10 Reasons Why Crates May Benefit You, As Told By Two Dog Mums, Plus Their Crate Training Tips
While using crates is a personal choice, there is no doubt that many dog parents are intrigued by them and interested in learning more so that they can make an informed decision. We asked two of our favourite dog mamas - Sheyleigh and Bec about their experience using dog crates, the reasons why they love them and their tips on how to crate train from their own trials and errors.
But first, here's what Jordan Dog Training has to say about crates:
"Crates are not intended for confining your dog for lengthy periods of time on a routine basis. Your dog will quickly grow tired of this and begin resisting it. Use a crate, but don’t abuse a crate.
Ideally, a crate should be large enough to allow your dog to stretch out on his side, stand without hitting his head and be able to turn around. The crate should not be so large that your dog can relieve himself in one corner and move away to play and sleep in another. If your puppy is not yet fully grown, you can block off part of the crate until he grows into it. Place the crate close to the main living area of the house, such as the kitchen or lounge. Draping the crate with a sheet may help to enhance the den-like quality for the puppy. Put a soft blanket in the crate to make it comfortable. Also ensure that the crate is free from drafts or direct heat."
(Pictured: Indie Boho Couch Throw used as a Crate Cover, Large Bed and Blanket.)
Waldorf, Astoria and Magnolia
Our crate training journey is a long one!
We had been waiting for years to welcome a puppy into our home and wanted to do it the right way, so we booked in at a reputable puppy training school who strongly recommended a crate and pen set-up for new pups. This was over 4 years ago now.
To be honest I wasn’t that strict with crate training back then, Waldorf spent a lot of time in either of my daughters’ beds, he was a typical whiney little French Bulldog that we pandered to at every whim. (This here is for another blog on what not to do with your puppy!)
I was working 8 hours a day back then, the crate and pen set up gave me the peace of mind that our precious little pup wouldn’t roam the house and pee and poo everywhere, but I also knew he couldn’t get into things in the house that may harm him like electrical cords for instance or have the opportunity to be destructive.
When Poody (Astoria) came along the crate was a great tool for ensuring both pups had space and time away from each other, although the dogs both spent a lot of time in our beds, again I wasn’t overly serious about the crates but could definitely see the value in them.
The dogs being in the bed was getting pretty tiring, they would wake me through the night when they moved and insisted on resting their 10kg of solid chunky muscle on my legs which wasn’t pleasant. I know some people love having their pet in the bed with them, but it wasn’t for me.
In addition to being uncomfortable at night I was noticing some undesirable behaviours in the dogs which I believe was coming from not having an appropriate pack structure in the house, as when dogs are allowed to sleep in your bed, they believe they are at the same level in the pack as you.
So…., in 2021, it was back to the crates every single night and it’s been the same ever since.
The Introduction of Magnolia Puppy
When I introduced Magnolia into the pack, she went straight into a crate and pen set up.
Puppies require 20 hours of sleep a day, bringing a new pup into the house with two other dogs was going to be a challenge to ensure Mags was getting the sleep she needed.
The crate with an Indie Boho throw over gave little Maggie the space she needed for sleep with minimal distractions and was a great help with managing toilet training too.
The dogs absolutely love their crates and I will find them sleeping in them during the day. At nighttime the crate door is closed but all day the crate doors are open so they have easy access.
Whenever I have a tradesperson visit, the dogs go straight in their crates, as they love to jump all over new visitors to the house, if a tradesperson is doing work at the house, this allows them to get on with their work without three crazy frenchies begging them for pats.
The crates were also really helpful when we moved house recently, as they are the dog’s safe space, the crates helped avoid any anxiety with the dogs during this change period as their sleeping arrangements never changed. Additionally, while we were moving furniture the dogs were safe in their crates, one so we didn’t trip over them and two we could leave the doors open without them running off.
The last positive I will talk about with crate training your dogs is, when your dog visits the vet for spaying or other surgeries, they will be crated. If your dog has been crate trained, these vet visits will be a lot less stressful on them as they associate the crates with a safe space.Bec's Tips on How to Crate Train Successfully
It’s never too late to start crate training, every time I integrated the crates on our journey I threw in a t-shirt I had worn in it so they could cuddle up to a familiar smell, a nice soft blanket too, plus loads of treats and positive recognition when your dog is in the create initially. Your dog may sulk for a little while but they do really learn to love them.
