Bringing a puppy home can be an incredibly exciting experience. But, it also comes with an amount of uncertainty for some families who are unsure of the best way to toilet train or to ensure their puppy remains safe while no one is home. Crate training is both a popular and a controversial topic. Some people love crate training and swear by it. Others simply cannot imagine putting their puppy in a “cage.” Regardless of everything you have read or have heard, you really have to consider the pros and cons of crate training and whether it is something you believe is right for you and for your puppy.
It’s something that we did with Coco when we got her from the rescue as she was not toilet trained at all. It worked extremely well for us, and it was much better for Coco herself not to be messing on the floor – as it actually used to upset her. Now Joey is the next one to be crate trained. He seems to be getting on well, although he has been a slightly slower learner than Coco was.
Pros and Cons Of Crate Training
Pros of Crate Training
1. Crate training often makes the toilet training process easier.
Teaching a puppy how and when to use the toilet can be a difficult and stressful process for both the puppy and for you. If your puppy has the right size crate – not too big that he will be encouraged to use part of it as the toilet but big enough to allow him to stretch out – he will eventually learn to control his bladder and to go outside when it is time to use the toilet. A dog walker, who visits during the day when you are not home, can also help speed up the toilet training process.
2. The crate provides the puppy with his own personal space.
Everyone in a family has his or her own personal space, and it’s only fair your puppy have a space to claim as his own. A crate can do just that. He will have a safe, quiet place to lie down and to relax away from all the noise of a typical day.
3. Crate training can help curb separation anxiety.
Some puppies have a difficult time being away from their families. If introduced the right way, a crate can provide a safe haven for your puppy, a place where he turns to feel secure.
Cons of Crate Training
1. Your puppy may be unhappy at first.
And, if your puppy is unhappy before he gets used to the crate, you are certainly going to hear about it. He’s likely going to whine, yelp, howl, and bark – maybe even all at the same time, creating sounds you may never have heard before – in an attempt to get you to open the door. Can you handle that stab in the heart you might feel when you hear your puppy whining for your attention and to let him out?
2. Your puppy may view it as punishment.
The crate can be considered punishment by some puppies. If you leave your puppy in the crate for excessively long periods, he’s going to feel as though he’s being punished. (Experts recommend not allowing your puppy to spend more than four hours at a time in his crate.)
If you are away from home for long periods each day, consider engaging the services of a dog walker or a pet sitter to help break up the monotony of your puppy’s day and to provide him with socialisation. A puppy’s crate should also be big enough that he has enough room to turn around and to lie down, or else he may feel like he is being punished. On the flip side, ensure you don’t choose a crate that is so big that your puppy will feel comfortable going to the toilet in it.
3. Crate training can be dangerous if precautions are not taken.
Your first goal should be to ensure the crate is put together properly. A crate constructed improperly could result in collapsing on and injuring your puppy. In addition, always remove your puppy’s lead and collar to prevent accidental choking. Your puppy’s collar, for example, could get stuck on the door, which could result in strangulation. If you’re concerned whether crate training is right for your puppy, talk with your vet who can offer advice on how to make the decision and tips for making the transition to the crate smoother.