Crate training is temporary confinement of your puppy or dog, to a special and protected area (a crate or kennel). Crate training is a wonderful way to housebreak your dog, by teaching them to control their eliminations. Dogs should not eliminate where they sleep, so long as they are given the chance to relieve themselves in the appropriate place, and at frequent enough intervals.

By confining them temporarily to a small area, your dog will restrain themselves from eliminating. This will teach them that when you let them out and take them to their designated spot, that this is the time to eliminate. Crate training is not only useful for housebreaking, but also acts a source of comfort for your dog.

Most dogs enjoy having a small space of their own, which can act as their den. For this reason, crates can be very effective when dealing with separation anxiety. Additionally, crates are useful to keep your dog from being destructive such as chewing on shoes or furniture, and can keep them away from potentially dangerous things in the house.

Crates are also very beneficial to have when traveling, whether it is by plane or car. Also, when taking your dog to a pet-friendly hotel, they will most likely need to be crated while staying in the room.

It is best to give your dog a crate throughout their whole life, so they can always have a safe place to rest. Once your dog is trained, you can leave the door open, or take it off, as some models allow. You will find that most dogs really enjoy being in their crates, when used properly.

The most important thing to remember is to NEVER use the crate or confinement space as a punishment. By doing this you will confuse your dog, cause them unrest, and effectively sabotage their training. Also, crates should not be used to lock your dog up and leave them for extended periods of time. This can effectively punish the dog should they have to relieve themselves in the crate. Dogs are meant to be companions for us, so we should treat them as such.

Sally Canela has been training dogs for more than 15 years, and specializes in training dogs rescued from shelters with behavioral problems.

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