Why use a crate or indoor kennel?
Dogs are territorial animals and instinctively seek out a place of their own where
they can feel secure and safe. In the wild, this would have been in a cave or under
a bush. For a domesticated dog, a crate fulfils this basic canine need. It will become
What are the benefits?
The crate can be positioned in the car, containing your dog safely. You are not distracted
by him moving around and when the car door is opened, he cannot immediately jump
out. It can be his familiar den when staying in unfamiliar surroundings. At times
of noise and activity, e.g. children, parties or fireworks your dog will be happiest
if he is allowed to retreat to the safety of his crate. Children should be taught
to respect his privacy and to leave him alone while he is in there. Dogs do not
normally want to toilet in the place that they sleep in, so are ideal for toilet
training puppies and older dogs safely. The crate should be covered leaving the entrance
exposed, to make it as cosy as possible while still allowing your dog to remain comfortable.
What to consider
The welfare of your dog is important. Never position the crate in a draughty area,
or near a source of direct heat e.g., radiator or sunlight. It should be in a quiet
position away from doorways. It should never be used as a place of punishment, nor
to restrain him if he is in a state of extreme distress. The crate should be big
enough for him to stand up, sit, lie down and turn around. However, if too large,
your dog will not feel safe and secure. For puppies, if the area is too large, they
will sleep in one corner and toilet in the other. Use a divider in a larger crate
to reduce the space available until your dog grows bigger.It is acceptable to sleep
your dog in his crate overnight but not be confined to it during the day for very
long periods of time.
Tips for introduction
Place your crate in a ‘people’ area of the home, where he doesn’t feel isolated and
create a cosy bed by using your dog’s usual bedding or something with his scent like
a towel. Ideally position the crate in a corner and leave the door open. Add a favourite
toy or healthy treats such as dried liver/carrots /cheese in the crate, towards the
back, to entice him over. Praise him when he goes near the door to sniff. If he goes
into the crate, praise him lavishly with your voice but don’t close the door yet.
Allow him to repeat this several times, knowing he has the freedom to come and go
in and out of the crate.
Once he is happy to go in and out, try closing the door once he steps in and praise
him enthusiastically. Do not leave the room. Open the door after 30 seconds or so,
leave him to readjust and try again, increasing the time inside the crate to a minute.
Repeat this, increasing the duration inside the crate each time. Patience is vital
– your dog should not feel he is being forced into the crate. Eventually he should
decide that his crate is a good and safe place to be but the time taken to reach
this stage will vary from dog to dog. You should then be able to close the door and,
although confined, he will not feel unhappy or anxious. A young puppy is generally
easier to train to crate than an adult dog.
Very occasionally, the temperament, character, age and experience of a dog will make
him unsuitable for crate training.