Tired of cleaning up behind your little Chihuahua girl? It may be time for a crate, which works well for training your dog even if you feel terrible about putting her into it. Rest assured you aren’t being cruel if the crate is the right size for her.
If you buy a crate from a reputable pet store or crate supplier, you can follow the size directions for a Chihuahua. A crate that is too big for the dog is less effective for crate training, because your dog is likely to eliminate in one corner and spend her time in another part of the crate. This doesn’t teach her to wait until you take her out.
A crate is too small if your dog is unable to stand up fully, lift her head to regular standing position, turn around or lie down comfortably. If you buy a crate before the dog is fully grown, it could be difficult to predict what her adult size is going to be, and you might end up with a crate that is too small. This will prevent her from being comfortable and could cause behavioral problems such as chewing, barking or whining. The Humane Society of the United States recommends renting a crate until your dog reaches adulthood to avoid this problem occurring.
To make sure your Chihuahua is comfortable in her crate, you need to identify the purpose of the crate training and how long you intend her to keep her in it. For potty training, she only needs to spend short periods of time in the crate. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers recommends a crate of 18 inches by 18 inches for dogs weighing less than 24 pounds, or 18 inches by 24 inches for dogs up to 30 pounds.
The recommended crate sizes are suitable for travel or potty training. If you plan to leave your Chihuahua in a crate while you are at work, consider buying a crate large enough to give her a bed in one corner and a bowl of water, with enough room to move around freely. She will find this far less stressful than being confined to a small space for a long period. A puppy between 8 and 10 weeks old should not be in a crate for more than 30 to 60 minutes, while you can crate an adult dog for up to 8 hours with a break in between, according to the ASPCA website.
Tracey Sandilands has written professionally since 1990, covering business, home ownership and pets. She holds a professional business management qualification, a bachelor's degree in communications and a diploma in public relations and journalism. Sandilands is the former editor of an international property news portal and an experienced dog breeder and trainer.