Crate for an indoor dog kennel. When to get one?

Crates or transport boxes provide your pet with safety and comfort not only during car journeys. You can see them more and more often in households with dogs. What can be the reasons for buying a crate for a dog living in a flat? What doesn't belong inside and what, on the other hand, is essential?

Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety? Does he howl, bark or damage the furniture during your absence? Does he pee at home and mark his territory? First of all, we recommend consulting a professional. Other than the vet, you can also use the services of a dog psychologist. Sometimes just one visit is enough for the specialist to recognise the dog's problem. In an ideal situation, they will advise you on how to get rid of the specific bad habits. One such advice can be to teach your dog to spend time in a crate.

To start with, it may seem like a rather drastic solution, which, however, can result in not only your nerves being spared but it also provides your dog with a safe environment. Especially in the case of separation anxiety, the dog can be very restless. A crate can have a positive psychological effect. An indoor kennel can make the dog calmer and when alone, the animal usually sleeps instead of destroying things or feeling distressed. The key is not only to get the dog used to the crate but also to teach them to like it.

What should be in a crate and what, on the other hand, shouldn't be inside?

Your four-legged friend shouldn't be left alone for too long, whether in a crate or outside of it. Dogs are fixated on human presence, therefore a longer absence can be stressful. It is necessary to ensure regular walks to avoid kidney damage. Before you leave your home, you must provide your dog with access to fresh water and, if necessary, food. There must be enough space in the crate for the dog, the dog's bed and food and water bowls. Don't forget to put the dog's favourite toys inside as well. 

The crate shouldn't be too big either. If it's more like a kennel, the dog might not feel safe enough inside. Make sure that the dog has a good view. Never place two or more dogs in one crate. Don't use the crate too often. Treat the crate as the dog's special place that serves as his hideaway and where he can take his treats, e.g. a bone. The crate will then fulfil its purpose and the dog will take to it. Over time, it should help the dog cope with not having his owner nearby.

How to teach your dog to enjoy staying in a crate?

It's the same as teaching them anything new. Never force them. Start slowly, let your dog get to know his new den. Take advantage of their curiosity by placing his favourite toy inside. Reward him every time he goes in. The dog will connect the reward with the crate and will not feel nervous when inside. In the next phase, place the dog's bed inside and watch his reaction. If he goes in to lie down, you've made it. At first, shut the dog in only for a few minutes. Slowly increase the intervals of his stay. Every dog is different but on average a dog should get accustomed to a crate within five days.

In case you're not sure about your dog's reactions, do consult a professional. His behaviour can be recorded for example on a mobile phone. 

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