Tips For Crate Training An Older Dog
For many including myself, the thought of crate training an older dog is difficult. Most dog lovers want their best friend to have free roam of the house. One thing to keep in mind is that your older dog can still have free roam of the house, even with a crate.
The ancestors of our domestic and modern day dogs would search for out of the way dens or even dig a shallow hole for themselves. These safe places were dark and small; just big enough for him to sleep and turn around when necessary.
Even our domestic dogs still hold instincts of their ancient ancestors. Here’s an example of this using my own dog. My lab “Maggie” has a nice big bed on the floor. It’s surrounded on three sides by cushion, yet she curls up in one corner of the bed. It’s instinctive for her to curl up like she would in a den or that small hole I mentioned above.
His Own Apartment
When crate training an older dog, owners often get a crate in an effort to just train their pooch and use long enough for a training period. To their surprise, they discover that their dog will go in and out of the crate on his own when the door is left open. It’s his personal space.
What Size Is Right
When crate training an older dog or any adult dog for that matter, look for a crate that is large enough for her to stand, turn around and comfortably lie down. It should also be large enough that if she is laying on her side, she can stretch out. **Puppies – when buying a crate for puppies, if the crate is too large, many say that it’s harder to house break the pup. Also, as the puppy gets older, he needs a different size crate to grow with his body.
Here’s the typical sizes of most standard dog crates:
Extra Small: 19 L x 12 W x 15 H
Small: 24 L x 18 W x 20 H
Medium: 30 L x 19 W x 22 H
Large: 36 L x 23 W x 26 H
Extra Large: 42 L x 28 W x 31 H
XX Large: 48 L x 30 W x 33 H
Giant: 54″L x 35″W x 45″H.
What Type Should I Get
When crate training an older dog, there are several types of dog crates available. Depending how much you want to spend, you can get a standard wire crate or a very pretty wood or wicker dog crate. Most of the wood and wicker crates only go up to a certain size. Here’s some of the different types available:
- Soft Crate -> Made of canvas and mesh and typically used for travel as well.
- Wire Crate -> Complete wire on all four sides. The quality of wire makes a difference meaning that some are not very strong and rather flimsy. Many of these are not collapsible dog crates, so if you plan on storing it later — be sure to keep this in mind. **You can get a crate cover to go over it or place a blanket over and around it. **I recommend the bumper pads when using a wire crate — they’re meant to protect your dog just like bumper pads in a baby’s crib.
- Aluminum Dog Crate -> The crates are pretty heavy duty, yet lightweight.
- Giant Breed Crates -> Most of these are made of your standard wire and are typically 54″L x 35″W x 45″H.
- Plastic -> These are molded in two pieces and have ventilation holes on the sides.
Depending on your dog’s size and weight, the style and construction material, you will pay anywhere from $20 to $450. It just depends on what you’re looking for and what you can afford.
Make Her Crate A Safe Place
When crate training an older dog be sure to make her space a nice, comfortable, quiet place that she enjoys. Place a blanket over and around the back and sides of the crate along with a nice blanket or two and her favorite toy inside. Start by leaving the door open and letting her check it out. Place some treats in there and allow her to go in an get them — don’t shut the door on her. When crate training an older dog, you want to slowly adjust her to the crate.
Remember when dog crate training, crates are a nice teaching tool, but don’t force any dog of any age to stay in there all day. Your goal should be to allow your dog the freedom of going in and out of his crate when he wants even when you’re not at home. However, it should also provide you the mental comfort of knowing that your home’s still in one piece if you’re away. It’s o.k. to place him in there for a little while until you come home, but NEVER abuse what it’s really for.
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Here’s another very nice article on house-training any dog.
For more great training tips visit our friends at Dog Star Daily.