ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Good Dog and Apartment Life - Crate Training

Updated on September 18, 2011

Crate training is primarily used when potty training a dog. It has many other applications through all stages of the dog's life and I highly recommend it. Is it necessary? No, but it will make life a whole lot easier. Crate training will save you a lot of time spent on cleaning up messes as well as money on paper towels and repairs. When you're in an apartment this is especially important because the carpet and building are not yours. You will lose your deposit and could end up paying more when you move out if there is significant damage to the building and carpet.

Crates come in a variety of materials, sizes, and types. The majority of the crates I have seen are either a solid plastic construction, or a metal bar open design. There are also nylon or "soft" crates and other types of crates that are designed with more specific purposes in mind. As always there are pro's and con's for all the designs. I'll leave the specific descriptions and pictures to the ads and reviews that hopefully pop up here. I will go over the 3 types I mentioned as a general introduction.



The solid plastic construction is the type that Jenna and I prefer. It offers a very good "den-like" atmosphere because the walls are solid. Because the plastic is very strong it is able to have stuff on top of it, this makes it excellent for packing and traveling in the back of an SUV or Van. It also makes a great extra shelf when space is limited in an apartment ;). The plastic construction is also required by most airlines for flying. The solid plastic walls also offer the most protection from car wrecks, other animals, and people. These crates also trap the most heat which can be a good and bad thing depending on the circumstances. The limitations are ventilation and packing space. The crates are usually designed well to allow adequate ventilation but they don't compare to the air flow of the metal barred variety. The ventilation can also become an issue if it is packed with stuff around it blocking the holes. They also take up a good amount of space. The metal and soft crates usually can be folded almost flat. These can be broken in half and stacked for storage but they are still somewhat awkward. The large ones don't fit well in small vehicles like ford escorts or jeep wranglers as we have.



The metal crate has excellent visibility for both the dog and owner who wants to keep an eye on the dog's behavior. It offers the least "den-like" atmosphere on its own. It offers little protection from the weather. These issues can be remedied by placing a blanket or other material, like a tarp, over the crate. The bar design offers adequate protection from wrecks, animals, and people, but not as much from animals and people as the solid plastic design. The metal material is the most resistant to scratches and chewing. Most of these also have a metal tray which slides out for easy cleaning. As mentioned before, most of these will fold flat for storage or packing. They have the most ventilation of the three. This design also has the least amount of heat retention. They typically aren't allowed on airlines and are the heaviest of the three designs.


The third type, the "soft" crate offers a bit more variety for small to medium sized dog owners. They are made from a variety of materials from nylon to wicker. They are the least durable of the three varieties. They are not suitable if your dog chews or digs at the crate as they will be quickly destroyed. They are the lightest and easiest to haul around with you on a day to day basis. They also typically offer a good den-like atmosphere. You cannot stack stuff on top of them, but they fold easily for storage. They offer the least amount of protection from a wreck, people, or animals. They usually have good ventilation and some can offer good protection from the elements.


What is Crate Training?

The idea of crate training is this; dogs instinctively will not go potty where they sleep. You leave your dog in the crate for significant amounts of time when starting this training. The time will vary depending on the age of the dog. A good rule of thumb that worked great for me and Jenna was however many months old the puppy is, that is the amount of time in hours they can hold it. In other words, a 3 month old puppy can hold it for about 3 hours and that's the max. At that time you take your dog out to a consistent spot in the grass outside your building to relieve themselves. When they do praise them, pet them, give them a treat. Make it a memorable and happy moment. The more consistent you are, the faster they will learn. By doing this the puppy (works for adults too) learns that the spot in the grass outdoors is the potty spot and the crate is not. It's also important to make sure the crate is the correct size. To big and the pup will find a corner and go in the crate. The crate should be big enough for the pup/dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down; no larger.

You gradually let your puppy out for longer periods of time to play and explore the apartment, always keeping a close eye on it for signs of needing to go potty. Maintain your clock schedule of potty breaks and make sure to take them out consistently to the same spot. It doesn't hurt to take them out early, but it does hurt to take them out late! Make sure your still praising them. Even at a year old Zoe gets the occasional pet or a "good girl" when she goes potty outside when we want her to. By doing this they are learning that the apartment is an extension of the crate and not to be soiled; outside is still the place to relieve themselves. There are going to be accidents, that's ok. Just make sure there are more successful moments than accidents. Your trying to create a routine for the puppy. Dogs love routine and will do their best to follow it. You want the routine to be going outside, not in the house.

