Congratulations, you decided to crate train your dog!
You will not regret it, I promise. When you crate train your dog, it provides a sense of security for both your dog and you! The crate will become their “house” and it keeps them safe from their own devices. As a result, you will have peace of mind that they will not eat something that could do serious harm. When crate training is done correctly, everyone will reap the benefits.
How long can a dog be crated at a time?
There is no real answer to this, but as a general rule of thumb, you can estimate this to be as many hours as he is months old, plus one. Therefore, a 2-month-old puppy should be fine for approximately 3 hours at a time before needing a potty break. Of course, everyone is different and what they ate, when they ate last, how much water they drank & when will all factor into when they will need to take care of business. Don’t be afraid to change things that work for your dog’s schedule best.
The first thing you should do is make their crate comfy. Try getting a bed that fits well inside. Or you could try an old shirt or blanket that is folded up. This will provide warmth and will have your scent on it, making him feel secure.
Now that the crate is dog-ready, it is best to provide your dog with a pleasant experience from the beginning. The best way to get them acclimated is to toss treats or toys into the crate. They will be excited for yummy treats so they will be eager to go inside. Let them go in and out by keeping the door open while you are home.
When can I stop using the crate?
When you believe your dog has matured and will not eat you out of house and home, you can try weaning them off of the crate. My suggestion is to wait until they are at least 1 year old, preferably 2+ years old. Even though a 1 year old day will be potty trained, they still have chewing tendencies that can get them into trouble.
The best way to do this is to give them small doses of “freedom” and seeing how they are at each interval. Assuming things are fine, you can increase the length of time at each instance until you feel confident that things will be okay. Don’t be surprised, however, that after weeks of perfect behavior, you come home one day to a house that looks ransacked!
If your dog is still getting into things and cannot be trusted while home alone, keep him crated. It really is the best thing for everyone.
Just remember, a crate can provide peace of mind for both you and your dog. The old adage is true, “Better Safe Than Sorry”!