How long should you crate train your dog?

Gary: How long should you crate train a dog?
I have 10 month old Morkie. My wife and I leave him in the crate whenever we can't supervise him. We both feel that he will destroy the place unattended. I asked my vet and trainers at petsmart the same question and they told me that you can leave him in the crate as long as you want because the dog will associate the crate as his "home". On the other hand I have people who tell me that leaving a dog crated can cause mental issues. Not sure what to do.

morkie photo

Photo Credit: Jemimus/Flickr
Answers and Views:

Answer by Dogs Are My Favourite People
i have a 13 month old labrador who has a crate for her bed. she loves it and takes herself to bed at 10pm every night.

To do that during the day aswel would be too intense/ unfair.

i would personally creat a morkie room or at least a section of room. space where she can sleep, play etc. just make sure that within that space/ room she has there isnt anything to destroy.

i feel i have to say though that this should have been thought about before you had puppy

Answer by esmerelda

You aren`t saying how long you crate this pup.  If you`re gone 10 hours a day and then put him in the crate at night as well, how well-adjusted do you expect him to be?  Dogs are social animals.  Your dog – regardless of breed — will not learn how to behave well if he's sitting in a crate 20 hours out of 24.  Puppies, like children, learn by interacting with you.  If you feel guilty about how much time the pup is spending in the crate… it's probably too much.

I`ll give you a hint about Petsmart:  They are in business to SELL PET SUPPLIES.  I heard one idiot tell a mother with two toddlers that a ferret was a good pet with little kids — NOT.   Sales people say what they think a customer wants to hear.   A trainer who says you can leave a dog in the crate as long as you want is not a trainer I would trust with my dog.

Answer by Bel

I did not crate train my dogs. I have a gate on the door way of my kitchen. I used that to keep them in the kitchen area when I was not home. They potty trained this way also because they didn't want to use the bathroom on that flooring. Guess it would splatter when peed on. lol

I would give them a room to be in when you are gone for long periods of time during the day. You could still use the crate to potty train if you like when you are home like the one person said. I did the same with the kitchen gate, take them out and if they don't use it then put them back in the crate/gate, take them out again till they potty outside. I never put down a puppy pad or anything in the kitchen with them though because I didn't want to teach them that it was ok to use it in there.

Honestly I can't see a Morkie, byb btw, being able to destroy a house….

Answer by owl

crates are meant as a training tool and not where a dog lives … so for when a pup is a pup and in puppy chew stuff apart stage, and while housebreaking, but when a dog is trained, there is no reason to remove the crate entirely but just remove the door … i crated my dog till her first birthday but by the 8th month i could put her in, close the door but not latch, and she would still be in the crate when i got home … but when she turned 1 the door came off … why do you think your pup would destroy stuff, it is almost full grown ??? if the dog is destructive outside the crate, it requires training outside the crate but by a year old puppies are usually out of their destructive phases and are housebroken … if your dog is both, try closing the door and no latching and see what happens …

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  1. Read More Books! says

    First of all, what is a "Morkie?" Can't you just call it a Maltese/Yorkie mix? It's not a breed and calling by it's designer-dog "breed" name is only encouraging more dinky mutt creations. I digress.

    I have to say I completely disagree with both your vet and your "trainer." Crate training is meant to be a GATEWAY to house-training and an AID to potty training. Not a permanent solution. If you don't work toward the ultimate goal of being house-trained, you'll NEVER be able to trust your dog unsupervised! Yes, some dogs like their crate, so it's good to keep it around for escaping and sleeping, but you should still be working toward allowing your dog to earn freedoms.

    Extended years of proper "crate training" will not cause "mental issues." Some dogs mature faster than others; it all depends on the individual dog and the attentiveness of the owner. Whoever said that crating causes mental issues might mean that in terms of long periods of consecutive time, which of course, is abuse. I'm assuming you are aware that dogs should only be kept in their crate 1 hour per month of age (ie. 4 months=4 hours...etc) but NEVER exceeding 7-8 hours at a stretch. Your puppy should be able to hold his bladder for 8 hours by now, so you shouldn't have to worry about him when you go to work or anything.

    Does he still have accidents in the house when you're not looking or something? You say you "feel he will the destroy the place unattended." Why is that? Does he try to get into stuff? Does he chew furniture when you leave the room? Does he have plenty of chew toys and bones to play with? Have you ever tried leaving him unattended or at least to where he THINKS he's unattended?

    I really think that by 10 months old, your puppy should have some basic manners. Potty training should no longer be an issue, and he should no basic commands such as "come, sit, down, stay & leave it." You should be able to go to the bathroom without having to worry about him having an accident or chewing something bad. If so, I think it's about time you try leaving him for short intervals.

    What I have always done is allow the dog in 1 small area such as a mudroom or kitchen. Do NOT shut him completely in as that may make him anxious. Babygates are best so that the dog can still see out. Put his usual crate in the room with him in case he would prefer to nap or stay inside it. Provide plenty of toys, a Kong filled with treats/peanut butter, bones and water. If you're able, you may even want to set up a camera to see what actually goes on.

    Just start with very small intervals. Be sure the room is puppy-proofed and does not have anything tempting where he can reach it (houseplants, papers, books, towels, blankets...etc) Leave him in there for about half an hour the first time and gradually extend it if he does well. If he has an accident or does something bad, crate him for the next few days and try again. Once he's mastered whatever room you chose, open him up to a larger area and start the process again, carefully. You will have to puppy-proof your whole house for a while until he can be trusted. Just be sure to take it slow and back up a step if he makes a mistake. Most importantly, DO NOT try to reprimand him for something you come home to. If he makes a mess or did something bad when you were not there, just clean it up and take a step backward. Yelling in retrospect will NOT help, it will only make him nervous.

    I'm really disgusted that both of these 'professionals' told you that you can crate "as long as you want"...? What happens if the door doesn't latch properly on the crate one day? Or someone rushed out and forgot to put him in? No dog should be totally dependent to always be stuck in a crate. I would think that your vet and your trainer would want to encourage you to teach your dog appropriate behavior, not avoid challenges. I am hoping that maybe you just misinterpreted their advice to always allow the dog access to the crate. It's definitely time to start the process now if your dog is ready.

    Best luck

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