When someone mentions crate training their dog, most people automatically assume the person is talking about housetraining the pup using a crate. That certainly is one way to use a crate, but there are a lot of other benefits of crate training your pup.
If used properly, your Beagles crate can serve more than one purpose. It can be used as a training tool, sleeping area and even a transportation device. It’s not a necessity, but depending on your goals it could come in useful for you.
Dogs actually prefer sleeping in small enclosed areas because they feel safer. That’s why dog houses only have one small opening area for entering and exiting. So a crate could be a very good place for your Beagle to sleep and feel safe in. And if you’re worried about comfort, just lay down a soft blanket inside the crate for them to sleep on.
Sometimes you just can’t risk leaving a Beagle puppy home alone for an hour or two. If given the chance these little rascals can destroy and chew up a lot in that short period of time. So leaving the puppy in a crate, while you run out for groceries, is good way to keep your furniture safe.
Some may argue that locking up a dog in a crate while you’re gone is cruel, it’s actually not that bad if you don’t leave him stuck there for too long. And again, you will only need to lock the crate while they are still being trained. After they learn that they can’t chew or go potty indoors, you can leave the crate door unlocked at all times. That way they can sleep in there if they want or they can roam around the house and play with toys when they feel bored.
Not all dogs handle car rides too well. Having a “portable” bed that you can take with you in your car can be very useful, especially for those long rides. The Beagle will be able to sleep in their own bed and you will be able to drive in peace without worrying what your dog is up to.
Tips on Crate Training
The trick to successful crate training is making the spot appealing to your dog. His crate should never be used as punishment or as a place to paper train him. “Animals don’t like to mess where they sleep and relax,” says Anthea Appel, an animal naturopath in New York City. “Dogs forced to pee or poop when they’re confined may develop neurotic behaviors like poop-eating.”
1. Buy a crate that’s big enough
You don’t want it to be too tiny, otherwise the Beagle will have no leg room and will have to sleep in uncomfortable positions. Get one that’s not too large but has enough room for the dog to stretch his legs comfortably.
2. Respect his Crate
Don’t move it from room to room. Put it in a certain spot and leave it there. He needs to feel like it’s his own personal little spot that he can go to for comfort whenever he wants. Don’t mess with him while he is in there either. Otherwise he will look for another spot that he will feel more comfortable in.
3. Make it cozy
“I’ll often suggest dog owners create a kind of ‘wolf cave’ feeling in the crate,” says Appel. This means placing comfortable bedding inside and draping the outside with a blanket (leaving the front opening uncovered). A warm, dark spot like this will give your dog a sense of security.
4. Remove the door
Before you introduce the crate to your pooch, take the door off its hinges. This way he can peek in and explore without feeling he could be locked inside. Let him come and go as he pleases.
5. Tempt him with treats
Place a few goodies near the opening of the crate and just inside it to encourage your pet to wander in.
6. Have him dine out — then in
Another way to up your dog’s comfort factor is to associate the crate with meal times. Put your pup’s food dish nearby and serve his kibble there. If he eats his chow, slide it closer to the crate, with the goal of placing the dish inside. Move it each time, inching it toward the back of the cage. Close the door when he seems happily preoccupied with his meal. Once he’s eaten, open it back up to let him out.
7. Start slow
Once your pet is willing to go inside his crate and eat there, try leaving him in it for short stretches of time. Start by going into another room for a few minutes, working up to half an hour. Next, go on a quick errand — first for one hour, and then for two hours or more. An adult dog can stay in a crate for up to six hours. A puppy will be fine for three to four hours, according to the ASPCA. To keep your dog occupied in his crate, stock it with a variety of toys that he can safely chew.
8. Be an overnight success
Left unsupervised and unconfined during the night, some dogs really go to town chewing pillows and shoes. To help your dog feel comfortable in his crate overnight, place it in your bedroom so he can see you're there. As he learns to settle down and sleep, move his crate into the hallway, and then a nearby room and so on until you're able to leave the crate where you want it to be all the time (in a kitchen corner, for example).
9. Don’t let your canine get stir-crazy
Make exercise and play time a priority for your pet. “A good long walk every day, plus puzzles and other toys that stimulate the mind are great for staving off boredom — and bad behavior,” notes Appel. If you give your dog one-on-one attention when he’s not confined, as well as walks and play sessions, he may be more likely to sit calmly in his crate when you head out. “Remember, a tired dog is a good dog,” says Appel.