Crate training is a way of trying to teach your dog new habits. In fact, it’s one of the most effective techniques out there.
However, people sometimes miss the point of crate training. It’s a tool that is supposed to help your dog learn something and once it does, there is no point to carry on with this method.
The ability to know when to stop crate training depends on your puppy’s progress and what are you using it for.
What Is Crate Training and Why Does Your Dog Need It?
Crate training employs your dog’s natural instincts. The crate becomes the dog’s home, where it finds safety and comfort, just like they would do if they were in the wild. Since dogs don’t smear their homes, this methodology is initially used for house training.
Through the use of a crate, the dog can learn not to be all over the place. They get to know where they’re allowed and where they aren’t. It’s also useful when you leave for work.
Moreover, the crate eventually becomes a place for your dog to chill, especially in situations where they might get anxious, like being at a party.
Even while being away from home, on a holiday, for example, your dog will have the crate as home. This way you make sure they don’t get stressed and in turn stress you out.
What to Avoid When Crate-Training?
Crate training is generally conducted on young puppies, another reason to be extra cautious when applying this method. They can easily feel frustrated and anxious. Therefore, here are some things to bear in mind when crate-training your dog.
First, the dog should never at any point feel that the crate is used for punishment. If your dog developed this sentiment towards the crate, then he will never enter it.
Another point to consider is the crate time. A dog is not supposed to spend all the waking hours in one place. There has to be time for the dog to release energy, and interact with others, otherwise, your dog will become depressed.
It goes without saying that the dog needs potty breaks as well if you intend to keep him inside the crate for a long time, which, to set things straight, is strongly inadvisable.
Moreover, your dog’s age will tell you how long should it stay inside the crate. Dogs as young as 6 months shouldn’t be kept in a crate for more than 3 hours.
Adult dogs can stay slightly more than that. The main reason behind this is that dogs should not hold their bladders that long.
When to Stop Crate Training?
As we mentioned before, crate training is a tool that serves a purpose. Once that purpose is fulfilled, there is no need for it anymore.
Your Dog Likes the Crate
A key to making your dog learn faster is to work on making him link the crate with good things.
Once your dog has started showing signs that it no longer needs the crate, you should start considering ending that phase gradually.
A typical sign of the dog not needing to be ‘crated’ anymore is when you see the dog retreating to the crate on its own for rest. Once that happens, you can leave the door open for some time so that the dog feels free to come and go as he wishes.
Sustained Good Behavior
It’s always important to keep track of your dog’s behavior from the minute you start the crate training. This helps you calculate when you should start easing those restrictions on him.
If the dog preserved the cleanliness of the crate for a couple of months straight, this means that he is now treating the crate as home.
People normally cease to crate-train once their dogs learn to go to the toilet, and are no longer biting or stealing food. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that all undesired behaviors can show up again if not constantly corrected.
How to Gradually End Crate-Training
Once you have decided to end the training, you should do that slowly and carefully. A dog can develop serious anxiety issues if it was introduced to a sudden change of settings.
At first, try keeping your dog out of the crate for a longer time. However, you still need to keep an eye on them when they’re around the house. Eventually, you will manage to reach a point where your dog can be kept outside the crate during the whole night or when you’re out of the house.
One thing to bear in mind when lifting the crate training is that you should not make the whole house admissible all at once. Introduce larger areas step by step before you let your dog roam around the whole house freely.
Keeping the dog distracted and busy is essential to preserving the newly learned habit. Having a toy or a food treat presented to the dog is an effective method of keeping them well-behaved for a long time.
Keep the Crate
It is recommended that even after you stop crate training you should not get rid of the crate. If you are someone who’s always on the go, the crate will remain an important part of the supervision process.
If the dog has become accustomed to that routine where a crate is involved, there is no harm in keeping that routine until the circumstances call for a change.
Crate training has proved to be effective in changing a dog’s behavior. However, it’s often misused by people who wrongly think that this is a way of living for a dog.
The whole point behind this method is to make the dog act as you want him to. If your dog resists being inside the crate this means that the crate is associated with negative connotations in his head. Your job is to prevent your dog from developing this idea.
Every dog has its own desirable lying spots. If you have carried out the crate training properly, that desirable spot will be inside the crate while keeping the door open. If the dog retreats to the crate on his own, it’s a clear sign that you have performed well as a trainer.