Dr Michael Yazbeck, Greencross Vets Veterinary Director says, “My view is that ultimately dog crating, when used correctly, is a great way to provide a dog with its own safe space and in this way, it can be used as both a retreat and an excellent training tool.
“The key is that it must be used in the correct way and to recognise that it may not be appropriate for all dogs.”
The pros of crating a puppy
When you first bring a puppy home, there’s lots of changes happening for both the puppy and owner as everyone adjusts to their new way of life.
“In this context, crating creates a safe space for the puppy to sleep, play, eat and drink (food, treats and toys help make positive associations with the crate),'' says Dr Yazbeck.
“The end goal is for the puppy to enjoy the area and want to be there.”
It can also help with toilet training.
“As dogs tend not to urinate or defecate where they sleep, it can help with the toilet training process,” says Dr Yazbeck.
“It is really important to give them plenty of opportunities to use the toilet in an appropriate area early on in the training process."
How big should the dog crate be?
“The crate needs to be the right size, stable, assembled correctly, comfortable and set up in an appropriate space,” says Dr Yazbeck.
“It is absolutely essential that the dog feels completely at ease in the crate and wants to be there. You can think of the crate like a den, or as you would your own bedroom. It must not be used as punishment when the dog is misbehaving or as a means to confine them for long periods of time.”
When shouldn’t you crate your puppy or dog?
Keep in mind that dog crating is not for every pooch.
“The cons to crate training in my opinion usually come down to two main reasons. Either it is used incorrectly, or crating is not appropriate for the individual dog, says Dr Yazbeck.
“Crates should not be used to confine a dog for long periods of time, for example, while the owner is at work all day. They are relatively small spaces and when used in this way can deprive dogs of exercise, toileting and mental stimulation, and may contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.”
Other times dog crating isn’t suitable include:
- Dogs with a medical or behavioural disorder. "For example, some diseases (such as kidney disease or diabetes) cause dogs to drink and urinate larger amounts and more frequently, so crating overnight without free access to the yard to eliminate is not ideal."
- Dogs who experience separation anxiety. “Whilst crating can be introduced early as a tool to assist in managing potential future separation anxiety, it may not be appropriate for a dog with separation anxiety that is currently not well managed.”
7 best dog crates to shop in Australia
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8. Max & Mittens Folding Pet Crate, $45, Big W
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