Like other training aides — the slip collar or your voice — the crate can be misused and do more harm than good to your pet. But used correctly, the crate can make such a dramatic difference that animals who otherwise might have been brought to shelters have become excellent family pets.
When Can a Crate Help?
Most puppies will not want to sleep where they eliminate and instinctively try to keep their crate clean. Wild members of the dog family instinctively keep their dens clean; therefore, most pups will try to keep their crates clean. When he needs to relieve himself, your pup will whine and fuss. If you keep his crate near your bed at night you will be able to wake up in time to take him outside before he soils his crate. In this way good habits are established.
When your pup has become accustomed to his crate he can be left in it when you are out of the house for a few hours. Make sure you let him have a chance to relieve himself outside before you leave home. Give him several of his chew toys and an old rug or a thick layer of newspaper for him to lie on. Now you can leave the house and know that your pup will be safe. He won’t be able to chew on electric cords, poisonous plants, or plastic bottles of disinfectant that can make him sick. Also, he won’t chew your furniture, rugs or clothes; which would make him sick! It’s hard to feel affectionate toward a puppy when you come back to a house strewn with mangled belongings.
Some dogs can never be left alone in the house because they are destructive. Rather than having to give up such dogs, owners solve the problem by always crating their dog when they have to leave them behind.
Pet owners must be conscious of property damage from dogs that chew furniture, soil rugs, or scratch woodwork. Confining dogs when they can’t be supervised, especially puppies, will prevent such damage. Providing safe chew toys can be helpful.