When to Stop Crate Training

You may find that your dog wants to sleep somewhere other than his crate as he matures.
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Crate training is a valuable tool when you are teaching your dog or puppy what you expect of him. While most dogs learn to love their crates, there will be a time when you may wonder if he can be left loose in the house.

He's Housebroken

You don't want to undo the work you have done housetraining your dog by letting him roam out of the crate too soon. He may go to some quiet corner and eliminate and, if you don't find it promptly and clean it up thoroughly, he will return to the scene of the crime. In addition to your dog doing his business outside reliably, you should also know when he will need to go out. This will give your pup the best chance of success while transitioning to being out of the crate.

Doesn't Chew

Whether his favorite target is your shoes or the phone charger, most puppies find chewing irresistible. Some outgrow this phase rather quickly, while others continue to chew into adulthood. As long as your dog shows an interest in chewing on anything other than his own toys, he should be kept crated when you're not available to watch him. You can help with a chewing problem by providing quality chew toys in a variety of materials. Don't give him old shoes, towels or stuffed animals as chew toys, because he will have trouble distinguishing between what he is allowed to chew on and what he should leave alone.

Not Anxious

Separation anxiety can be a real problem for many dogs. If your dog whines, barks or digs at the crate while you are gone, he may be suffering from separation anxiety. It may be tempting to let your dog stay outside of the crate to prevent this behavior, but if he is acting bad because he is upset at being left alone, you may come home to find the baseboards chewed, blinds torn from the windows or other destructive behavior he has never considered while you are around. Help him feel more comfortable by leaving an article of your clothing in his crate and spending plenty of time with him when you are home. Until the symptoms of separation anxiety abate, however, keep him crated while you are gone.

Mix It Up

There is no reason to go cold turkey on crate training. There are many times when it is helpful for your dog to be comfortable in his crate. Trips to the vet, traveling, occasions when you have company over and times when your pet is ill and needs to be kept quiet are all instances where it is valuable to have a dog comfortable in the crate. If your dog has a favorite spot he naps during the day, you may try leaving him out of the crate overnight. Leave the crate door open so he can go in if he wants. Try leaving him out of the crate while you're away from home for short periods of time before leaving him out while you're at work.

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