How To Use a Dog Crate – When and When NOT To Crate Your Dog


‘Black Labrador Retriever Lotte’ by Golden Retriever – Labrador on Flickr CC BY

This is the third installment within the Eight half sequence, ‘Crate coaching – The full information‘.

We mentioned the various advantages the usage of a crate can supply, and hopefully put to relaxation any fears you’ll have had concerning the usage of a crate being merciless within the earlier article: ‘Why use a dog crate – and is it merciless to crate a dog‘.

This article flows on from the earlier one, so should you haven’t but, I like to recommend you learn that first.

This article solutions the query use a dog crate, going by means of the explanations and occasions at which it is best to think about using one, and then the occasions and causes that it’s crucial you NOT crate your dog.

It’s a lengthy article, however it must be to ensure you use a crate accurately, successfully, and above all humanely and by no means in a merciless method.

Contents & Quick Navigation

How To Use a Dog Crate

To get the best begin potential you first wish to put together the crate.

This means shopping for a good crate of the proper measurement, a few required equipment, have a location and a crate coaching plan all prepared earlier than you even carry your Labrador dwelling. This method you can begin crate coaching as quickly as potential…the youthful they’re, the better it’s!

The crate have to be massive sufficient in your dog to face, flip round freely and stretch out laying down comfortably. But not so huge that they’re in a position to go to rest room at one finish and nonetheless be comfy on the different as this defeats a lot of the aim.

You can see our hand-picked listing of the perfect, most extremely really useful dog crates by clicking right here.

You ought to all the time go away a chew toy or two in along with your dog to maintain them occupied, and take away any collar or harness so there’s no threat of snagging and choking.

Purchasing the proper type and measurement of crate, in addition to placement, preparation and required (and elective) equipment is mentioned in additional depth within the subsequent two articles on this sequence.

Don’t Just Crate When You’re Leaving Them Alone

It’s extraordinarily essential that you simply crate your Labrador for brief durations at common intervals all through the day if you’re dwelling, not solely if you’re about to go away the home.

This prevents your Lab from studying that going to the crate all the time means they are going to be left alone which can lead to them turning into reluctant to enter and use it.

The Crate is Your Dogs Den, Not Your Children’s

The crate is your Labradors particular place of their very own and it should stay simply that…their very own.

So if in case you have kids, be very stern concerning the reality they have to NEVER hassle the dog and particularly by no means tease them once they’re within the crate.

And by no means allow them to go inside, or play on or round it. It’s your dogs personal particular place and they have to be taught that they will go there for peace and quiet and is not going to be disturbed.

But having mentioned that, it is best to be sure that your Lab permits human contact and entry to the crate and doesn’t be taught to useful resource guard it since you’ll want to position objects in there, take away objects from there and generally contact your dog once they’re inside.

Take Them To Toilet And Exercise Them Before Crating Any Length of Time

You ought to all the time be sure that your Lab has lately been to rest room and had some train and interplay with their human household earlier than you crate them for any size of time.

If they haven’t been to rest room, it might get very uncomfortable having to carry it and they could even ultimately be compelled to go within the crate.

If they haven’t been exercised and loved some interplay, they could have pent-up vitality and really feel remoted, ignored and alone which might result in anxiousness.

When To Use a Dog Crate

When to use a dog crate e1409183971271 - How To Use a Dog Crate – When and When NOT To Crate Your DogI’m now going to debate the occasions and causes that it is best to use a dog crate, earlier than offering instruction after on the equally essential occasions when you shouldn’t use a crate.

I’m compelled to repeat right here a little of what was spoken within the final article on ‘why use a dog crate’, however there’s a lot of latest factors as nicely. At least it’ll serve to actually hammer dwelling the advantages of utilizing one 🙂

Always Leave The Crate Open For Your Dog to Use Voluntarily

First and foremost, the crate must be left open and accessible in your dog to make use of voluntarily once they want.

It gives your dog along with his personal little place to go for peace and quiet the place they’ll not be disturbed, which is especially essential in a home with young children.

Also, if you need to go away your pet alone for brief durations, being within the crate will make them really feel safer and safer than being free to roam round a huge room or the entire home alone.

