Everything You Need to Know about Dogs and Cages

Dogs have a natural instinct that makes them prefer safe, enclosed areas to take their naps undisturbed. In the wild, without a proper place to hide or live in, you become someone else’s meal. However, dog owners tend to believe that purchasing a cage for their dogs is as bad as any prison. Here, a matter of perspective is involved, meaning that it is very important how to use a crate. If it is properly introduced to a young puppy, it will become a refuge from the noise, activities, and a place to rest.

The Right Crate

Choosing the right crate shouldn’t be that hard. They do come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and materials, but the best ones are either plastic (perfect for airplanes) or metal. Plastic cages are often preferred for small breeds since they are compatible to use in the car and can be opened to use as doggy beds. Metal cages are suited to large breeds and they are really easy to store. Putting a soft towel or blanket on the floor of the cage will provide a great environment for dogs—warm and comfortable.


If the cage is large enough or has the right size, your dog might want to use it as a toilet. You can congratulate him when he’s done with a game or a treat. This is in order to teach him never to have another “accident” in the house through the use of the cage.

The Hard Part: Introducing the Crate to Your Dog

It really depends on how patient you are in achieving your goals, but there is a training process you and your pet have to follow to achieve the desired results in teaching your dog that his cage is not a bad thing. Note that it may take days or weeks, depending on the age and temperament. It does not happen instantaneously.

Place the cage in the most crowded area of your home and place a warm blanket inside, leaving the door open. While all the family is in the room, your dog will feel comfortable to explore it because they are curious. If it doesn’t work right away, do the following:

1. Feeding

Start feeding your dog his meals next to the cage or even inside. It will create a pleasant and friendly association between a full belly and the crate.

2. Practice

After having regular meals in the cage and showing no fear, try to close your dog inside for a short period while you are close to him. It would help to leave him something to do inside like toys and chewable snacks.

3. Chew Toys

Your crate will become your dog’s favorite place if you place inside chew toys or a flavored chew bone. Remember that these toys actually stimulate your dog’s mind and body being an excellent substitute for hunting by keeping him busy for hours. Dogs sleep a lot, up to 16 hours a day, so remember to make him work or play hard for the remaining 8 hours.

4. Alone Time

When your dog is used to the cage, you can place him inside when you leave the house but make sure to let him right back out once you return. During the first few nights, you can have the crate next to your bed so he can hear you and feel secure. After some time, try to move the location while your dog is sleeping so he can learn that it is ok to wake up alone in another place.

5. Time Spent in the Cage

Dogs, especially puppies, really need to be socialized and be surrounded by energy so try to keep them out during the day. It would be good to keep them in at night while sleeping and just a few hours during the day when you are away.

What Do You Do when Your Pet is Whining?

It might sound rough, but you have to learn to ignore it. The only good enough excuse to let a puppy go is if they need to pee and are not used to do it inside the crate. Another important matter is to check if the whining doesn’t come from an anxiety problem. In this case, it has to be solved by a professional trainer. Otherwise, you have to implement a rule: if your dog keeps quiet for more than 5 minutes, they are let out in order for them to learn that barking to be let out is not a solution.

There are still opinions that a dog cage is an undeserved punishment, but you should have in mind that a cage might come in really handy for both you and your dog if you learn to present it as a pleasant space. You can use the cage or a heavy-duty dog crate for time-outs, without fearing a cage-hate will be developed. The real punishment is the loss of freedom when your dog tries to go up and steal food from the dining table or destroying your furniture, shoes, or flowers. It should be enough for your dog to stay there for 3 minutes.

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