Crate-training a puppy or an adult dog is an excellent method for keeping the pooch away from mischief and something that can provide complete peace of mind when your furry friend is home alone.
However, before you start crate-training your canine companion, you’ll have to know where to put the crate and what to put inside it. Your dog’s safe little haven needs to have a good location and to become a comfortable and welcoming place that he’ll always happily retreat to.
In this article, we’ll explain what the best locations for crates are and what should or shouldn’t be placed in them.
In case you’re planning to purchase a crate and train your pooch with it – read on!
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Where to Put a Dog Crate in Your Home
It’s a well-known fact that dogs are very social animals – they require to be close to their owners and to feel like a part of their family’s daily life. Don’t forget that being in a crate should give the pooch a positive experience – he should never see it as a punishment.
For that matter, placing the kennel in an area that’s busy and which will make the pup feel like he’s a member of the household is your best choice.
The precise location differs from one house to another – it can be the living room, kitchen, or any other well-trafficked place. Whether your furry friend just likes to hang out at that place or you’re training him to get used to the kennel, placing it where the action is will make the pooch feel like he’s included in the family.
What about my bedroom?
In case you have a young puppy, moving the crate to your bedroom during the night is a good idea. Leaving him in another room when you go to sleep can make the puppy feel abandoned, stressed, and insecure, and this can lead to crying and whining. If you don’t want to move the crate from the living room to the bedroom every day, you can purchase a second crate and remove the nuisance.
A quiet corner
Unfortunately, not all dogs are as energetic and extroverted as we’d like them to be – some stay anxious and stressed even when they become adults. Some canines just don’t like guests, loud music, parties, and family dinners, and would rather have a safe, quiet place away from all that hassle. For such dogs, placing the kennel into a quiet corner in the house is the best idea – he’ll have his own “alone time” place that he can retreat to whenever the need arises.
When choosing the location…
- Make sure that your pet’s crate is away from the fireplace or the radiator. The reason is pretty simple – you don’t want your pet’s blankets to get caught on fire by accident and leave you without your beloved pet. This is especially important if you’re using a customized wooden crate.
- The area shouldn’t be draughty. Just like the places with heat sources, areas that are too draughty can have a very adverse effect on your pet’s health over time. The location should be dry and not moisty or windy.
- Keep the crate away from direct sunlight. Some houses have large windows that allow too much sunlight to get into the room, and placing the kennel in front of such a window can have lethal consequences – especially if you leave the dog there locked and leave the house.
- Avoid locations that are extremely hot or cold. Just like humans, canines love places that are not too cold or too hot, but just right.
Moving the crate or buying a second one?
In case the idea of having the kennel in more than just one location sounds convenient to you, the following question arises: should you move the existing crate from one room to another or purchase an additional one? As we don’t know your particular situation, we can only give you a couple of things to think about that might help you out:
- Is the kennel portable enough to be easily moved back and forth?
- Are you willing to spend additional money on a second crate?
- How long will the pooch sleep in your bedroom? In case he stays there only for a short time, just one crate should be sufficient.
- In case you do decide to buy a second kennel, consider what other uses it might have (if it can be used in cars and on airplanes, for example).
What to Put in a Dog Crate
A kennel that’s empty indeed isn’t a welcoming place – there are a couple of items that need to be put inside for comfort. In this part of the article, we’ll take a look at what kinds of beddings and toys should owners place in the crates of their dogs.
Puppy Crate Bedding
Soft-stuffed bedding, blankets, and towels are easily torn apart, chewed, and ingested by juvenile canines. The primary danger here is that the puppies can choke on these things, or even have an internal blockage – this is why owners need to be especially careful when purchasing new bedding for their puppies. Let’s have a quick look at some well-received products of this type that you could consider purchasing:
- Waterproof – PetFusion PuppyChoice Pad
Made by PetFusion, this crate pad is waterproof, comfortable, and very easy to keep clean. It’s an ideal choice for puppies and smaller breeds, as it can be used both inside the crate and as a standalone bed. It comes with a removable cover that’s machine washable and zippers that make re-loading the base extremely easy.
- Crate bedding for light to moderate chewers – K9 Ballistics Tough Orthopedic Memory Foam
Available in several different colors, this crate bedding is quite robust and can withstand light and moderate chewing. Both its inner liner and outer cover are machine-washable, and it offers generous cushioning that provides the puppy with the much-needed comfort. Moreover, the bed has enough depth to provide sufficient support for adult dogs.
- For aggressive chewers – Kuranda Chewproof
In case your puppy is particularly destructive, Kuranda Chewproof is your best choice. The best thing about this dog bed is that it comes with a sturdy but lightweight frame, made out of aircraft grade aluminum and which can easily withstand any kind of damage inflicted by dogs. It has an orthopedic design that keeps the pup comfortable, dry, and cool.
Toys for Puppies
Fortunately, today’s market offers a lot of the so-called “indestructible” toys (for breeds like Pitbulls), which are more than suitable for the puppies in crates. Most of these playthings are incredibly durable but also hollow, allowing the owner to stuff them with the pup’s favorite snacks. As you can already guess, this makes your furry little friend stay occupied – he’ll do a lot of chewing to get to his treats.
