a dedicated crate. In this instance the crate that you leave in the car can be smaller than the dog's house crate. However the dog must still not be cramped and presumably you will be travelling mainly short distances. On longer distances it is advisable to park the car every hour or so and let your dog out for a short walk. Preparing the crate In the home the crate can be placed in a reasonably busy part of the home, such as the kitchen. Don't isolate it, your dog enjoys being part of the family. Make the crate comfortable for the dog. It should contain a sleeping section which would contain his bedding. The rest of the crate could be lined with a disposable material such as newspaper.
Personally I have a supply of large fairly bulky towels which I line my dog's crate with. I rotate them regularly to allow for regular washing. Introducing your dog to his crate Sometimes your dog will use his crate eagerly and willingly, but may need a little help initially. You can encourage him to enter the crate by using a treat to coax him in. Alternatively a good idea is to place your dog's food or favorite toy inside the crate. If he is particularly wary of entering the crate, initially place his meals near the crate, then closer and closer, until eventually you place his meal inside the crate. Leave the door open so that your dog does not feel threatened by the confinement. Once your dog is used to his new den he will be quite comfortable with the door being closed. If he does start barking and whining, and you are sure that he doesn't need to relieve himself then don't even look at him. Ignore him, your dog must not be rewarded for this action. After he has quietened down reward this behaviour by taking him out to play. Leave your dog in his crate for longer and longer periods while you disappear from sight. 5 minutes – 10 minutes – 15 minutes. On your return always tell your dog how good he was. Soon your dog will feel secure in his own little den. Care taken here, will be rewarded immeasurably later, when you need to leave your dog alone. He will be much less inclined to whine or cry if he feels comfortable and secure in his crate. Each time that you see your dog entering his crate, say "crate" .
Your dog will then associate this word with its den or "crate" and will eventually enter his crate on command. However it is very important never to send your dog to his crate as a form of punishment or he may begin to dislike using it. Crates are an ideal aid to house training a dog. Puppies have an instinct not to soil their den. A crate becomes a den so naturally they will attempt to leave the crate before eliminating themselves. House training your dog is more fully discussed here. I may also mention that sometimes a puppy or even an adult dog will urinate when seeing you. Perhaps when you arrive home or when you see the dog for the first time in the morning. This is probably submissive urinating on the part of the dog. It is not related to house training and shouldn't be confused as a house training problem. It is a behavioural problem and signifies lack of confidence.