Using a crate can be a good idea for potty training your puppy if you can’t supervise him at all times. It may not look like a dog toilet-training device, but it helps and it works. If you confine your puppy in a crate, he won’t be able to ease in other areas of your house, and it will teach him to hold his urges because he won’t want to ease in his “den” as well.
Before you pick a crate to potty train your puppy, make sure he’s at the right age so you can be sure that he can already hold it in. The best puppy age to begin housetraining is between 12 to 16 weeks old.
Remember that buying the wrong crate can mess up with your dog’s potty training, so keep in mind these tips when you’re about to purchase a crate:
1. Check the size
One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make when picking a crate is getting one that’s too big for their pet. A crate must be big enough for your dog to stand up, sit up straight without banging their head on the ceiling, turn around with ease, and lie down in with their paws stretched out. It must not offer too much space for your dog to be able to relieve himself at one end and sleep at the other, defeating the very purpose of keeping him in a crate.
2. Make sure it’s easy to clean
Since you’re still potty training your puppy, accidents can happen inside the crate. Be sure that you choose one that will be easy to clean and sanitize. It’s best to pick a crate with a pull-out tray or inbuilt moat that can catch waste so you don’t need to clean the entire crate. The easiest to clean crates are made of wire. Plastic crates, when scratched or teethed, can harbor bacteria if not cleaned very carefully.
3. Consider your dog’s traits and personality
Crates are made differently not just to suit any size of dog, but also to suit the traits and even the personality of the dogs. A snub-nosed dog like pug or bulldog, and a heavy-coated dog would best suit a metal crate with ventilation all around. A shy dog might appreciate the darkness of a plastic crate. A destructive dog is best contained in a heavy-duty crate, not cute crates made of wood or rattan.
4. Place some padding
A bare floor of a crate can be too cold for a dog to sleep on comfortably. Add crate pads to make it cozier. Crate paddings come in different sizes to match the size of crates and so it can snugly fit the crate floor. There are pads with waterproof plastic covers, and some come in synthetic lamb’s wool – which are both easy to clean in case your puppy has an accident while in the crate.
5. Pick a crate that can house a puppy even when he’s a full-grown adult
It’s nice to pick a small crate for your puppy, but if you know dogs of his breed are going to grow a lot bigger, it would be impractical to get one. Upgrading your crate as your puppy grows could get expensive very quickly. So, the best bet would be to pick a crate that has just the right size for an adult dog. But because it would be too big for a puppy, buy a divider that can reduce its size. There are removable wire or wooden panels that you can insert into the crate and can be adjusted as your puppy grows. Get a divider that the dog can’t get stuck in or chew off.
Picking up a crate can be relatively easy process but what is more important is to train your dog to use that crate. At first the carte may feel nice or may be the dog might start feeling confined or caged. Dogs like other animals have a natural instinct to have a den, somewhere they can rest, hide or have babies. Which is why crates are important for them, and they should provide a homely feeling to the pet. Don’t know how to train your dog to use the crate? We have you covered. Here are some tips to make the dog feel comfortable with the crate:
- Crate is the happy place: always make sure that you introduce the crate as a happy place and not the punishment. If the dog makes some accident in the house or does anything bad, don’t punish him by confining him in the crate all the day. Otherwise he will start to hate the crate.
- Don’t keep the dog in the crate all the day: in the beginning make your dog stay in crate for a few minutes every few hours, so he can develop some relationship with his crate. Slowly keep increasing the time. Don’t make him stay when he wants to come out. If he starts to feel uncomfortable, take him out.
- Put his favorite things in the crate: to make him stay in crate for a longer time, you can put some of his toys in the crate. It’s better to hang the toys or objects with the wires to avoid any contact with the bottom area.
- Don’t put small puppies in the crate: small puppies should not be left in the crate alone until they are at least 6 months old.
- Reward them when they spend some time in their crate: when your dog is in the crate reward them with their favorite treats so they will want to go back there again.
- Take them out every day: Animals need fresh air as much as we do. So, make sure to take your dog out every day. This way they will ease themselves outside the house and you will not have to deal with the mess. Larger dogs can hold their bowel movements but small puppies cannot hence there will be chances of accidents in the crates still if you are keeping a puppy.
If you are still confused which crate to buy, you can consider buying an ICrate metal crate that Includes carrying handle, divider panel, durable dog tray and 4 “roller” feet to protect floors. They have many sizes options from 18 inches to 42 inches and also comes in single door and double doors. The assembly doesn’t require any tools. You can buy one here.