Dog Crate Training
If you're like most people, you probably don't know that dog beds come in all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and are filled with a variety of materials. I know I didn't until I got in the business of selling dog beds.
I have since discovered a number of things about dog beds.
1) There's a lot more available than the 4-5 types of pet beds that you see in your local pet store,
2) All pet beds are not made in China. In fact, we only carry high quality, USA made dog beds at TheDogBedStore,
3) You can actually buy extra large dog beds for great dane sized dogs,
4) Buying a high-quality, long-lasting dog bed is cheaper in the long run, and
5) Dogs really will sleep in a dog bed that they like!
This post is dedicated to educating you a bit on what's available in the retail dog bed world. I welcome your comments and do keep me updated on any new discoveries.
Orthopedic beds have very thick memory foam fill, which is designed to support old joints or extra large dogs. There are various grades of memory foam on the market. Be sure to buy a dog bed that has medical-grade memory foam fill. Imitations will break down over time and your dog may end up bottoming out on the floor. One of our orthopedic dog bed manufacturers uses BioMedic memory foam that is guaranteed to never sag, flatten out, get lumpy or break down for the life of your pet.
Designer beds are luxuriously plush dog beds that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designer fabric choices. They’re a great option for those of you who are fashion conscious and you want dog beds to match your decor. In many cases you can also select coordinating blankets, sofa pillows and crate covers.
Flat pads or crate mat are as a must have for dog crates. Dogs that like to stretch out when they sleep also love mat-type beds. Mattresses filled with thick foam are a must for large dogs who will otherwise bottom out in low profile mats.
Nesting/snuggle beds are usually oval shaped and are similar to human beanbag chairs. They are often preferred by puppies, smaller dogs and by dogs that like to curl up when they sleep.
Bolsters beds have padded sides and a center cushion filled with foam and/or recycled materials. Bolster beds are often preferred by dogs that like the security of walls around them.
Donut-shaped beds are typical donut-shaped bolster beds with removable center cushions.
Waterproof beds are good for outdoor use and incontinent dogs. Most are made with super tough tear resistant fabrics.
Heated beds function like human heating pads. They ease the aches of arthritic dogs and dogs that are recovering from an injury or surgery. They can also be used for dogs that live in colder climates to maintain body warmth.
Cooled Beds function much like water beds. They provide great joint support, keep your dog cool, and require no refrigeration or electricity.
Travel beds are light weight and typically fold up to save space. Taking a dog bed with you on trips will provide a safe and secure place for pets that are anxious about traveling.
Cot-style beds provide a dry and cool spot for your dog to sleep. Their “hammock-like” effect evenly distributes the weight of your dog, which in turn results in less joint pressure. They are great on the patio, at the park, and for camping.
Hypo-allergenic beds are made of organic materials that are less likely to irritate dogs that are allergic to non-organic materials used to make most dog beds.
Dog Furniture is the latest craze. Yes, couches, sofas, ottomans and chairs made specifically for dogs!
Dog Crates and Puppy Playpens are great training aids for puppies and untrained dogs who exhibit undesirable behavior. Crate training my dogs was the best thing I ever did!
Dog car seats, barrier gates, and portable pet crates are the best way to keep your dog (and you) safe while traveling in your car. Many states have legislation in the works, which will require that you restrain all pets that travel in your vehicle.
In summary, there are so many speciality dog beds on the market these days, that I suppose it makes sense to have more than one dog bed. I know, we have several at our house.
Here are my ideas on crate training your puppy or dog. It's worked great with my two Dachshunds. They now love their rooms. Your comments are most welcomed!
Select The Right Crate
At the onset of crate training, you should buy a dog crate made of sturdy materials like aluminum or steel as your dog may attempt to escape by chewing on the crate. The crate should provide your pet with a full view of everyone so he doesn't feel isolated or shut out. Your can add a crate cover to the crate once your pet is completely comfortable in his new room. The crate should be just slightly bigger than your dog. You don't want to give him too much room or he may "eliminate" in a corner. If you have a puppy, buy a crate that comes with an expandable panel like the one provided in the Midwest iCrate. This will allow you to give your puppy more room as he grows. Add a comfortable machine washable crate mat to the crate and you're ready to go!
The Crate Training Process
Start by putting the crate in a “social “area of your home. You don’t want the puppy (dog) to feel separated from the rest of family. Put a soft blanket or safe toy that the dog likes in the crate. Bring the dog over and toss in a favorite toy or treat. You may also try feeding your dog in his crate. Encourage your pet, in a calm cheerful voice, to go get the item. Choose a fun command like “Go to your room”. Continue the process until your dog enters the crate on his own. Don’t shut the door. Allow your pet to freely walk in /out of the crate. This first step could take minutes or several days. Don’t force you dog into the crate. Be patient!Once your dog willingly enters his crate, begin feeding him in his crate. When he enters to eat his food, quietly close the door while he's eating. As soon as your dog finishes his food, praise him and open the door. Leave the door closed a few minutes longer with each subsequent meal until he's staying in the crate for ten minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the crate, it's imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, he will associate whining/crying with a way to get out of the crate.Once your pet is comfortable eating meals in his crate, it’s time to start leaving him in his crate at non-feeding times. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Give him your command to get in the crate. After your dog enters the crate, praise him, give him the treat, and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to ten minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the crate. Again, never let him out while he is whining/crying. Wait until he stops. Repeat this process several times a day. With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time you're out of his sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks. Be patient!
After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the crate. Don’t leave items that your dog has the potential to choke on (i.e., bones, rawhides, edible toys, etc.) when you leave the house. It is also a good idea to remove his collar if you leave the house. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact and leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key to avoid increasing his anxiety over when you will return. Take him out to eliminate immediately upon your return home. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so he doesn't associate crating with being left alone.
Dog Crate Training Tips
Key points to remember during the crate training process - 1) ALWAYS associate the crate to something your dog enjoys (i.e., food, treats, toys), 2) Remain calm – never scream, slap on the cage, or force your dog into the crate, 3) Be patient and train you dog in a series of steps. It can take days or weeks to crate train you dog depending on his age, temperament, and breed, 4) Too much crate time can cause your dog to feel trapped and frustrated. All day and all night is too much crate time!, 5) Puppies under 6 months should not be left in a crate for more than 3-4 hours at a time. They can’t control their bladders for longer periods of time.