Crate training- what for?

Think about a child’s bedroom, we make it cosy and inviting for them; somewhere they want to be, to rest, to play and be safe and occasionally for parents to use for a time out. Therefore, crates serve a very similar purposes.

What the pros?

At any age or life-stage your dog will benefit from a crate! It can be used for:

  • Rest/nap time/ sleep
  • A place to feel safe (e.g. of storms, fireworks, overwhelming visitors, etc)
  • Time out
  • Enrichment
  • Feeding
  • Recovery from surgery
  • Travelling
  • All types of training (e.g. house training, destruction, adjustment, reactivity etc)

What are the cons?

It is only a con when used irresponsibly or incorrectly, for example as a result of poor education or assumption-making.

An easy example we often see involves owners using crates as a punishment system for any unwanted canine behaviour. They may find it easy to put their dog in the crate, shut the door and let the crate deal with their dog. A classic handball, Band-Aid solution. Consequently this can quickly lead to negative associations, turning the crate into something your dog fears, which as a result creating a whole new set of problems.

What to look for in a crate. 

The most important part is getting the right size for your dog. Crates come in many sizes which cater for any size or breed. Your dog should be able to stand, turn around and comfortably stretch out their whole body inside the crate. Other things to look for, include:

  • Latch is secure and not fiddly to open (from the outside, not for your doggo!)
  • Materials of the crate are sturdy and not flimsy; choose metal not fabric versions
  • Flooring of the crate has a hard bottom that covers the wiring to protect your dog’s feet


Introducing the crate

When introducing your dog to its new crate, you want to create a positive association and experience – so that they learn to desire it. Some examples of things you can do are:

  • Place the crate somewhere in the household your dog likes
  • Add  flat cosy bedding for spinal comfort
  • Toss treats or bones inside crate to lure them in (leaving the door open and not forcing them inside)
  • Let them see the door open and close from the outside
  • Feed meals inside

All the while, ensure the crate door stays open until you know your dog is comfortable, then you can start closing the door for small intervals.

When it comes to using the crate for reasons such as training for all behavioural problems, contact Ethical Dog Services on 0403 433 399 to help coach you and your dog through to success.

Written by

Jacqui Bowden 22/07/22



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