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How to train your dog in a cage, according to the experts

Over the past year, being able to spend more time with our dogs has been a source of comfort and comfort to many. But as some Americans prepare to return to work in person, the thought of leaving their dogs alone can be daunting. Many vets recommend cage training as a good option to prevent dogs from getting into messy (and dangerous) situations when they are home alone, while still having a comfortable place to stay when stressed.

GO AHEAD Best crates for dogs in 2021

What are the benefits of cash register training?

Confining your dog in a crate can cause feelings of guilt, but cage training can give you and your dog peace of mind. While successful crate training involves a lot of time and patience – the process typically takes at least six months, according to the American Kennel Club – it can play a vital role in breaking into puppies, as well as creating space. safe for young and older dogs. , noted Zay Satchu, DVM, chief veterinarian at Bond Vet in New York.

A crate can be a way for a dog to relax when he’s feeling anxious or distressed, especially in a large home. But, as Satchu pointed out, dog owners should always avoid using the crate as punishment or “because of bad behavior.” This will likely lead to the exact opposite effect: your dog will come to fear the crate and become even more stressed and anxious when he enters it.

When used responsibly, the crate can also limit a puppy’s access to the rest of the home and prevent them from chewing on household items or ending up in unsafe situations. Keep in mind, however, that dogs cannot stay in crates for too long. While every dog ​​has different physical activity requirements, dogs of all ages have their limit before needing a bathroom break.

Types of dog crates

Dog crates come in all different sizes, shapes and materials, and getting the right crate for your dog is a crucial first step.

Fabric or soft-sided dog crates: These types of cases are lightweight and portable, making them easy to carry while traveling. They also tend to fold up for easier storage. However, Stephanie Austin, DVM, the medical director of Bond Vet, suggests using them only for temporary crating as they are difficult to clean, not very durable, and “easy to slip away – especially for dogs who like to chew.” or wade into it. their cash register.

Metal dog crates: These crates are the most durable option for dog owners, especially if your dog enjoys chewing. Metal crates usually have bars with a gap between them, which means they are generally well ventilated and keep your dog visible. They can also be folded for storage or travel. According to Austin, metal crates “can be modified in a variety of ways with dividers, crate lids, and DIY furniture built around them to camouflage themselves into the surrounding interior decor.”

Plastic crates for dogs: This portable and lightweight crate is generally used for air travel and offers a little more privacy compared to metal dog crates. They’re also generally sturdier and easier to clean than soft-sided crates, although they don’t fold up for easy storage.

Game pens or exercise pens: Play pens are a more spacious option for keeping your dog confined when you leave the house. Austin notes that these can also be combined with your dog’s crate to set up a “play zone,” although they’re not ideal for larger dogs or those who can jump and climb.

What to consider when buying the right size crate

If you are training a caged puppy, talk to your vet to predict your puppy’s adult size and purchase the matching crate. However, you don’t want to give your puppy too much lots of space as it can negate their potty training “if they learn it’s okay to potty in one corner and sleep in the other,” Austin said. She suggested buying a crate that includes a divider panel so you can increase the space as your puppy grows.

To find the right size crate, here are a few factors to consider, according to experts:

  1. Length: While your dog is on all fours, Austin recommends measuring them “from tip of nose to base of tail,” making sure not to include the full length of their tail. Then, “add 2-4 inches to this measurement to get the best crate length for your dog.”
  2. Height: “When your dog is in a sitting position, measure from the ground to the top of his head,” she says. “Add 2-4 inches to this measurement for the minimum height required.”
  3. Width: According to Austin, you don’t need to measure your dog’s width – the width of the crate is based on their length and height measurements.
  4. Weight Limit: Carefully check the weight limit of any crate you are considering. It is important to make sure that your dog meets the manufacturer’s weight limit to transport or travel safely with the crate.

Best crates for dogs in 2021

Based on the expert advice above, we’ve compiled the best dog crates for you and your pet to consider.

Best dog crate overall: Midwest

Midwest Large Double Door iCrate

The Midwest iCrate is easy to assemble (and take apart) and has a space between its metal bars for your puppy’s visibility and breathability. Sizes vary from 18 inches to 48 inches in length, and the crate comes with a single or double door option. The crate door locks securely via a slide bolt, reducing the likelihood of your dog escaping. A strong, determined dog can unlock it, however, so it’s important to get your dog used to the crate before leaving it unattended.

Best sturdy dog ​​crate: Frisco

Frisco Ultimate Heavy Duty Metal Dog Crate

The Frisco Ultimate Dog Crate is made of high quality 22 gauge steel with half inch diameter bars that your dog will have a hard time chewing on. It also includes a double-latch lock, which the brand claims is placed out of reach of curious puppies. At just over 102 pounds, the crate is heavy, but it has built-in wheels and footrests for easy transport. This Frisco crate also features a grated floor with a removable metal tray to clean up any accidents.

Best dog crate suitable for airplanes: Petmate

Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier

This crate features a four point vault door for security and a hard plastic exterior that will give you some peace of mind (and some privacy for your puppy) during airplane travel. The bracket has steel wire vents open on three sides and over a dozen holes in the back for proper ventilation. It also comes with clip-on food and water bowls for travel. While this carrier meets most airline requirements for pet carriers, always check before you travel.

Best portable dog crate: EliteField

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Crate

This EliteField soft-sided crate is easily collapsible and converts into a portable tote for easy travel. It comes with a removable, machine washable bed and breathable mesh on all four sides for added comfort and ventilation.

Best Play Pen dog crate: Frisco

Frisco 8 Panel Plastic Exercise Dog Playpen

This playpen from Frisco can provide up to 18 square feet of play space for your puppy. Each of the pen’s eight interlocking panels has non-slip rubber feet that will hold it firmly in place.

Tips for training your dog in a cage

The length of the crate training process depends on several factors – including past experience, the dog’s age and temperament – but rushing the process or making mistakes that can cause negative associations with the crate drags her even longer. David Birse, DVM, the regional manager of Bond Vet, noted that some mistakes, like leaving your dog in its crate for a long time without accumulating, “can really set you back” and have a psychological impact on your dog.

Here are some tips to make sure the cash register process is smooth and successful:

Introduce it gently: Place the crate in a space where your dog is clearly comfortable and introduce it with a calm and happy tone. Birse recommends placing a few toys or treats inside the crate so that your puppy has positive associations with him. He also suggests adding a dog bed or blankets to maximize comfort and feeding your dog from inside his crate, which can encourage him to have positive associations towards him.

Be patient: The process of cage training a dog can be time consuming, so make sure it’s something you can and are willing to do. “It’s really important to have the patience to get used to it, so that they are happy and understand that they can investigate a bit,” Birse said.

Never force them to enter: “It will only exacerbate their existing anxiety,” said Birse. “If your goal is for this to be a long term situation for the dog, then it’s counterproductive.”

Keep it accessible: If your dog is older and initially worried about the crate, Birse suggests keeping the door open all day so he can enter and exit voluntarily, and build to the point where he is comfortable with the door. closed.

Always remove the collar: There is a risk associated with a dog collar stuck on one of the crate wires, especially with open metal crates. Make sure you never place your dog in a crate with his collar on.

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