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crate training

(46 Posts)
dietstartsmonday Wed 09-Dec-15 18:49:47

Hi all I have an 11 week old staff puppy. I have a crate for him but really not entirely sure how I should be using this.
Any advice would be appreciated. I am hoping it will help with house training him

Booboostwo Wed 09-Dec-15 19:58:54

A crate can be really useful but it can take a little bit of time to train a pup to it so be patient.

Firstly is the crate the right size? It should be large enough for the puppy to stand up, lie down and turn around in comfortably, but much larger than this may be counter-productive for toilet training purposes.

Put the crate in the room you spend most of your time in and move it around if you want the puppy to sleep in another room for example.

Make the crate as inviting as possible, e.g. soft bedding, some dogs like a blanket over the crate others prefer to see out. Create positive associations with the crate, e,g, feed the dog in the crate, praise and reward the dog for going in the crate, give chews in the crate.

Never push the puppy in the crate and for now don't shut the door. Once the puppy is used to the crate you can pick a time when the puppy is settled and close the door for a very short period of time and while you are still in the room - praise and reward for a calm reaction. Repeat little and often.

If you can go through this training now it will help with toilet training, help avoid destructive behaviour, may mitigate separation anxiety, give you a safe place to pop the dog if you need him out of the way and provide stability if you need to move home or take the dog on holiday or to kennels. It's well worth persevering with crate training.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 09-Dec-15 20:04:04

Remember it's not a place for punishment. It's his safe haven (and your place he can go for some time out and respite for you, but he's not to know that! It has to be a positive experience for him).

Toys in there, lovely bed, and not too much time in there. Ours were overnight, plus if we went out in the day,,and that was it. And only when puppies. We didn't use the crate after the 1st birthday.

dietstartsmonday Wed 09-Dec-15 20:18:55

Thank you that's really useful. Crate is right size and I have been feeding him in there, so good start.

Karcheer Thu 10-Dec-15 18:40:51

I still use crates for mine (2 & 3), they often go in them on their own, but I still lock them in at night and if I'm out during the day.
I also used to pop them in there every now and then during the day leave them for a bit and then return (even just to walk around the garden --or make the bed--), I think this has really helped with separation anxiety (neither have it).
I've builders in at the mo, and I feel happy they are safe and the dogs feel safe in their crates.

BestIsWest Thu 10-Dec-15 22:21:05

Our pup is crate trained and I can honestly say it's been a godsend. It's the first time we've used a crate for one of our dogs and I'm a convert. We were very lucky in that he was used to a crate from early on with the breeder but he has been completely dry in the night since the day he came home. The breeder advised us not to put paper in the crate as it might confuse him. We also use the crate for short periods if we need to pop out during the day so we know he is safe and not chewing live electrical cables like our last pup (pup was fine btw)

JohnCusacksWife Thu 10-Dec-15 23:13:59

I have to say I don't get crates. They weren't a thing when we had our first dog and we got our new boy when he was a bit older (10-12 months) so have never used one nor felt the need for one. But I just don't see the point. As long as they have a space to call their own, like a normal dog bed, what is the point of a crate? They seem like a convenience for owners rather than being of benefit to the dog. Or am I missing something?

Dieu Fri 11-Dec-15 00:56:00

Agreed, JCW. Also, I grew up with Staffies back in the day, and how in God's name are they meant to defend their home and family (if needs be) if locked in a cage?!
That's absolutely not directed at you OP; it just so happens that we are both fans of THE best dog breed smile I just don't get the hype surrounding crates, but that's just me.

Karcheer Fri 11-Dec-15 06:51:50

I know of burglars who have really hurt dogs who've been loose in the house, I'd hope having them in their crates might mean they'd be left alone.

Booboostwo Fri 11-Dec-15 07:14:41

Jwc crates mimick the natural habitats of wolves which are warrens. Wolf puppies consider this space to be home and don't soil in it, so by recreating these conditions with a crate you are more likely to have a dog that is content, feels secure and is toilet trained faster. I've had crates for my dogs since 1997 but I've been involved in dog training and competitions since before then so perhaps was more aware of newer development. Like all sciences ethology makes discoveries which then work their way to every day living with dogs and crating is one of them.

Dieu I would never want my dog to defend my home. I'd rather burglars got in and out without harming anyone than poisoning my dog or trying to knock him out so they could steal some crap covered by insurance!

