Learn How To Properly Crate Train A Dog

How To Properly Crate Train A Dog

crate train your dog

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.  If you crate train your dog 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.


cozy crate

Getting Your Crate Ready

When you crate train your dog, 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.

Proper way to introduce your dog to a crate

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.

Another great way to get your dog to enjoy his crate is to feed them in the crate (while keeping the door open).  Have him go inside and then eat his breakfast or dinner.

Begin Crate Training

After your dog is somewhat used to their crate, you can begin closing the door.  You will want to make sure he is settled and will not try to fight his way out of it when you are not home.
When you begin crate training with the door closed, have your dog stay inside for short amounts of time to test how they are.  Start with 5 – 10 minutes and gradually build on the time.  Don’t let their whining deter you.  Dogs are like toddlers, they are manipulators!  They know that crying can get them what they want.  The key is consistency.  A general rule of thumb for whining/barking dogs is to have them stay quiet for 3 minutes (or longer) straight before you take them out of the crate.  Otherwise, they are learning that whining and barking work.
If you give in, they will register that crying gets what they want.
Be strong, you can do it!

When To Call It Quits

If a dog cannot handle being locked up, he will do whatever it takes to break out.  This could mean, scratching incessantly, biting on the door/sides of the crate, manipulating the sides of the crate, etc.  All of these actions can pose just as much risk to your dog’s well being as leaving him un-crated; think broken nails, broken teeth, getting stuck between the wires in a metal crate, etc.  If your dog cannot be crated, try gating him in a puppy-proofed room where he won’t harm himself by trying to break free.

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”!

Crate Training – It’s a GREAT THING!

If this looks familiar, think about crate training your dog!

Crate training

Crate training your dog is an essential in puppy training and keeping your dog safe.  Dogs cannot think like a person and, therefore, can be a hazard to themselves!  Do you feel bad that your dog is locked up?  Don’t!  Having them crated keeps them safe.  And if they are properly introduced to a crate, they will enjoy having a space of their own and will seek it out, when they want to relax.
Do you feel bad keeping your dog safe from harm?  Absolutely not!  You would do anything to protect your dog and keep him safe.  Would you feel terrible if your dog seriously injured himself by eating something that is toxic for him?  Of course you would!  So when you think about crating your dog, just picture the safety and well being you are providing by giving them their own space where they can relax their body and rest their brain.

3 Reasons why Crate Training Your Dog keeps them happy and healthy!

1.  Potty Training
The biggest reason for crate training a dog is potty training.  The idea is to keep them in a crate that is sized perfectly to their body size so that they do not have an accident in their space.  Dogs have no problem going to the bathroom in your home, but they do not like having accidents in “their home!”  Your dog will learn bladder control with crate training and this will get them on a regular schedule, rather than just going whenever nature calls.  It really helps expedite the potty training process and makes everyone’s lives much better.
2.  Limits Destructive Chewing
Puppies are prone to chewing.  Crate training a puppy will restrict them from chewing inedible objects which ultimately keeps them safe.  If a dog is left home alone or without stimulation, he will take matters into his own paws and find ways of entertaining himself.  A favorite method of entertainment is chewing on things that are not supposed to touch!  Dogs can become destructive if bored or fixate on chewing things they shouldn’t, keep them safe by crating them.
3.  Provides Security
Most dogs sleep the majority of the day and, therefore, do not need the space of an entire house to take a nap.  If a dog has too much space, he may become anxious/nervous being left alone.  This type of anxiety known as separation anxiety can lead to destructive behavior.  Crating a dog with separation anxiety usually keeps them calm and provides them with a safe place to relax.

Types of Crates

Dog crates come in different sizes, colors, and styles. There are molded-plastic crates and the open-wire types which have a removable plastic tray on the bottom.  Soft-sided crates.  And even decorative crates that are made to mimic furniture.

Molded Plastic

For dogs who prefer a cozy space with less distraction, the molded-plastic would be the best choice. Just note that they are not able to be folded up so having room for a larger crate like this can be tricky.  And you are not able to divide a molded plastic crate into smaller sections for a smaller dog.

Wire Crates

Wire crates are the most popular because many of them fold up and are easy to transport and/or store in an out of sight location.  These crates come with metal dividers so that your puppy can grow into their crate.  You do not want to give a puppy too much space in their crate because if they have an extra inch or so, they will use it to do their business!

Soft-Sided Crates

Soft-sided crates are similar to the molded-plastic crates because they provide a more enclosed area that helps dogs to relax and be in a cozier space.  They are able to be folded up so they are similar to a wire crate as far as ‘putting them away’ and transporting is concerned.  However, the biggest difference is because it is soft-sided, dogs can easily break out of this crate, if they put their minds to it.  It is pretty much just fabric so if they keep scratching at it, they will eventually compromise the fabric and break free!  So they are not the best choice for a dog with separation anxiety.