Keep Your Puppy Safe When You Cannot Supervise Them

If you’re busy round the home and can not supervise your pet correctly, popping them in a crate for a quick whereas will take away the potential for them to get into hassle resembling chewing electrical wires or swallowing dangerous, poisonous or inedible objects in your house.

Protect Your Belongings When You Cannot Supervise Them

Related to the earlier level, when your Lab pet is teething and chewing every part they will get their little mouths on, popping them into a crate when you’ll be able to’t supervise them will shield your belongings.

By spending $50 to $100 USD on a crate, you’ll get your funding again ten-fold by defending your footwear, furnishings and different possessions when you’ll be able to’t keep watch over your furry little chewing machine.

Perhaps extra importantly you’ll be able to shield in opposition to potential harm of irreplaceable issues that maintain sentimental worth.

When You Can’t Supervise Your Dog With Small Children

Labradors are extensively identified for having a superb temperament and being loving and affected person round kids, however retaining a small little one and dog aside is as a lot for the dogs security as it’s for the kid.

You ought to by no means go away a dog or pet alone with young children.

Children fairly often ‘play rough’ with dogs, pulling their ears and tails and can simply damage a small pet. And this will result in a pet turning into very nippy and probably hurting the kid in return.

So should you can not supervise them, don’t go away a very younger little one and your dog alone collectively. Pop your lab in a crate for a quick whereas till they will have your supervision.

During The House Training Process

You can reap the benefits of a pet’s innate intuition to maintain their den clear to assist pace up the home coaching course of.

House training process lab e1409184032886 - How To Use a Dog Crate – When and When NOT To Crate Your DogYou would usually hold a vigilant eye in your pet, searching for indicators they’re about to go potty and transfer shortly to take him outdoors to the proper place.

But should you can’t watch them fastidiously there’s a excessive likelihood you’ll miss the indicators and your pet may have accidents inside the house. And every little accident you’ve missed is a missed alternative to show the place you need them to go.

When you’ll be able to’t watch them, pop them within the crate and they’ll maintain it so long as they will. Then if you take them out, go straight outdoors, they’ll have to go and you might have a chance for praising them for stepping into the correct place.

The extra they get reward for stepping into the correct spot, the faster they be taught what you need them to do and the faster the home coaching course of turns into.

Being in a crate will even forestall them eliminating in the home throughout the evening which might set issues again.

Use The Crate For a Timeout

When your pet turns into method over-excited, begins to get a bit nippy and they gained’t relax, (and this occurs a lot with younger Labrador puppies) you’ll be able to pop them within the crate till they’re relaxed and have regained management.

Never do that to punish your dog, all the time keep calm and communicate positively all through. You don’t need them to have any detrimental emotions concerning the crate. Just calmly take them to the crate with a toy to calm down for a couple of minutes.

Managing Problem Behaviors as Part of Solving Them

Problem behaviors, resembling leaping up on guests or begging for meals on the desk, wants a two-pronged method to being solved: Training the specified habits and stopping or managing the undesirable habits.

By not permitting an undesirable habits to happen, you mechanically reduce it’s frequency and dramatically pace up the coaching of the specified various habits.

A crate is a very useful gizmo for this, quickly confining your dog to forestall drawback behaviors on the occasions they may happen. For occasion, crating for two or three minutes after a new customer arrives till they’ve calmed down, or for the half hour your loved ones sits all the way down to eat.

Introducing a New Puppy Into a Home With an Older Dog

You can by no means be fairly positive how an older dog will behave with a new pet, and a pet may be too boisterous to be put up with kindly by an older dog, particularly an aged one.

When you’ll be able to’t supervise their time collectively and step in if issues get an excessive amount of, it is best to crate your pet a quick whereas till you can provide them your full consideration.

For Safety Traveling

Whether by highway or by air, touring in a crate is the perfect and most secure method in your dog to journey. It retains them calm, presents safety for when an accident happens and protects the motive force from the distractions of a free dog within the automotive.

It’s additionally very helpful for if you keep in a resort or take your dog locations the place they aren’t welcome to run about freely, permitting your dog to journey with you however retaining them out of mischief by confining them to a place they’re accustomed to and really feel comfy in.