JohnCusacksWife Fri 11-Dec-15 09:15:32

Booboo, I have read the theory and if used correctly perhaps there is a place for them (although I personally wouldn't). I just think most people seem to use them to contain the dog for their own convenience...not for the benefit of the dog. Locking a dog in a cage is just wrong to me.

spanky2 Fri 11-Dec-15 09:22:07

I use it as my puppy's space too. Sometimes we put him in there to calm down as he's a springer and can go berserk and end up hurting himself or us. Also he needs to go there for naps as he'll be bad tempered tired but won't sit down for one.
Also I put him there when I'm cooking as when he jumps up he can reach the hob. If I shut him out he'd chew the door!
He has toys and blankets in there and a blanket over the top. It's a nice place.

spanky2 Fri 11-Dec-15 09:23:00

It's like a play pen for a toddler!

mckenzie Fri 11-Dec-15 09:24:21

I second booboostwo's post.
That's what we did with our puppy and he loved his crate, never soiled in it (we fed him in it all the time when he was young) and would often go in it of his own accord.
Consistency and a gentle approach I would recommend.
Good luck and congratulations on your puppy.

Do remember though, it's a tad like asking questions about your pfb;
Ask three people and you'll get 4 different answers. smile

JohnCusacksWife Fri 11-Dec-15 09:28:25

Just for the record I have no problem with them if the door's left open - but shutting a dog in just doesn't sit well with me. But then I didn't have a playpen for the kids either! wink

Booboostwo Fri 11-Dec-15 13:09:59

Well you can abuse any aid to training. Collars are very useful for identifying and restraining dogs but you can also use one to choke your dog. You never shut a distressed dog in a crate, you teach them to find the crate a calming and enjoyable place to be in before you ever shut the door. There are also guidelines for how long you leave a dog in a crate, e.g. 4 hours maximum for a dog that otherwise has human company and good walks.

pigsDOfly Fri 11-Dec-15 16:39:04

My dog was crate trained as a puppy. The knowledge that she couldn't do herself any harm by chewing something she shouldn't or getting into something inappropriate while I was asleep or for the short periods I had to go out was very helpful, I felt.

Once I realized I didn't have a chewer, the door was never closed and she came and went as she pleased.

Eventually, around 6 months of age, she decided she didn't want to use it any more and I put it away.

Used properly, I think it's a very useful thing to have with a young dog.

Floralnomad Fri 11-Dec-15 16:49:23

I've never had a crate ,we had a huge pen when ours was small but if it's 4 hrs max how do you manage overnight ?

Booboostwo Fri 11-Dec-15 20:13:39

It was an example. Four hours max is during the day, overnight depends on the age of the dog, e.g. some young puppies need a toilet break in the middle of the night. The main point is that the dog should not be allowed to become distressed in the crate.

FoxesSitOnBoxes Fri 11-Dec-15 20:19:22

We still use ours at night for 2 year old DDog. She gets anxious at night if left with the run of the house and howls sad her crate seems to make her feel safe.

Floralnomad Fri 11-Dec-15 21:10:16

See this is my problem with crates , dogs are potentially shut in to a very small area for 8 hours overnight and then perhaps 4 hours during the day and that's 12/24 hours and to me a dog is not an animal that should be kept that confined . Sadly there are also people who work and use crates so the dog could be crated for potentially 16 hours a day with perhaps a dog walker in the middle of the day .

Booboostwo Fri 11-Dec-15 21:45:57

You are thinking of it in human terms, the crate is not confinement, it's safety for the dog. Now I am perfectly willing to accept that for some dogs 12 hours is too long, I had one puppy who could only sleep for 5 hours overnight until he was 6mo (and wasn't he hard work!), but most dogs, if you pick your timings for when they want to sleep and give them an active and varied lifestyle should be fine crated overnight and for 4 hours a day maximum every so often. Again the 4 hours is not a recommendation for everyday, it's a maximum for every so often and it will take most puppies quite a while before they can stay for 4 hours on their own, crate or no crate.

If someone works ghen they have a more general problem of leaving their dog alone for at least 8 hours a day plus travel time. Even with a dog walker this can be a problem for many dogs regardless of the crate. Dogs are primarily social animals who need human company; in such a situation the main issue is leaving the dog alone for too long, not whether he is in a crate or not.

Karcheer Fri 11-Dec-15 21:58:12

foxes one of my is the same he just can't settle at night unless he's in his crate. There've been times when I've wanted him to sleep in my room (funny noises outside etc ) and he's not settled and eventually scratched to go downstairs to his crate.

Floralnomad Fri 11-Dec-15 22:24:17

Well then we are back to the point made by a pp - if the dog is going to sleep in one place all night and be happy to do that why not just a normal dog bed or leave the door open ?

Dieu Sat 12-Dec-15 00:28:43

Yes, why not a dog bed in a quiet space? I don't get it either, but each to their own.

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