As dog owners, we’d like nothing more than to provide the best care for our canine buddies. To give them the treatment that they deserve, we tend to ask ourselves whether they might be comfortable in certain situations.
One important question is: Should I cover my dog’s crate? If you’ve been wondering about this, there’s no need to worry anymore. We’ll answer your question and discuss everything else that might be on your mind.
The first thing you should know is that, yes, it might be a great idea to cover your dog’s crate every now and then. Just remember that it can be different from one dog to another. Generally, covering your dog’s crate can make it feel safer and at home. You can cover it partially or entirely according to what your dog is comfortable with.
However, some dogs might not appreciate the solitude and would rather watch the outside world from the safety of their crates. In this case, you should answer to your furry friend’s needs.
In the beginning, it might be a bit challenging trying to figure everything out. Luckily for you, we’re here to help. Now that you have the quick answer to your question, let’s approach it more in-depth.
How Important Is It To Cover My Dog’s Crate
Again, the answer to this question depends on the nature of your dog. How can you determine this? All you have to do is experiment with your dog and introduce the idea. See how he or she reacts to you covering its crate.
Also, you should find out how much of the crate that your dog likes to be covered. To know this, try draping a blanket on the top alone, then try covering the top along with the sides and back.
By monitoring your puppy’s reaction, you’ll understand which situation suits it most. Oftentimes, a covered crate can grant your puppy a sense of calm and help it relax.
Usually, if your puppy is still new to its crate, chances are it might get a bit afraid of a cover. Therefore, you might want to wait until it’s comfortable staying inside first.
When your puppy has made a nice home out of its crate, you can give it another try. Still, you should do this gradually not to scare him or her off.
A dog that’s accustomed to its crate will most likely welcome this gesture. A cover can make the crate feel like a den or a special place where your dog can be at ease. In addition, the semi-dark environment that it provides can help your dog sleep better.
By now, you probably have a better understanding of your options. Yet, you might be wondering, why should I get a crate for my dog?
Why You Should Use A Dog Crate
Unlike what some people might think, crates aren’t made for locking your dog up. They shouldn’t resemble a prison. Instead, they should act as a safe haven where your dog can be as comfortable as possible.
In this section, we’ll give you more reasons why buying a crate for your dog is a great idea.
Essential for Housetraining Your Puppy
Potty training is one of the most important rules that you need to teach a new puppy. Crate training your dog can be the first step in that direction.
This is because puppies don’t like to soil the place where they normally sleep. Therefore, if your puppy learns to stay inside the crate from a young age, it should be able to hold its bladder for a while.
Using this technique, your puppy will most likely be able to wait until you take it outside to relieve itself.
[Related Article: What Is The Hardest Dog To Potty Train On Planet Earth]
Dogs Love Enclosed Spaces
The majority of dogs appreciate small spaces where they can relax and fall asleep. They should see their crate as protective shelters, especially if they’re dealing with anxiety or stress.
Let’s not forget that crates can keep a dog from feeling scared in case of troublesome situations. Things like thunderstorms or fireworks might cause it to freak out. Thus, taking shelter in a crate might be its only way to soothe its nerves.
Not to mention that, sometimes, dogs must stay in their crates if they’re recovering from a surgery or injury. In that case, if a dog isn’t crate trained, trying to keep it inside one might create additional stress. As a result, it can lead to a longer period of recovery.
Handy When You’re Traveling
Carrying your dog in a crate is convenient when you’re going on a vacation or taking your dog to the vet. .
The same goes for traveling by air since all pets must be contained during a flight. If your dog is crate trained, this shouldn’t concern you and it shouldn’t bother your furry friend as well.
Necessary in Case of an Emergency
Before you crate train your dog, you must picture all sorts of scenarios in your head to see your decision from a different perspective. Sometimes, natural occurrences like a tornado or a flood might require evacuation.
In these cases, a dog crate should make the process faster and easier. The owners will sweep their dog into it, then carry it along without missing a beat.
However, if the dog isn’t accustomed to staying inside the crate, the whole situation can be problematic. The dog will most likely panic from everything going on outside, and trying to keep it in a crate might raise its hackles even further.
13 Dog Crate Tips You Must Know
By now, it’s pretty clear why crate training your dog is a win-win idea. In this section, we’ll provide you with tips to make your dog’s time in its crate more enjoyable.
1. Keep It in a Quiet Place
The first rule you should consider following is to place the crate in a quiet area of your house. Keep it away from busy areas like the kitchen or hallways.
However, this doesn’t mean isolating your dog. It might lead to it feeling lonely and excluded, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.
Instead, the best spot it can be is in a corner of your living room. It should grant your dog the rest and sense of calm that it needs while still providing a nice view of your activity.
2. Encourage Your Dog to Like Its Crate
There are many ways that you can help your furry friend adjust to its crate. You should try your best not to make it feel like a cage, which might lead to anxiety and unhappiness.
Place a soft blanket inside the crate, especially if it’s one of your dog’s favorites. Having a familiar item with your dog should make it feel more at ease in its new home.
Also, you can provide your puppy with toys or treats to make its time inside the crate more fun. Additionally, make sure there’s some water in there, too.
However, it’s best not to put water inside the crate at night when you’re potty training your dog. This can make it easier for your dog to soil its sleeping place.
3. Put a Clothing Item of Yours Inside the Crate
This is another helpful idea that a lot of dog owners don’t know and a great way to help your dog adjust to its surroundings. An old t-shirt of yours should do the trick, just make sure that it has your smell all over it.
