Your Guide to Crate Training Your Dog

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Your Guide to Crate Training Your Dog

For centuries, humans and dogs have lived together. The relationship between these two species is uniquely affectionate, having given rise to expressions such as “a dog is a man’s best friend”. In modern times, dogs are hugely popular pets, found in countless homes around the world.

Many dog owners use crates to train their dogs. Crate training is an extremely effective way of raising a well-behaved dog. It can create a familiar, comfortable “den” for the dog, where it feels safe and at home. However, crate training is an extremely delicate matter. It must be done exactly right if the desired effect is to be attained.

It is the intention of this guide to inform the reader about crates, and about how to use them when training a dog. Further, this guide will demonstrate why eBay, the online auctioning platform, is the perfect place to shop for a crate.

The Crate

When crate training a dog, the first and most important element required is the crate itself. A crate is essentially a box with a door, in which the dog can be confined. Some opponents of crate training believe that it is cruel to keep a dog in a cage, and can be distressing, however, the overwhelming evidence and strength of opinion supports the idea that, if trained in the right way, a dog’s crate becomes a secure, safe and comforting “den” for the dog. This section will detail the main different features of dog crates.

Size

Usually, a dog will sleep in its crate, so the crate must be long enough for the dog to lie down. It must also be tall enough for the dog to stand up. However, crates are not used as toilets, as this can be very messy and unhygienic. To this end, the crate must be large enough for the dog to turn around, but no larger, or else the dog may begin to use one end as a toilet, before retreating to the other end. Before buying a training crate, it is a good idea to measure the dog for which the cage is intended. This should provide some indication of how large the crate needs to be. If the dog is a puppy, there are numerous resources on the internet which should be able to inform the dog owner of how large their dog is likely to grow.

Crates are measured in inches. The following is a table of the most common sizes, and the kinds of dogs which usually fit inside them. (Note: this is a rough guide; it is still a good idea to measure the dog to determine exactly which size of cage it is a good idea to buy.)

Crate Size (length x width x height)

Dog

24” x 18” x 20” (S)

Terriers, Corgis, Spaniels

30” x 21” x 23.5” (M)

Bulldogs, Border Collies, Daschunds

36” x 24” x 26” (L)

Dalmatians, Retrievers, Huskies

42” x 28” x 31” (XL)

Afghans, Boxers, Greyhounds

48” x 31” x 34” (XXL)

German Shepherds, Great Danes, Rottweilers

When deciding which size of cage to buy, the future growth of the dog should also be factored in. Many owners will purchase their dog as a puppy. This allows them to establish a close bond with the dog, as well as having the pleasure of training it. This means, however, that the dog will grow during the course of its ownership. This causes a problem with crate training; which size of crate should be bought? Whilst on the one hand, it would be extremely costly to buy a new crate for every stage of the dog’s development, it is also true that a dog cage cannot be too big, or else the dog is liable to start using it as a toilet.

The solutions to this are as follows:

  • Buy several sizes of cage – this option is easy, as the dog merely needs to be transferred into the new cage when it outgrows the old one. However, this option is expensive.
  • Block off the end of the cage – this is the more practical and cost-effective option. Simply close of the portion of the cage in which you do not want the dog to go.

Once the required size has been identified, other features must be considered.

Portability

Some crates will be portable, allowing for easy transportation of your dog. There are two ways in which dog crates can be made portable. These are as follows:

  • Carrying handle – a carrying handle is located on the top of the dog crate. It allows for the owner to pick the crate up as it is. The dog can be stored inside the crate whilst it is being carried, allowing the owner to transport the dog easily.
  • Collapsible crates – some crates can be simply folded away. This makes the crate easy to carry or to store in a vehicle whilst the dog is being moved. This has the advantage of being space-efficient, but is usually only an option if the dog is well-behaved outside of the crate in vehicles and in public. 