When NOT to Crate Your Dog

When NOT to use a crate e1409184057661 - How To Use a Dog Crate – When and When NOT To Crate Your DogThere are occasions if you shouldn’t crate your dog. Sometimes for medical causes, generally for psychological causes and generally as a result of it could set again your dogs improvement and your coaching efforts to this point.

And I believe most significantly as a result of generally it’s simply plain pointless, imply and not inside your dogs greatest pursuits for high quality of life.

These are the occasions and causes that you shouldn’t crate your dog:

If Your Dog is Afraid Of The Crate

Not all dogs like a crate and it’s merciless and inhumane to drive a dog exhibiting worry and anxiousness to make use of one.

You’ll know in case your dog fears the crate as a result of they’ll look extremely scared: Ears flat, tail down, trembling and in excessive instances could even vomit or defecate.

Never drive a dog into a crate, they have to be prepared to go inside and ought to really feel joyful and comfy there.

In some instances they could appear joyful if you first put them in, however if you return after a while you see harm to the crate attributable to makes an attempt to flee, moist fur or a moist flooring resulting from drooling, urine or feces within the crate or studies from neighbors of barking and crying.

This might point out delayed worry of the crate that takes a quick whereas to take maintain, or might be separation anxiousness.

For non permanent options to make use of till you full crate coaching and your dog learns to like their crate, please see this text by The Whole Dog Journal: What to do when your dog hates his crate

Dogs Who Suffer With Separation Anxiety

A dog that already suffers with separation anxiousness ought to by no means be confined in a crate as this can solely make issues worse.

If your dog exhibits any of the next indicators of separation anxiousness when left alone you want to talk about this with skilled assist and keep away from crating them: Destructive chewing, soiling the home, extreme drooling, scratching at doorways and home windows making an attempt to flee or continuous barking and whining.

Although practically all dogs come to see their crate as their particular place that makes them really feel secure and safe, this isn’t the case with those who undergo separation anxiousness and crating them might actually make their emotions worse.

In probably the most excessive instances of dogs in a extreme state of tension they’ve been reported to tear claws and break enamel making an attempt to flee a crate…and these not in crates to destroy complete doorways and inside partitions. You can think about the worry and panic they have to be feeling to do that!

Regardless of whether or not you utilize a crate or not, in case your dog has separation anxiousness issues, you MUST communicate with a skilled to resolve the issue because it severely impacts your dogs high quality of life.

NOTE: Regarding worry of the crate and separation anxiousness, I recommend should you can to arrange a camcorder and document your dog within the crate once they’re left alone. This method you’ll have a true sense of how they discover the expertise. If they’re anxious and fearful you want to work on this and return to crate coaching earlier than utilizing one. They aren’t prepared but.

If Crating Will Exceed The Time They Can Hold Their Need to Toilet

The time will differ relying on the age of your dog, however you understand how uncomfortable it’s when you actually need to go however can’t? A dog will really feel the identical when making an attempt their very hardest to not soil their crate, so don’t put them on this place.

If it does get to the stage the place they find yourself soiling their crate, they’ll really feel very upset with themselves and anxious, so keep away from this all prices. It’s primary care to permit your Lab the chance to go to rest room recurrently.

Your Dog Begins To Toilet In Their Crate

As mentioned above, this might be resulting from worry of the crate or separation anxiousness. But it is also for medical causes or simply that they’ve ‘unlearnt’ to maintain their crate clear.

If they’re soiling their crate resulting from medical causes or illness and diarrhea, they can’t be anticipated to carry it, actually can not assist it and it’s completely unfair to have them crated once they’ll defecate in such a confined area.

So don’t confine them till they’re nicely once more, go away the door open so they could use the crate, however can go away when the inevitable occurs.

But if it’s resulting from shedding their intuition to maintain their sleeping place clear it might undo all your home coaching efforts and not solely this, it’s very dangerous for the well being of your dogs pores and skin to lie in urine and excrement.

A dog that soils their crate shouldn’t be confined in a single however as an alternative must be managed with a pen or by gating off a part of the home till you’ve totally educated them to be clear inside as soon as once more.

A Medical Condition That Could Be Worsened By Being Crated

Although a crate may be very helpful, really useful and will even be sought out by your dog once they’re in poor health or convalescing, some circumstances require that a dog be capable of transfer about freely to forestall their well being from worsening.

