Providing your puppy or dog
with an indoor kennel crate can satisfy many dogs' need for
a den-like enclosure. Besides being an effective
housebreaking tool (because it takes advantage of the dog's
natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place), it can also
help to reduce separation anxiety, to prevent destructive
behavior (such as chewing furniture), to keep a puppy away
from potentially dangerous household items (i.e., poisons,
electrical wires, etc.), and to serve as a mobile indoor dog
house which can be moved from room to room whenever
A kennel crate also serves as
a travel cabin for you dog when travelling by car or plane.
Additionally, most hotels which accept dogs on their
premises require them to be crated while in the room to
prevent damage to hotel furniture and rugs.
Most dogs which have been
introduced to the kennel crate while still young grow up to
prefer their crate to rest in or "hang-out" in. Therefore a
crate (or any other area of confinement) should NEVER be
used for the purpose of punishment.
We recommend that you provide
a kennel crate throughout your dog's lifetime. Some crates
allow for the removal of the door once it is no longer
necessary for the purpose of training. The crate can be
placed under a table, or a table top can be put on top of it
to make it both unobtrusive and useful.
type: Take the crate apart, removing
the screws, the top and the door. Allow your pup to go in
and out of the bottom half of the crate before attaching the
top half. This stage can require anywhere from several hours
to a few days. This step can be omitted in the case of a
young puppy who accepts crating right away.
type:Tie the crate door back so that
it stays open without moving or shutting closed. If the
crate comes with a floor pan, place a piece of cardboard or
a towel between the floor (or crate bottom) and the floor
pan in order to keep it from rattling.
Furnishing Your Puppy's Crate
Treats: Place your puppy's favorite
toys and dog treats at the far end opposite the door
opening. These toys may include the "Tuffy", "Billy",
"Kong", "Nylabone" or a ball. Toys and bails should always
be inedible and large enough to prevent their being
swallowed. Any fragmented toys should be removed to prevent
choking and internal obstruction. You may also place a
sterilized marrow bone filled with cheese or dog treats in
A small hamster-type water dispenser with ice water should
be attached to the crate if your puppy is to be confined for
more than two hours in the crate.
Place a towel or blanket inside the crate to create a soft,
comfortable bed for the puppy. If the puppy chews the towel,
remove it to prevent the pup from swallowing or choking on
the pieces. Although most puppies prefer lying on soft
bedding, some may prefer to rest on a hard, flat surface,
and may push the towel to one end of the crate to avoid it.
If the puppy urinates on the towel, remove bedding until the
pup no longer eliminates in the crate.
Whenever possible, place the
crate near or next to you when you are home. This will
encourage the pup to go inside it without his feeling lonely
or isolated when you go out. A central room in the apartment
(i.e.: living room or kitchen) or a large hallway near the
entrance is a good place to crate your puppy.
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy
In order that your puppy
associate his/her kennel crate with comfort, security and
enjoyment, please follow these guidelines:
the day, drop small pieces of kibble or dog biscuits in
the crate. While investigating his new crate, the pup
will discover edible treasures, thereby reinforcing his
positive associations with the crate. You may also feed
him in the crate to create the same effect. If the dog
hesitates, it often works to feed him in front of the
crate, then right inside the doorway and then, finally,
in the back of the crate.
In the beginning,
praise and pet your pup when he enters. Do not try to
push, pull or force the puppy into the crate. At this
early stage of introduction only inducive methods are
suggested. Overnight exception: You may need to place
your pup in his crate and shut the door upon retiring.
(In most cases, the crate should be placed next to your
bed overnight. If this is not possible, the crate can be
placed in the kitchen, bathroom or living room.)
You may also play this
enjoyable and educational game with your pup or dog:
without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit
into the crate. Then call your puppy and say to him,
"Where's the biscuit? It's in your room." Using only a
friendly, encouraging voice, direct your pup toward his
crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give
enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically
serve as a primary reward. Your pup should be free to
leave its crate at all times during this game. Later on,
your puppy's toy or ball can be substituted for the
It is advisable first to
crate your pup for short periods of time
while you are home with
him. In fact, crate training is best
accomplished while you are in the room with your dog.
Getting him used to your absence from the room in which
he is crated is a good first step. This prevents an
association being made with the crate and your leaving
About Crating Puppies
Puppies under 4 months of age have little bladder or
sphincter control. Puppies under 3 months have even less.
Very young puppies under 9 weeks should not be crated, as
they need to eliminate very frequently (usually 8-12 times
or more daily).
Collars: Always remove your puppy or
dog's collar before confining in the crate. Even flat
buckle collars can occasionally get struck on the bars
or wire mesh of a crate. If you must leave a collar on
the pup when you crate him (e.g.: for his identification
tag), use a safety "break away" collar.
Weather: Do not crate a puppy or dog
when temperatures reach an uncomfortable level. This is
especially true for the short-muzzled (Pugs, Pekes,
Bulldogs, etc.) and the Arctic or thick- coated breeds
(Malamutes, Huskies, Akitas, Newfoundlands , etc.). Cold
water should always be available to puppies, especially
during warm weather. [Never leave an unsupervised dog on
a terrace, roof or inside a car during warm weather.