Material

There are three commonly used materials in the construction of dog training crates. The following is a list of these materials, along with brief explorations of their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Metalmetal crates consist of a solid bottom shelf (sometimes made of plastic rather than metal), and solid metal bars for the walls and ceiling. The bars are usually steel, providing strength and resilience. They are normally arranged in a chequered pattern, with horizontal as well as vertical bars, which adds structural security. These cages are usually collapsible, allowing for easy transportation, as well as being sturdy. They also provide good visibility, allowing the owner to monitor the dog, and to reassure the dog that the owner is still present. These features combine to make them the favourite “home” crate.
  • Plasticplastic crates are solidly built. They are not collapsible, and the only part which the dog can see out of is the door (which is often made of metal bars). Whilst it is true that they are the strongest and most protective, dogs can often feel confined in plastic crates, so they are generally only used for transportation, such as in an aeroplane, or to the vet’s.
  • Fabric – some dog crates will be made of fabric, stretched over a collapsible, rigid frame. These are lightweight, and supremely portable. They are usually used to provide a home for a dog whilst on holiday, when taking the metal cage is too impractical.

Additional Features/Extras

There are numerous extra features which may be included in a dog crate. These include:

  • Beds – soft, comfortable areas for the dog to sleep. These can really help the dog to be comfortable in its cage environment.
  • Bowls – these can be kept inside the cage, and allow the dog to eat and drink from within their home.
  • Rollers – for removing excess/shed fur from a dog.
  • Sloping design – some crates will be shaped specifically for car boots, for those owners who need to drive with their dogs frequently.

The Method

It is important to use the correct method when crate training a dog. If it is done incorrectly, the dog may end up fearing and resenting the crate. There are a few key points to remember:

  • Get the dog interested in the crate – allow the dog to explore the crate of its own free will. If it does not show interest, throw treats or toys into the crate to encourage the dog to explore it. The dog must feel comfortable in the crate. Use a happy and enthusiastic tone of voice.
  • Never use the crate as punishment – this will cause the dog to fear and dislike the crate, which means it will whine and cause trouble when inside the crate, which is obviously the opposite of the intended effect.
  • Teach the dog where to “eliminate” – the dog must not only be discouraged from defecating and urinating in areas of which the owner does not approve, but encouraged to do so in the areas of which the owner does.
  • Feed the dog in the crate – if the dog begins to associate the crate with food, it will be more likely to find the crate an appealing and comfortable environment.
  • Slowly lengthen the crating period – don’t lock the dog in the crate for long periods of time from the start; it is better to gradually get the dog adjusted to being in the crate.
  • Crate the dog when leaving the house and at night – this will get the dog to eventually consider the crate its default, resting position.

How to Buy a Crate for Training Your Dog on eBay

When looking for the right crate with which to train a dog, there is no better place than eBay, the famous and respected auctioning website. Not only does eBay sport a tremendous selection, but it is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, resulting in an easy and trouble-free shopping process.

Navigating to the dog crate section is a simple matter. On the eBay homepage is a list of the main categories. Choosing Home & Garden from this list opens a new list, featuring the pet supplies option. Select this option, followed by the Dogs sub-category, and finally the Carriers & Crates sub-heading. The item listings in the centre of the page should now display only the relevant kinds of items. Alternatively, the search bar can be located near the top of the page at any point, and provides a quicker form of navigation for those familiar with its usage.

Once the item listings are displaying the appropriate information, the search can be further refined using the filtering options found in the page’s left hand margin, including price, condition and seller’s location. The items listed can be clicked on, which takes the user to the item’s individual information page. On this page, further details of the product can be found, along with information about the seller (such as user ratings and feedback), and the option to contact the seller directly with questions. Previous user questions are also shown, along with the seller’s answers.

The “auction” option allows the user to bid on the product, whilst the “buy it now” option allows the product to be bought for a fixed price.

This combination of helpful website design and a massive pool of sellers and products make eBay the ideal online location in which to shop for dog training crates.

Conclusion

Training and raising a dog can be an immensely rewarding experience, and using a crate is an excellent way to facilitate this training, as well as a great place for a dog to feel comfortable and safe. This guide intended to explore the features of crates, the methods of crate training, and the uses of eBay when shopping for a crate. When shopping for a crate, remember:

  • Size
  • Material
  • Portability
  • Additional features

Follow the crate training advice closely in order to achieve the best results. This guide concludes that eBay is an excellent means of buying a dog training crate, thanks to its wide selection and user-friendly interface.

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