Letting your juvenile dog play with these kinds of toys in a crate brings several benefits:
- Having an alternative item that he can chew on as much as he likes prevents the dog from damaging the bedding.
- A toy is a great pastime item – it stops the animal from getting bored while being confined.
- Surrounding the pup with objects that are familiar to him will make him feel less lonely and more comfortable.
- Toys can increase the enjoyment of time that the puppy spends inside the crate. It’s a great tool when it comes to making the dog get used to his kennel.
- It helps the pup with learning which items he can chew and which he can’t, which means that he’ll be less likely to chew on various household items when he’s outside the kennel.
What to put in a crate with an adult dog
When it comes to adult dogs, the things are pretty much the same – the only thing that really changes is the size of the bedding. Once your puppy grows up and moves past his excessive chewing stage, it’s time to provide him with bedding that’s more luxurious and well-stuffed. Fortunately, the market offers a myriad of shapes and designs to choose from, so it’s quite easy to find bedding that will suit your adult dog’s needs.
Adult dogs love playing too, although you can be far more lenient with them when it comes to the choice of toys. In case he’s not a chewer, your dog will probably enjoy playing with soft and stimulating toys. If he’s still chewing from time to time, stick to the indestructible toys we’ve already mentioned – they’re great for both juvenile and adult canines.
One important thing not to forget here is that these toys should be of appropriate size. Never buy toys that are too small, as your pooch could try to swallow them, and that can have horrible consequences. In the same manner, avoid toys that are too big since the dog won’t be able to fit them in his mouth. Would be fantastic if we could put a ball throwing machine inside a kennel but that would be too much.
Should You Leave Water And Food In A Dog Crate?
When it comes to water, the general rule is that leaving water inside your pup’s crate is not advisable, especially if you’re in the process of potty-training. The reason behind this is the fact that constant access to water can increase the amount of accidents inside the kennel – the bladders of puppies fill very quickly.
However, there may be some occasions when the owner needs to do this. For example, leaving the dog confined in hot weather requires leaving some water if you don’t want your four-legged friend to experience a heat stroke. For situations such as this one, having the proper equipment to provide your canine companion with water is essential. The best choice would be to purchase a crate-mounted bowl since these are hard to knock over and don’t spill.
In the same manner, leaving food in the kennel while you’re absent is not recommended. Not only can such a thing create a real mess, but more importantly, your pet should have a fixed feeding routine – having already established meal times is better than “free” eating. Allowing the dog to eat as much as he can almost always leads to more frequent accidents.
On the other hand, giving the pet his main meals inside the kennel is totally fine – it increases the positive association with spending time inside the crate.
Should You Cover A Dog Crate?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question – some canines like covered kennels and some do not, so it entirely depends on your dog. Models made out of wood or plastic are already fairly enclosed, while the ones made out of metal (wire crates) are much more open and can’t provide your dog with that den-like feeling that he instinctively likes.
There is only one way to find out if your furry friend likes having his kennel covered – try it out. Like with all other things, the key is in going gradual. Start by covering just the roof for a few days, and then slowly build your way towards covering most of the box by covering one side after another. Avoid covering all sides – the pooch will need ventilation for fresh air and temperature control. Moreover, be there with him at all times while he’s getting used to it and don’t leave the kennel covered if you’re about to leave the house.
There’s a good chance that the pup will object to it in the beginning. In case the pup still whines and scratches the cover after a couple of days of gradual introduction, you will have to stop the process and remove the cap altogether. Your pet might be suffering from separation anxiety, and having the kennel covered causes him great stress. On the other hand, if he doesn’t show signs of distress and has no problems with sleeping in a covered crate, he likes the feeling that the cover provides him with and you can safely leave it in place.
What Should You Use as a Cover?
Most people use things like bed sheets and old towels, and these are perfectly fine. However, it is critical to ensure that the pooch is unable to pull them inside the kennel and chew on them, as this can lead to choking.
A good idea would be to place the enclosure into the corner of the room – two sides get to be covered by walls and it’s up to the owner to cover the rest of it. Putting a wooden board on top of the kennel is also a good idea, as it will not only cover the roof but give you a usable surface.
If you’re not interested in homemade solutions, on the other hand, you can also purchase a proper cover in any pet store. These are manufactured in a way to fit various crate sizes and are very easy to attach, with some of them even featuring useful panels that allow the owner to adjust the amount of space covered. They are available in a plethora of different patterns and styles, so it’s very easy to find one that won’t ruin the overall aesthetics of your home.
No matter which one of these options you decide to go for, don’t forget to leave at least one side uncovered due to ventilation.
All in all, a pet enclosure needs to be a safe, comfortable, and welcoming place if you want your dog to stay healthy and energetic. In this article, we’ve tried to cover the issues of how and where the crate should be positioned, as well as what items should or shouldn’t be placed inside of it.
Making sure that your pooch is happy and comfortable while he’s confined is something that must be taken care of before you start with crate training, and we hope we’ve helped you on the matter. Good luck!