The single most important investment you will make for your dog is the purchase of a crate. No pet owner should try to live without one. This “canine condo” is the ultimate piece of training equipment. It allows you to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that your dog is in a safe comfortable place while you are unable to supervise him. He is also prevented from chewing, digging, and soiling the floors of your home, all of which could turn into bad habits if allowed to be repeated without correction. Prevention, of course, can save you the burden and expense of replacing costly household items. From the dog’s point of view, the crate serves as his den, a safe haven in which to retreat if he is annoyed by something or if he just wants to be left alone with a bone.
You may choose from the more enclosed-style crate that is made of heavy duty plastic (most commonly used by airlines to ship pets) or the open-style wire mesh crates. The crate you choose for your dog should be large enough for him to stand up and turn around in as an adult without any difficulty, but not be so large as to allow him to eliminate in one corner of it and rest in the other. Most dogs, if given the opportunity, will avoid urinating or defecating in the areas in which they eat or sleep. We can use this instinctive behavior to our advantage when housebreaking the dog. The crate is helpful in teaching the dog the concept of self-control.
To combat boredom and relieve your dog’s natural desire to chew, There is nothing better than a Roar-Hide™. Unlike common rawhide, this bone would not turn into a gooey mess when chewed on. The Roar-Hide™ is completely edible and high in protein (over 86%) and low in fat (less than of 1%). Available at your local pet store.
Remember, before placing a dog into his crate, always, always, always remove his collar! No equipment should be on the dog while he is crated because it may become tangled, causing the dog to panic, or causing a horrendous outcome. Try to avoid crating your dog for extended lengths of time,–puppies no more than four hours; adults no more than eight hours at a time.
Dogs will need plenty of socialization and exercise before and after long periods of confinement. The crate is a wonderful training tool but it can be abused. It should be used only when you are unable to supervise the dog’s activity or when the dog chooses to use it at his leisure. When you are socializing with the dog and he is not eating, leave the crate open so he can go in and out of it during the day. It is not meant for solitary confinement or for storing the dog away because you do not want to deal with his unacceptable behavior. When you are home, you should be working with him. Your dog is a social creature, and he needs and deserves stimulation from you and the rest of the world. Use good judgment when utilizing the crate.