This tip can be soothing to your dog, especially if you’re asleep or away from home for a while. Since you’re probably their favorite person in the world, having your smell next to them should make it easier for them to relax.
However, make sure that you don’t keep it always with them. They might become dependent on it more than anything else.
4. Associate the Crate With a Special Gift
Sometimes, you might want to work a bit harder to make your dog admire its crate. In this case, you can rely on its intelligence and its ability to create links between things.
How can you use this
It can be as easy as associating the crate with a special item that gets your dog excited. You can choose your dog’s favorite treat and only give it to him or her once they step into the crate.
Also, you can buy your puppy a brand new toy and let him play with it for a little while. After that, you could show it to him during his time inside their crate.
This way, your dog’s mind will make links between these dear items and the crate. After a while, your dog should begin to like their little den more.
5. Use a Fluffy Toy With a Puppy
We understand that crate training a puppy can be a bit harder than training an older dog. Puppies tend to be more enthusiastic or even stressed if they’re still new to your house.
We suggest that you bring your puppy a soft, fluffy toy to keep him company inside his crate. However, make sure that your puppy is under 3 months. This way, it won’t be able to chew or shred its toy.
If your dog is older than 3 months, you can still keep a soft toy with it under your supervision. This way, you’ll limit the risk of your dog choking on its part.
6. Never Use the Crate As a Punishment
Our sole objective here is to help your dog love its crate and use it as a comforting space. If you start using it as a punishment, it will start to resemble a prison for your dog.
You can imagine how that might feel to your best friend. This could lead to anxiety, stress, or even depression.
Generally, punishing dogs this way isn’t the wisest idea. There are better alternatives in case you want to discipline your puppy such as withholding treats.
Never yell or shout at your dog. This will leave it confused and might cause it to fear you, which isn’t the type of bond you want to have with your canine buddy.
7. Don’t Leave Your Dog Inside the Crate for Too Long
Even though crate training is essential, keeping your dog inside an enclosed space for a long while might have negative effects.
First of all, this leaves no room for physical activity. As you know, your dog needs to move and work its body muscles or else it’ll put on more weight.
Second of all, if your dog is crated for the entirety of the day, it will have no interaction with humans or other pets. This lack of social skills can lead to anxiety or destructive behavior.
Make sure to let your puppy out after 3-4 hours at a time. At this age, puppies won’t be able to control their bladders for more time. The same rule applies to older dogs who are still new to housetraining.[Related Articles: Do Dogs Experience Pain While In Heat And Other FAQs]
8. Choose the Right Crate Size
To provide maximum comfort for your dog, make sure that you pick the perfect crate to put it in. Not only should you consider its dimensions, but also the materials it’s made of.
You’ll find three crate types to choose from:
- Plastic crates
- Fabric crates with a solid frame
- Metal pens
Of course, these crates vary in price and features, so you’ll want to make your decision based on your budget.
As for the size, it’s essential that your dog is comfortable inside its crate. It should be able to stand up and move around without feeling contained.
Also, if you own a puppy, pick her a crate that should suit her size when she becomes an adult. This way, you’ll refrain from having to buy another one when she grows up.
9. Never Use Force
One of the ABC’s of teaching your dog anything is to never force it into doing what you want. Instead, use subtle gestures to achieve your goals, working on your puppy’s subconsciousness.
The first thing you should keep in mind is that crate training requires time and patience on your part. You can start by putting the crate in the same room as you two are without even suggesting that your dog go inside.
Then, you can raise the bar every once in a while.
10. Take Things Gradually
Let your puppy get familiar with the crate’s appearance in the room first. You can serve meals or treats right beside it and sit beside your dog while it eats.
Later, you can place one of its favorite toys inside the crate and watch your dog fetch it. After that, your dog will go in and come out more easily.
After a while, your little buddy will get inside the crate and lie down of its own accord. Again, let it go as it pleases until the crate is no longer something to fear.
Eventually, you can try closing the door with your pet inside. In the beginning, stay for a few minutes beside the crate, then leave. Gradually increase the amount of time that your dog spends inside until it becomes possible for you to leave the house.
11. Use the Power of Food
You can work on your dog’s love of food to create a nice bond with its crate. If your dog is still scared of getting inside, you can serve his or her meals beside the pen.
After that, you can put their food outside the crate when they become accustomed to staying inside. Later, when they’re more comfortable to remain for long periods of time in the crate, place the food bowl inside, too.
Remember not to close the door until your dog is ready. This can last for a couple of weeks or a month.
[Related Article: Is Gravy Train Good for Dogs and What Are Some Healthier Choices]
12. Be Complimentary
Dogs respond to positive vibes and encouragement way better than yelling or shouting. According to studies, using positive reinforcement can improve your dog’s behavior.
How to do this? Shower it with compliments in a soothing voice when it does something that you like such as entering the crate. Therefore, your puppy will be encouraged to repeat the things that pleased you to gain your approval.
13. Keep the Crate in Your Bedroom at Night
The last tip that we have is that, once your dog is a bit settled inside its crate, you might want to keep it next to your bed. This way, your dog won’t feel abandoned or left out.
Also, your presence in the same room should be reassuring and calming enough to help it sleep. As a result, your dog should learn to sleep inside the crate with no problems.
To Wrap It Up
Should I cover my dog’s crate? In most times, you probably should, just make sure that your dog feels comfortable enough in its crate before introducing the idea.
The golden rule when trying to teach your dog something is to stay patient, positive, and persistent. Eventually, you’ll most likely be rewarded with a disciplined good boy and a nice bond between the two of you.