Dog Blog

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here's some professional advice on crate training, courtesy of my guest blogger, Dr. Jessica Bradford:

Crates are a useful addition to any dog owning household. Whether you are at home, in the car or on vacation, a crate will make life easier for both you and your dog.


1.    What type of crate should I buy for my dog?

Crates can be made from wood, metal or plastic, and the choice of material depends on your budget and what you plan on using it for. Plastic crates are easiest to move in and out of the car, whereas a wood dog crate is a more attractive crate to have in your lounge room. The most important thing is to have a crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up, lie down and turn around in.


2.    What do I need to put inside the crate?

Your dog will appreciate a soft bed or some blankets to lie on. However, if he likes to chew, this might not be a good idea, and he may just have to put up with sleeping on the floor. There should always be water available to your dog while being crated, and this is easiest done by wiring a metal bowl to the side of the crate. You can give your dog some chew toys while he's in the crate, but make sure you keep an eye on him while he is chewing.


3.    Where should I put the crate?

Ideally, put the crate in the room where most of the family activity happens. That may be the lounge room or the den, or even the dining room. That way, your dog will still feel involved with his family while he's crated, and he won’t feel so lonely.


4.    Do I need to clean the crate?

It’s a good idea to wash your dog’s bedding on a regular basis, because this is where any fleas will breed. Sweep out the floor of the crate and wipe it down with a dog-safe disinfectant to remove any food spills.


5.    How long can I safely leave my dog crated without a break?

The general guideline for this is your dog’s age in months plus one. So, a 12-week-old puppy should be comfortable in the crate for around 4 hours. This doesn’t mean you should leave your adult dog in its crate all day. Make sure your dog has the opportunity to come out and stretch after about 5 hours, no matter what his age. If your dog will be crated while you are out for long periods of time, arrange for a neighbor or family friend to visit him and let him out.


6.    My dog’s crate training was going well, but suddenly he doesn’t want to go inside and appears to be afraid of the crate. What do I do?

Something may have happened while your dog was in his crate, which gave him a fright. He may be remembering that and is worried that it might happen again. Your dog can get over this, but you may need to go right back to the beginning and retrain him to go into his crate. Don’t rush it, and even though it is frustrating for you, don’t get cross at your dog – that will only make things worse.

Thanks, Dr. Bradford, for that valuable information.



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