Dog in Crate

Choosing the Right Crate for Your Dog (And How to Get Them Used to It)

For all the love dogs add to our lives, they sure can be stressful.

Dogs bark in the middle of the night, run away, and are liable to poop places they ought not to. It’s no wonder that some dog owners never get around to properly training their pets. It’s a lot of work!

And If you’ve ever been to a dog park, you know what we’re talking about: poorly trained pups can quickly go from cute and cuddly to public nuisances in no time.

No one wants a naughty dog. So, what’s a dog owner to do?

Crate training, along with basic trick training, is a great obedience goal for any dog. A nicely crate trained dog makes traveling easier on you and can help reduce canine separation anxiety.

Translation: You can leave home for longer with less worry.

So here are three easy steps to getting it done:

Step 1: Pick the right crate for your dog

Dog crates are lifetime purchases. One should do for your dog’s entire life. If you have a puppy, that means buying a crate that will fit them as adults.

Choosing between plastic kennels and wire crates comes down to personal preference. Plastic kennels, also known as airline crates, are great choices for dogs that sleep better in total darkness, and like their name suggests, they’re great for dogs on the go.

Wire crates are a great option for daytime crating and allow dogs to remain visually engaged while locked up.

Murdoch’s has a nice selection of both styles.

Step 2: Get the crate comfy

Spruce it up a bit. Throw in a nice new soft bed, or a crate mat. Toss in a few toys. Don’t make the crate a place your dog will fear. Remember: crating shouldn’t serve just as doggy timeout.

With that in mind, introduce your dog to the crate when they’re calm. Don’t transition straight from playing fetch to crate time. Your dog will associate the kennel with a sense of confinement.

Also consider your crate with an eye for safety. Check for sharp or rough edges that could cause your dog some damage should they get restless. And most importantly, never crate your dog with a collar on. Tags have a sneaky tendency of getting caught.

Step 3: Crate train with patience and persistence

Teaching dogs new tricks doesn’t happen with the snap of a finger. It can take some real persistence to get it to stick. Crate training is no exception.

Expose your dog to the crate in small increments. 5 minutes here, ten minutes there. Incentivize the experience with treats every time that you do.

And remember:

Crate training your dog can take up to six months. It can be a long road. But in the end, you and your family will be more independent, and your dog will be more comfortable.