An previous dog with arthritis or a youthful dog with infected joints could turn into stiff and sore in the event that they’re confined with little motion.

There are different illnesses with which being confined isn’t really useful, your vet will be capable of advise if so.

For Lengths of Time Exceeding 5 Hours

With the exception of evening occasions and one-off distinctive circumstances, it is best to keep away from crating your dog for greater than 5 hours at a time, and the frequency of this must be stored to an absolute minimal.

When a dog’s crated for lengthy durations, they get no train, no interplay or socialization and this will result in melancholy and anxiousness. This is especially true of Labradors, a sociable breed that really wants companionship from their human household. Please attempt to keep away from this.

As A Punishment

Never use a dog crate for punishment! If you do, you aren’t utilizing it within the dogs greatest pursuits or as a administration software, you’re utilizing it as a jail.

And in all equity, you’re in all probability imprisoning them only for being a dog and having accomplished one thing that dogs naturally do. Something that you simply haven’t taken the time to coach and train them in any other case to not do.

Please don’t punish your dog in your personal failings!

If you do confine them as a punishment, they’ll begin to dislike their crate and will then lose the good thing about a place of security and safety all of their very own. And you’ll now not be capable of use it for time-outs and administration as they’ll begin to worry the crate and really feel anxious.

Your dog ought to solely ever have nice experiences whereas crated, to advertise a joyful affiliation with it and to maintain its energy and advantages for each you and your dog.

Don’t Ever Crate Them Just Because You Want Peace and Quiet

If your Labrador pet’s being a nuisance and begging for consideration if you’re drained and wish to calm down, this isn’t an excuse to restrict them to a crate.

A pet may be annoying, they will demand all of your time, however you signed up for this and it’s a a part of being a Lab guardian till they’re totally grown.

It’s nothing wanting negligence to lock up your pet should you ‘can’t be bothered’. You must play with them, work together with them and present the coaching they want.

Uncomfortably High Temperatures

Your dog ought to be capable of search out and discover a option to calm down if it will get too scorching and being confined to a crate doesn’t enable this. Especially some with comparatively stable partitions that enable little air-flow and can get extraordinarily scorching, even dangerously so if the final climate is scorching outdoors.


If Your Dog Is Alone While You Work All Day..

Here are some crate coaching suggestions for you.

Crating a Dog While at Work

crate dog if you work all day e1409184108892 - How To Use a Dog Crate – When and When NOT To Crate Your Dog


While leaving dog in crate whereas at work isn’t really useful, if this have to be tried, it shouldn’t be greater than Eight hours. If crating a pet whereas at work isn’t an choice, dog-proof the room you’re retaining them in to make sure they will’t injure themselves when you’re away.

Then it’s completely important that your dog is nicely exercised and given plenty of consideration earlier than and after being positioned within the crate, and you might have someone come and take your dog out for train and go to rest room half method by means of the day.

But personally, I’m very strongly in opposition to crating a dog whereas at work this fashion. However, I do additionally understand individuals’s private circumstances change, relationships break up and someone could discover themselves instantly in a state of affairs the place they stay alone with their dog and must work all day.

If that is you, strive your best to go away your dog with a member of the family, rent a pet sitter or use a dog daycare service to chop the period of time your dog should spend alone, notably in a crate.

A sociable dog resembling a Labrador can’t be left alone and remoted 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a yr. This is a poor high quality of life. This lack of interplay and companionship will probably finish along with your dog creating emotional issues, melancholy, anxiousness and behavioral points.

Common Questions Asked when Leaving Puppy in Crate While at Work

How lengthy is taken into account ‘too long’ to go away a dog in a crate?

leaving puppy in crate while at work - How To Use a Dog Crate – When and When NOT To Crate Your DogLeaving a pet alone in crate whereas at work is unacceptable. As a rule of thumb, you’ll be able to go away a pet in a crate for a most of 5 hours straight ONLY, relying on their age. Adult dogs can deal with as much as Eight hours of confinement, however it shouldn’t be an on a regular basis factor.

How lengthy is it okay to go away a dog in a crate?

