When Jackie first came home as a puppy (she is now almost 14 years old) I planned on adhering to all the “right” puppy principles. Our first night together, I had a crate with a nice pad ready for her bed time. However after 30 minutes of howling, barking and my crying, not much later Jackie ended up coming to bed with me. Fourteen years later she still sleeps with me! I also never crated Jackie when I went to work either. I felt so bad for the little bundle of fluffy fur being in a crate I allowed her to roam the house. BIG mistake! There were a few times when I came home to a very happy puppy that just destroyed everything she felt like destroying. Picture a 15lb puppy in a house that looked like a tornado just hit it. Today I relate this story to others. They look at Jackie now who is such a well behaved dog and laugh at me. I think in Jackie’s case she got the last laugh.
When we decided to get Miya I learned my lesson and decided to do the “right” thing and crate her from the beginning. Miya took to her crate without any problem. In fact to this day she goes in her crate just to get away from Meesha for a while. We made sure that we got a crate that would fit her size once she grew up, but had the ability to be made smaller while she was a puppy. You see dogs are clean animals. They will not defecate in their sleeping space. However if the crate is too big they will then be able to make compartments for sleeping and pooping. So make sure it’s the right size and also increase the size as the puppy grows. Knowing your breed or mixed breed potential adult size will help you in choosing the right type and size of crate. Our pick for a crate is Precision Pet – Great Crate. We like how you can expand its size and decide where the doors are located. The latch on the Precision Pet – Great Crate is a very good one since it’s harder for the dogs to open or prop up from the inside.
Doggie Play Pen
While I’m busy with my daily routine, I wanted to make sure that Meesha is somewhere safe and not getting into trouble. With this in mind we setup a doggie play pen in our kitchen. Meesha has plenty of space to play on her own and can still see our family. From this spot she is able to see everyone and feel that she is part of the pack/group as well. We made sure that Meesha had lots of things to keep her occupied such as toys and chew bones as well as a nice little dog bed to lie on. We also feed Meesha in this area (we did this with Miya as well) since it allows all the dogs to have their space while eating (not to mention having one or the other eat their food). Our choice was the Midwest Ex-Pen with MAXLock door. Meesha has plenty of room to move around the 16 square feet of enclosed area when it’s completely open, or we can arrange it to fit smaller areas in our home. Having a door on the pen allows for easy access for her to get in and out. We can even use it outside since it comes with ground anchors.
In the end, choosing to use a crate for your dog is the best thing you can do towards creating a safe and rewarding environment for your dog. In our case with each new addition of our dogs, it has become part of getting our home ready as well getting their new home ready for them.
If you have story about crating your dog, or perhaps a favourite brand or product let us know. We would be happy to hear your dog crate training story and look into the product.
Photo Credit: Cartoon courtesy of mydogsamson.com and Caring Hands Animal Hospital