One of the primary uses of a dog crate
is as an aid in housebreaking. Wire crates are popular because of their versatility. They can be folded for storage or easy transport, and they're less obtrusive in the home than plastic dog crates.
Both puppies and adult dogs can be housebroken with the help of pet crate training. This is because dogs instinctively don't eliminate where they sleep. Puppies can't hold their bladders and bowels for more than three or four hours, so they shouldn't be expected to spend longer than this in a crate.
Housebroken adults can spend six hours or so in a dog crate comfortably, but should never be crated for eight hours or longer. A dog should never be crated for the majority of the day and night, even if it's not for longer than six hours at a time. This deprives the dog of necessary interaction and companionship with his family, and will result in psychological damage.
Most dogs come to love their pet crates. They like the privacy. They can just relax and sleep. And you have the peace of mind knowing that your dog isn't getting into trouble or disturbing the neighbours.
At first, let your puppy or dog explore the wire crate without your closing the door. Place it in a part of the house where there's lots of activity, such as the lounge room. It's a good idea to feed your dog's regular meals in the pet crate - with the door open at first, progressing to closing the door - to create a positive association in the dog's mind. Work up to a point at which your dog is spending ten minutes, quiet and calm, in the crate after finishing a meal.
Next, get your dog used to spending time in the pet crate, with the door closed, for short periods while you are home. Guide your dog in with a treat, using a command like 'Crate!' in an upbeat voice. If your dog is calm in the crate for 30 minutes or so while you are home, you can begin to crate him or her when you leave.
You should never let your dog out of the wire crate if he or she is crying, pawing at the door, or otherwise making a fuss. Wait for calm quiet; otherwise, you will be teaching your dog that making a fuss is the way to get the door to open. This often means waiting a bit after you arrive home before opening the door to the dog crate, because your dog will naturally be excitable at your return. This also sends the message that being in the crate isn't just a home alone thing.
Even after your dog is fully housebroken, your wire crate will continue to be valuable. You can use it in the car to keep your dog from distracting the driver, and keep her safe in the event of a collision. In the home, a wire crate can be used to confine the dog whenever you can't watch her or to keep her out from underfoot.
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