Also, keep outdoor exercise periods brief until the hot
- Be certain that your puppy has
fully eliminated shortly before being crated. Be sure
that the crate you are using is not too large to
discourage your pup from eliminating in it. Rarely does
a pup or dog eliminate in the crate if it is properly
sized and the dog is an appropriate age to be crated a
given amount of time. If your pup/dog continues to
eliminate in the crate, the following may be the causes:
- The pup is too young to have much
- The pup has a poor or rich diet,
or very large meals.
- The pup did not eliminate prior
to being confined.
- The pup has worms.
- The pup has gaseous or loose
- The pup drank large amounts of
water prior to being crated.
- The pup has been forced to
eliminate in small confined areas prior to crate
- The pup/dog is suffering from a
health condition or illness (i.e., bladder infection,
prostate problem, etc.)
- The puppy or dog is experiencing
severe separation anxiety when left alone.
Note: Puppies purchased in pet stores,
or puppies which were kept solely in small cages or other
similar enclosures at a young age (between approximately 7
and 16 weeks of age), may be considerably harder to
housebreak using the crate training method due to
their having been forced to eliminate in their sleeping area
during this formative stage of development. This is the time
when most puppies are learning to eliminate outside their
sleeping area. Confining them with their waste
products retards the housebreaking process, and this problem
can continue throughout a dog's adult life.
In The Crate
If your puppy messes in his crate while you are out, do
not punish him upon your return. Simply wash out the crate
using a pet odor neutralizer (such as Nature's Miracle,
Nilodor, or Outright).
Do not use
ammonia-based products, as their odor resembles urine
and may draw your dog back to urinate in the same spot
Approx. 1-3 hours
Approx. 3-4 hours
17 + Weeks
Approx. 4+ (6
*NOTE: Except for overnight, neither puppies nor dogs
should be crated for more than 5 hours at a time. (6 hours
NEVER use the crate as a form of punishment or reprimand
for your puppy or dog. This simply causes the dog to fear
and resent the crate. If correctly introduced to his crate,
your puppy should be happy to go into his crate at any time.
You may however use the crate as a brief time-out for your
puppy as a way of discouraging nipping or excessive
[NOTE: Sufficient daily exercize is important for healthy
puppies and dogs. Regular daily walks should be offered as
soon as a puppy is fully immunized. Backyard exercize is
And The Crate
Do not allow children to play in your dog's crate or to
handle your dog while he/she is in the crate. The crate is
your dog's private sanctuary. His/her rights to privacy
should always be respected.
In The Crate
In most cases a pup who cries incessantly in his crate
has either been crated too soon (without taking the proper
steps as outlined above) or is suffering from separation
anxiety and is anxious about being left alone. Some pups may
simply under exercised. Others may not have enough attention
paid them. Some breeds of dog may be particularly vocal
(e.g., Miniature Pinchers, Mini Schnauzers, and other frisky
terrier types). These dogs may need the "Alternate Method of
Confining Your Dog", along with increasing the amount of
exercise and play your dog receives daily.
To Use A Crate
Do not crate your puppy or dog if:
s/he is too young
to have sufficient bladder or sphincter control.
diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by: worms, illness,
intestinal upsets such as colitis, too much and/or the
wrong kinds of food, quick changes in the dogs diet, or
stress, fear or anxiety.
you must leave
him/her crated for more than the Crating Duration
s/he has not
eliminated shortly before being placed inside the crate.
(See Housetraining Guidelines for exceptions.)
is excessively high.
s/he has not had
sufficient exercise, companionship and socialization.
Where to buy a crate: Crates can be purchased through
most pet supply outlets, through pet mail order catalogs and
through most professional breeders. Some examples are:
Crate Size and Manufacturers:
#100 or General Cage #201)
Toy Poodles, the
Maltese, etc., with average weight of 6-10
Medium Small: (Vari-Kennel
#200 or General Cage #202/212)
Jack Russells, etc., with average weight
of 11-20 lbs.
#300 or General Cage #203/213)
Field Spaniels, small Shelties, etc., with
average weight of 21-40 lbs.
#400 or General Cage #204/214)
Samoyeds, small Golden Retrievers, etc., with
average weight of 41-65 Ibs.
Very Large: (Vari-Kennel
#500 or General Cage #205/215)
Alaskan Malamutes, Rottweilers, etc., with
average weight of 67-100 lbs.
(General Cage #206 or Mid-West #89-Z, 89-E or
, Great Danes, etc, with average weight of 110
of A Crate
Crates can cost between $35 and $150 depending on the
size and the type of crate and the source.
of Not Buying a Crate
The cost of not using a crate:
throw rugs and
telephone and computer wires.
The real cost, however, is
your dog's safety and
your peace of mind.
Alternative Method Of Confining Your Puppy
There are alternative methods to crating very young
puppies and puppies who must be left alone in the house for
lengths of time exceeding the recommended maximum duration
of confinement (see Crating Duration Guidelines). We suggest
Use a small to medium-sized room space such as a kitchen,
large bathroom or hallway with non- porous floor. Set up the
crate on one end, the food and water a few feet away, and
some newspaper (approx. 2'x3' to 3'x3') using a 3 to 4 layer
thickness, several feet away. Confine your puppy to this
room or area using a 3 ft. high, safety-approved child's
gate rather than shutting off the opening by a solid door.
Your pup will feel less isolated if it can see out beyond
its immediate place of confinement. Puppy proof the
area by removing any dangerous objects or substances.
By Robin Kovary,
with Barbara Giella
"How to Successfully Housetrain Your Puppy"