Crate training has often been misunderstood and misused. However, dogs naturally make dens and enjoy the security of a den or crate if properly introduced to it. The following are some tips for selecting a crate and properly introducing your new puppy or rescue dog to a crate.
The crate size is important. Your dog should have enough room to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably inside the crate. Most crate manufacturers have a size guide to go by if you are not sure. For example, this website lists Dobermans as needing an extra-large crate based on the average adult size.
Location of the crate is also important because dogs are social animals, and Dobermans especially prefer to be with their people. The crate should be located in an area where the dog can see, hear, and feel a part of the activity in your home. It is for this reason that some people opt for two crates, one in the bedroom and one in a family room or kitchen.
If you use a wire mesh crate that has a plastic tray in the bottom it can be noisy and make some dogs nervous about the crate. You can slide an old towel between the tray and the crate bottom to reduce the noise and prevent the tray from sliding around Placing towels, blankets, or a dog bed in the crate is okay, but don’t be surprised if these items get chewed up. Some dogs would never dream of eating their blankie, but others will chew on anything in their crate out of boredom, or anxiety, or because they don’t know any better. If the items you leave in the crate are eaten and not simply torn up it’s a good idea to not leave anything in the crate that your pet might be able to consume. Instead, you might consider leaving your dog with an “alone safe” toy like a Kong to help eliminate boredom or destructive chewing.
Keys to Success:
Never use the crate for punishment. Crating should be a positive event for your dog. Ignore whining, unless it is the “I need to go outside” whine. Most dogs will whine when you crate them, if you acknowledge the whine you reinforce the behavior. Never release a dog from a crate because he/she whined or barked. This teaches them that whining is how they get out of the crate.