Decorative Crates

Decorative crates are great if space is limited in your home.  They are made to look like furniture.  As a result, it is hard to tell that this is actually a dog crate in your living room!  Decorative crates are the most expensive, but to be expected since it is considered furniture.  Keep in mind, these crates usually do not have dividers so it would be best to get this for your dog, when they are fully grown.  And, of course, they are not able to be folded up.

What Size To Choose

The size of your dog should determine the size of their crate.  There should be enough room for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.  The crate is a place where your dog can relax, sleep, and basically just chill out.  It is not supposed to provide them with room to be rowdy.

When picking a crate, keep in mind the size your dog will eventually be (not their size at the time you get a crate).  A crate that comes with a divider is ideal for crate training a puppy.  The divider allows you to limit your puppy’s space and as they grow, the divider can be adjusted to give them more space.  The MidWest Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate is a great choice for puppies because the crate grows with them!

crate training

Don’t Use The Crate For Punishment

It is important to remember that whatever crate you choose, never use the crate as punishment.  Their crate should be their own private home where they feel comfortable to relax.  If you associate it with punishment, it bring about anxious feelings.  Make their crate comfy, cozy, and serene.  Both you and your dog will have peace of mind!

Personal Pet Care Is Our Business

Personal Pet Care with Wedding Concierge Services

PERSONAL Pet Care is our business.  As a result, Muddy Paws loves your pets too much!  In many instances business is business and you take the emotion of out things.

At Muddy Paws, this is NOT the case.  We are so ingrained in our customers’ lives and it is because of their pets.

Your pets are your children and as a result, we see it all.

The Beginning

Couples adopt a puppy and we get to help them with the potty training and introduce them to new experiences.

These same couples usually get engaged.

The engagements lead to marriage and we are lucky enough to be trusted with caring for their pets while they are partying at the wedding and/or relaxing on their honeymoon.

Down The Road

We see people have babies and offer advice for how to introduce their dog to the newborn.  And we help out with getting the dog extra exercise while the new mom is busy with all the challenges a newborn brings.

We see couples separate, unfortunately.  And we are there to help with the additional care that single pet-parents handle themselves.

We see owners lose their jobs, but we also see them find an even better job down the road!

Towards The End

And unfortunately, we also experience the worst part of this business – when the pet passes away.  It is by far, the most difficult part of our job.

Snuggling cat & dog - pet sitting

We see so many stages of each family’s life and are with them all the while.  We feel like we are an extension of their family.  And that their pet is one of our pets.  It is so difficult to lose them and we truly feel the pain.

It’s Not Just Business

Our Muddy Paws team is like an extension of your family and we take your pets under our wing and treat them like our family.  We get so attached to our furry friends.

So it is not just business, at Muddy Paws, Personal Pet Care is our business.

5 Reasons You Should Hire A Dog Walking Service

Professional Dog Walking Service

We all know that exercise is great for the human health, and the same goes for dogs too.  Most people take their dogs out for a walk, just for relief breaks, but they fail to realize the benefits of walking their dog for exercise and their dog’s health.  In today’s world, there are so many reasons why dog owners don’t have the time to take their dogs on extended walks; busy schedule, personal health reasons, or just wanting to relax after a long day at the office!

If you are guilty as charged, you should consider a hiring a professional dog walking service such as Muddy Paws to help you care for your dog – we won’t judge!  Let a us make your dog’s life better, it will make you feel SO MUCH better, I promise.  Whatever your schedule requires, there is someone who can help you walk your dog, when you are not able to.

5 Reasons You Should Hire A Dog Walking Service:

1. Improved Physical Health
This is a no-brainer.  An overweight dog suffers from heart, breathing and muscle ache problems.  However, a healthy dog is fit and agile, with strong lungs and muscles.  A dog walking professional will provide your dog with regular exercise that’ll help improve their overall physical health.  Walking is a great form of exercise that boosts cognition and memory retention.  It also helps to reduce: high blood pressure and depression, eliminates the risk of diabetes and improves general well being.  And it is a low impact activity which isn’t harsh on joints.

2. Mental Health
Dogs are intelligent animals and just like humans, a dog who isn’t utilizing their brain, will not perform at their peak ability.  When a dog has a daily walk outside of his property, he has a larger opportunity to engage his mind.  A dog walking service gives your pet the opportunity to stimulate his brain and to experience new smells, sounds, and sights.

3. Channels Excess Energy Appropriately 
Think destructive behavior…like your brand new couch that your dog chewed to pieces!  As much as you blame your dog, it really might be your fault.  Dogs are like children.  If they don’t have anything constructive to do, they usually take matters into their own paws.  A hyperactive dog can be fixated with digging, destructive chewing, and unnecessary barking.  They see those activities as a way of releasing their excessive energy.  Dog walking provides a structured (not to mention fun!) way of draining excess energy and helps eliminate destructive behavior.  It is a great and healthy outlet for burning excessive energy.