I’ve always kept their crates in the living room to keep them close to the family and also so they don’t feel isolated in them.
Waldorf, Astoria and Magnolia weigh around 10kg with Waldorf being the tallest at about 50 cm including his huge ears and is the longer model frenchie at 65cm nose to tail, they have always been in the medium crates from Kmart, these cost less than $50, and we use the Large Indie Boho Beds and Blankets in them.
Crate life isn’t for everyone but it certainly suits our family and has assisted with our pack structure. Everyone who visits our house comments on how relaxed and well behaved the dogs are.
Follow Waldorf, Astoria and Magnolia on IG and FB: @waldorf_and_astoria
Allez and Obie - by Sheyleigh
When Allez (now 2) and Obie (now 1 years old) were puppies, crating was an important part of their routine to help with toilet training, gaining independency and managing their energy levels. However, after time we found that the pups knew their routine well and so we decided to do away with the crates when we moved to a new house a year later.
Crates seemed like a thing of the past, until a few welcome (and unwelcome) changes came into our lives for Allez and Obie.
Allez and Lure Coursing
Our first big, exciting change was giving Allez a challenge and see how she went at Lure Coursing. It was such fun to get involved in but there were a lot of rules to remember, and we didn’t want to ruin any of Allez’s chances at succeeding. One of the rules for the safety of all dogs is that all dogs must be always crated at Lure Coursing “You need to have a secure crate for your dog. If your dog is easily aroused, bring a cover to help keep them quiet.”
Our friend’s dog Kevin loved Lure Coursing so we would be seeing the season out in great company, and luckily putting the two dogs side by side in the crate helped them both to stay calm and rest between turns. It was relieving that Allez adapted so quickly again to crate life after a long break, and given I helped with gate stewarding at Lure Coursing it was a nice feeling knowing she was safe in her crate (whilst also being watched by Kevin’s family).Obie, the Cheeky Chocolate Eater
Not long after we moved house and ditched the crates, Obie in his true teenager manner, began participating in naughty behaviour whenever he was left alone in his new surroundings. This had involved a few eye-rolling things like busting into the treats drawer and eating $50 worth of sardine bites in one sitting to breaking open the pantry door, jumping up the shelves and eating 250g of chocolate (resolved by an expensive vet visit that would later have him infamously known as “Obie, the cheeky chocolate eater”). It became apparent to us that we’d made a mistake dropping the crating habit and as nice as it would be leaving him in the backyard, we live in a series of townhouses who don’t love howling and we don’t imagine they would love Obie’s take on ‘landscaping’ as he destroys our tiny backyard with no shelter.
How Sheyleigh Reintroduced Obie to a Crate Again
We had decided to introduce Obie to a crate again for his own safety. But this took time and patience. We had the perfect start though where we noticed he’d been opting to sleep on his bed instead of with us – which we were grateful for because the boy is all legs and cares for no one when he is doing a stretch. We took this opportunity to put his bed into the crate and began with sleeping there overnight. This was a huge success, not just for him, but for us getting a good night's sleep! However, we weren't out of the woods during the day, there was still a lot of anxiety when we were out of the night routine. So as advised by our breeder, we got each of the dogs their own crate (they were previously sharing one big one) and placing Obie between Zenah (our 7 year old Italian Greyhound) and Allez, who surrounded him with calmness.
We began giving him a treat (like a pig’s ear or bully stick) and even if he didn’t sleep during the day, he began associating the crate slowly with a bit of quiet personal time. He now happily goes to his crate when he’s asked to and we’ve used our gorgeous Noosa Nights Couch Cover as a crate cover, so he can't see us leave the room. The couch throw used as a crate cover also offers good breathability, so he doesn’t overheat (not to mention, it makes our room look much nicer than a bunch of metal crates). We increased frequency of crate time and duration, which is now more duration than frequency but still a lot of fun time in between crate rests. We took the crate for a weekend away recently and where previously we couldn’t leave Obie alone in the beach house, in case he misbehaved, this time he happily chilled in his crate. It is now his beautiful little piece of home away from home.
Follow Allez, Obie and Zenah on IG: @allezwhip
For the perfect crate haven, purchase a bed, blanket and couch cover (as a crate cover) as part of our Bundle Buys and receive $15 off!