Weaning Your Dog Off the Crate
Crate training is an excellent training tool. Weaning your dog off the crate later can be tricky. Crate training is indispensable in helping with housebreaking your puppy and preventing destructive behaviors. Using a crate has many benefits. However, at some point in your dog’s life you will probably want to give them a bit more freedom. Weaning your dog off the crate too early can also have a few dangers if you and your pup are not prepared. Below are some helpful hints for you and your dog to wean off the crate.
Know Your Dog
If your dog is like many, he loves his crate. It’s his bed, his safe place. When it’s time, some dogs can wean off the crate fairly early. While others are naturally more curious or simply are not ready to be left uncrated until they are a bit older. You know your dog and his personality best. If your dog is overly curious and likes to get into things, crating can keep your dog safe and out of trouble. Also, until your dog if fully housebroken, it is wise to continue use of their crate. If you are ready to trust your dog to behave in your absence, it may be the right time to start the transition away from the crate.
Even if you are confident in your dog’s ability to handle his newly acquired freedom, you still need to take the process slow. Do not suddenly remove the crate and let your dog roam freely around your house for several hours. Your dog is used to being crated, and this sudden freedom could make him nervous. While we think of the crate as confinement, your dog probably considers his crate a den and safe haven.
Rather than giving your dog the run of your whole house, designate an area where your dog can be confined with a gate or door. Clear this room of any items you want to protect and anything that could harm your dog. Start by leaving your dog alone in his area for just a few minutes. Gradually increase the time he is left alone. As your dog gets used to his freedom, you can gradually allow him access to other areas of the house.
Provide Distraction and Comfort
Remember that your dog most likely appreciates the security of his crate. To help keep your dog happy and relaxed, provide a treat-stuffed toy or other enticing distraction before you leave. A special blanket or bed can help your dog with the transition and help him create a new den outside his crate.
Do you have questions about weaning your dog off the crate, or questions in general? Contact us and let us know how we can help.