Adult dogs shouldn’t be left in crates for greater than 6-Eight hours. Puppies of 17 weeks and older can deal with as much as four or 5 hours in a crate at a time. Leaving a dog dwelling alone in a crate longer than this will damage their psychological and bodily well being.

Crating a Dog at Night

crating a dog at night - How To Use a Dog Crate – When and When NOT To Crate Your DogShould I Put My Dog in a Crate at Night?

YES, you’ll be able to crate your dog at evening. Place the dog within the crate with a deal with and a cue like “kennel up” or “kennel” given in a joyful method. The crate must be close to to you in an effort to hear the pet whimper or whine if he must remove throughout the evening. (Dogs will normally make some sort of noise somewhat than make a mess the place they sleep.)

A Crate Is Not For Life – With Maturity, The Need For Crating Lessens If Needed At All

The predominant goals of a crate are security, safety, safety of belongings, to assist home coaching and administration of habits issues.

So if in case you have a dog who behaves splendidly when left alone within the dwelling, may be very nicely home educated, has no harmful tendencies and no habits issues, you might have little motive to make use of a crate, so why would you?

If your dog’s reached the stage the place they are often trusted, crating solely deprives them of the liberty to maneuver round that they’ve earned by working exhausting with you in coaching, to be taught and abide by the foundations you need them to stay by.

Stop utilizing the crate at this level. This is their reward. Like when your little one may be trusted to remain secure and not destroy issues within the dwelling, you now not confine them to a play pen do you? Please give your dog the identical honor.

You ought to plan to make use of a crate till your dog is over their harmful chewing stage. For Labradors that is normally between 2 and 2 half of years of age.

Once they’ve proved you’ll be able to belief them within the dwelling, please cease crating them. They’ve earned the correct and it’s a little increase to their high quality of life.

You ought to nonetheless hold the crate except you want the area in your house again. Your dog will nonetheless covet it as their very own little area to get away, and you need to use it should you go to family members, or your vet advises to crate them throughout sickness or after surgical procedure. And it could turn into helpful as a administration software once more in case your older dog develops a habits drawback.

Further Reading

For extra info on when and when to not use a dog crate, the next two article has some good info:

From, Crate Confinement: Is It a Good Choice for Your Dog?


Crates have actually saved the lives of numerous dogs, and they’ve helped numerous others to cope with life in a human world with much less stress and worry. But there are a worrying quantity of people that overuse crates with their dogs.

The capability to spend a number of hours a day roaming freely about the home somewhat than spending time in a crate will profit your Labrador in some ways. A dog free in the home, interacting with its household enjoys a far better degree of psychological stimulation and a higher high quality of life.

To prepare your dog to be trusted and reliably free in your home, have them out of the crate and with you every time you’ll be able to to oversee and extra importantly, prepare and train them.

With maturity and coaching, the vast majority of dogs will be taught to behave nicely in the home if you’re not watching in addition to when you find yourself, and then you’ll be able to cease utilizing the crate.

But throughout the pet and adolescent levels, thoughtful use of a crate will hold your dog secure, your possessions secure and cease dangerous habits forming.

For these small variety of dogs that really worry a crate, it is best to by no means drive them, that’s merciless and inhumane. But it is best to try to crate prepare your dog as a result of this actually is just a very small variety of dogs and the advantages to crating are enormous.

The extra you perceive the advantages a crate can present, and when it is best to and shouldn’t use a crate, the higher you’ll be capable of use it for the unimaginable software it’s to handle your dog for the good thing about their security and happiness.

Hopefully the articles on this sequence to this point have helped you to grasp simply that. Why and use a dog crate, when to crate your Lab and simply importantly, when to not.

More info:

This was half three in an Eight-part sequence that particulars every part you want to learn about the usage of a crate and crate coaching your pet. The info applies equally nicely to dogs of all breeds and not simply Labradors.

The Entire sequence is linked to right here:

I’ve tried to cowl actually each query I might think about on dog crates and crate coaching within the article sequence above, however in fact it’s exhausting to cowl each query that folks could presumably have.

So if there’s something you want to know however can not discover a solution for above, please be at liberty to go away your questions within the feedback part under and I’ll fortunately give all the assistance I can 🙂

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