4. Social Development
When a dog is taken for a walk regularly, the dog walker has the opportunity to show your dog the world.  Well, maybe the neighborhood, but to a dog, that is more than enough!  Dogs can experience all new smells, fire hydrants, utility poles, trees – the word (aka neighborhood) is their urinal!  And if you were to hire Muddy Paws Dog Walking/Pet Sitting for your dog walking needs, your dog would be able to walk with other dogs.  Imagine the stimulation he will get by walking with friends with the same interests?  He will truly improve his behavioral and social development!

5. Helps with weight control
A chunky dog is super cute, but the reality is that an overweight dog is not a healthy dog.  We know you love your dog and feel the need to spoil him with extra treats all the time.  We get it.  We are dog lovers and do the same with our own dogs.  The best way to combat the calories is to burn them!  Eating healthy and providing frequent exercise is the perfect formula to keep your pet in tip-top shape without sacrificing the treats!

“The Dog Isn’t Gonna Walk Himself”

The truth is that dogs cannot be held responsible for their health.  It would be great for our dogs to run around all day and get all the exercise they need while we are at work, but without someone to play with them, they usually take an 8-10 hour nap instead.  And as soon as they hear you drive up the street, they perk up and wait (impatiently) by the door for you to entertain them!  You walk in and find an excited doggie, wagging his tail, very energized and expecting to be entertained!

So here’s my simple advice- hire a professional dog walking service to walk your dog while you are at work because he cannot walk himself!

How Does Pet Care Relate To My Pet’s Nails?

Nail trims are essential for pet care

As pet owners we want to make sure we provide the best pet care so that our dogs and cats are happy and healthy. We love them so much and care for them as if they are one of our children.  We do our best to provide them with the necessities to live and we spoil them with all the extras that we can!  Part of our pet’s care consists of basic grooming; brushing, bathing, and keeping their coat under control.  The most important grooming task that some pet owners forget about is keeping your pet’s nails trimmed.

Did you know that keeping their nails trimmed improves their quality of life?  Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  But I can assure you that it does!

Just think about how uncomfortable your toenails can be if they get ‘too long’.  You can feel pressure on your toes with each step that you take.  The longer your toenails get, the more pressure and discomfort you feel.  Your pets are no different.

Long nails are not good for pet care
These nails are TOO long!

If your pet’s nails get too long, they can experience the following problems:

  • Nails can tear which can be painful and/or become infected
  • Pets can walk incorrectly due to long, painful nails which can strain their leg muscles and even strain their back
  • Nails can grow directly into the pads of their paws – can you imagine walking with a toenail that has grown into the bottom of your toe? OUCH!
  • Dewclaw nails can grow directly into their leg which is very painful and can cause our beloved pets to become aggressive
  • Pets can actually become clumsy as long nails can throw off their traction and cause them to slip

Knowing the problems that long nails can cause, you are probably wondering how long is too long?  Well, if you happen to hear clicking as your dog walks around the house, then their nails are likely too long.  Try pressing your dog’s toe so that the nail is fully extended.  If the nail curves beyond the toe pad, it’s too long.

If you see tears in your couch or curtains from your cat, those can be indications that your cat needs their nails trimmed.

What To Do About Long Pet Nails

The easiest way to avoid cutting your pet’s nails is if their nails are filed down naturally.  A great way to help avoid cutting your dog’s nails or stretch out the time in between trims is to take him/her on daily walks on a hard surface.  The benefits of taking your dog on a daily walk keep getting better and better!  If you don’t have enough time to walk your dog daily, hire a professional dog walking service such as Muddy Paws!  Muddy Paws provides dog walking in Woburn, Melrose, Medford, Lexington, and many more towns!  We offer a variety of walking services and have a convenient scheduling system.  Learn more about our services and get started today.

For cats, the best way to naturally wear down their nails is for them to use a scratch pad.  There are a variety of these products on the market for cats.  A customer favorite seems to be the Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy.  It seems that every cat we visit has this toy or something very similar!  If you are in the market for a new way to spoil your cat, try a scratch pad.

In conclusion, active dogs (and playful kitties!) tend to keep their nails at a healthy length as they wear them down on their walks, but most dogs do need regular nail trims.  And, unfortunately, the majority of dogs do not like having someone touch their nails, never mind with strange objects like a nail clipper or grinder!  Knowing what you can handle is very important.  Anyone can technically cut nails, but being overzealous or inexperienced can lead to big problems.  Don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals.  They are professionals for a reason; let them do what they do best.  If you are looking for a mobile nail trim, Muddy Paws can help you in that area as well.

Happy Trimming!