Crate training uses a dog's natural instincts as a den animal. A wild dog's den is his home, a destination for a sleep, hide from danger, and raise a family. The crate becomes your dog's den, a great spot to snooze or take refuge throughout a thunderstorm.
- The primary use for a crate is housetraining. Dogs don't like to soil their dens.
- The crate can limit usage of the rest of your home while he learns other rules, like not to chew on furniture.
- Crates certainly are a safe solution to transport your puppy in the car.
A crate isn't a marvelous solution. If not used correctly, your pet dog can appear trapped and frustrated.
- Never use the crate as a punishment. Your dog can come to fear it and refuse to enter it.
- Don't leave your puppy in the crate too long. A dog that's crated day and night doesn't get enough exercise or human interaction and may become depressed or anxious. You might have to alter your schedule, hire a puppy sitter, or take your puppy to a doggie daycare facility to lessen the total amount of time he must spend in his crate every day.
- Puppies under 6 months old shouldn't stay in a crate for more than three to four hours at a time. They can't control their bladders and bowels for that long. The same goes for adult dogs which can be being housetrained. Physically, they can hold it, but they don't know they're supposed to.
- Crate your puppy only until you can trust him not to destroy the house. From then on, it ought to be a location he goes voluntarily.