There are many many other uses for the crate. Let me take this opportunity to say that the crate should NEVER be used as a punishment. What I mean is that if the dog has an accident, bites, chews something, anything, do not use the crate to separate them and punish them. When you do they will start to associate the crate with punishment, with bad feelings, and letting down their owner and they won't want to go in it. You want the crate to be a happy place, a place of comfort and safety, not of anger and frustration. Jenna and I taught Zoe to love her crate by giving her a treat every time we put her in it. Zoe slept in her crate right next to our bed and we would just let it sit right next to the couch with us when we watched tv. By doing this Zoe feels comfortable and normal when she's in the crate. Being in an apartment is great for crate training because it is small. This close living space means that your dog typically isn't very far from you and is that much calmer. When the dog's crate is in the garage or some other isolated room it's much harder to teach them to enjoy their crate.

You want this crate to be a comfort zone because you can then leave them in it without feeling bad that they are miserable when you go to work. They will just sleep comfortably, eagerly awaiting your return. When they are in their crate you are keeping your apartment protected from any destruction your dog may inflict out of boredom or anxiety.

Another key use of the crate is for traveling. Once your dog becomes accustomed to the crate it will make an excellent travel tool. If you fly, and take your dog, it will have to be in a crate. The dog will be stressed enough with flying. It will be far better off if it is comfortable in the crate rather than hating it, or just not accustomed to it. Another incredibly important travel application is as a car restraint. When you are traveling with your dog in the car it is very easy for an unrestrained dog to go flying and injure itself, you, or cause an accident. It doesn't take much, a simple hard brake from a quick light change, someone cutting you off, missing a turn or trying to make a turn, all of these can turn very quickly into disaster. Unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 accidents annually according to the AAA. Your furry friend needs to be restrained while in the car just like you. I use a dog harness which I will talk about in my hub that I write on camping, but a crate is a great 2nd option.

You can also use the crate as an excellent tool in early dog socialization. What you do is leave your dog in the crate when introducing them for the first time. By doing this the dogs become accustomed to one another much easier. You are calmer because you have no fear of anything happening. Your puppy/dog feels secure because you are calm and it knows the scary dog outside can't harm it. The dog outside gets to smell your dog and get used to its presence. Now you should only use it as an introductory agent and not as the end all means of socialization. Eventually your dog needs to come out of the crate ;) but as a first introduction it's a great way to keep nerves calm and meet peacefully.

With all of these uses I hope that I've made it clear just how important and useful it is to get your dog acclimated to using a crate. The benefits a crate can offer are great, while the costs of not using one can be very very high. They are not harmed at all in the process if it is done correctly and with love.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • TheEpicJourney profile imageAUTHOR

      TheEpicJourney 

      9 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

      Hello again Nature by Dawn, yeah I found crate training to be invaluable for teaching Zoe. It isn't mean if done properly and it has saved us countless messes, thanks for the read! I look forward to more of your hubs, keep them coming :)

    • Nature by Dawn profile image

      Dawn Ross 

      9 years ago

      Great advice! I wished I had known about crate training when I raised Sephi. I knew about it by the time I got Maya and raising her was so much easier with a crate - with both potty training and chewing issues. While Sephi chewed several books, shoes, and other stuff, Maya never destroyed anything but her own toys.

      I give this article four paws up!

    • TheEpicJourney profile imageAUTHOR

      TheEpicJourney 

      9 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

      Wow, now that right there is what I call a quality pilot!! That is so awesome! What airline was that? maybe I need to fly with them! lol.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 

      9 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi there, yes you could be right about it being a hub idea! It was nerve-wracking for sure; the whole time was stressful anyway (emigrating). But as we were getting ready to take off, the pilot did his announcement and actually said over the speaker "for the people bringing the 2 dogs I just wanted to let you know that they are safely onboard". I wept in relief right there and then knowing that they were close and safe.

      Cloverleaf

    • TheEpicJourney profile imageAUTHOR

      TheEpicJourney 

      9 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

      Thanks Cloverleaf! Flying with Zoe is something I'm really worried about for some reason haha. I really want to take her to a lot of places but I'm not sure I can bring myself to stick her in a crate and in the cargo hold of a plane for so many hours. Hearing yours were ok brings me some relief! I may be going on a trip out to Washington to do some hiking and visit friends. Zoe would be going with us so I think that may be her first flight, i'm pretty nervous about it still lol. I would feel even worse not having her up there with me though!

      Any suggestions on how to travel by plane with your dogs? Maybe that's a hub idea?!

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 

      9 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Excellent information once again. When I moved to Canada I had to transport my 2 dogs on a 9 hours flights in crates. A few weeks beforehand, I encouraged them to spend some time in them so that they would know it was safe. It was still difficult for me on the flight, knowing that they were down below in crates, but they were just fine :-)

      Voted this one up/interesting

      Cloverleaf

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)