Crate training is an excellent way to help you manage your German Shepherd. There are, however, several pros, cons and misconceptions when it comes to crate training. Used properly, German Shepherds love their crates.
I’ll cover pros, cons & myths below but the two most important points I can make are:
- Crates should ALWAYS be a safe place.
- Crates should NEVER be used as a punishment.
Benefits of Crate Training:
- Crate training can greatly assist with potty training (be sure to see the myths section)
- Crates are great for transporting your dog if you do not want them all over the vehicle
- Crates provide your dog with a “den” area, and when used properly, your Shepherd will likely hang out in the crate with the door left open if they desire some quiet time.
- Crates are great for nighttime when you’re asleep.
Crate Training & Potty Training!
Tragically, several websites state that crates help with potty training a puppy because it will help teach them bowel and bladder control. THIS IS INCORRECT.
The truth is crates DO help with potty training and they will hold it as long as they can although this may only be 5 or 10 minutes after supper. They physically do not have the capacity in their body to magically “hold it”.
Example of a 14 week old puppy: If puppy already pooped and peed after dinner, had a nap, played, peed again and is mostly empty and goes into their crate for a few hours at night when you go to bed, when they wake up they are going to have to pee immediately. At this age they may be able to sleep for 4 – 6 hours. When you open the gate, run them or carry them outside immediately, and praise them if they make it outdoors.
If your puppy or dog pees or poops in their crate you have failed them; be sure that never happens again.
Puppies, even at birth, have a natural desire to keep their living area clean.
Remember, their bladder is tiny, sticking them in the crate will not make them hold it. Tey will simply pee in the crate and think the crate sucks.
I’ve had puppies fight over who gets to use their crate. It should be a happy place.
Cons of crate training:
- Never leave your Shepherd in their crate for too long.
- Always be sure your canine is able to spend time with you and your family.
- Never use the crate as a punishment.
- Be sure the crate is large enough.
- Too much time in the crate is terrible for your dog physically and emotionally.
Selecting a crate:
Go here to see our article on selecting a crate for your German Shepherd.