Crate training is a common part of a dog’s development, especially at a young age. However, there comes a time when you have to know when to stop crate training for dogs.
If you don’t stop crate training for dogs, the transition phase can become impossible to manage.
So, when to stop crate training for dogs?
It is going to depend on the dog and your ability to help with the transition phase. Remember, this isn’t going to happen overnight and you will have to work with the dog to stop using a dog crate.
This article is going to go through the nitty-gritty details on when to stop crate training for dogs and why a safe dog playpen for dogs is a great alternative.
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When To Stop Crate Training For Dogs
Let’s begin with the answer to your question about when to stop crate training for dogs.
In most cases, you are going to want to follow a pre-determined rule of thumb. This rule is to stop crate training for dogs after 2-3 consecutive months of no accidents (i.e. peeing in the wrong spot, tearing into something).
By doing this, you are going to have a far easier time training the dog outside a dog crate.
Unfortunately, a lot of dog owners quickly transition to an open space approach. This means they let the dog roam around outside the dog crate without supervision. This can lead to injury, damaged furniture, and the odd puddle of pee.
As a result, you have to understand when to stop crate training for dogs and how to do it properly. Any mistakes in this regard will have you back at square one.
Each question is going to matter with regards to how long the transitional phase is. You want it to be short, but that isn’t always an option.
Follow the dog’s lead and try to focus on what it wants. This is going to make it easier to know when to stop crate training for dogs.
Tips to Stop Crate Training for Dogs
Use a Dog Playpen
When your dog stops using a dog crate, it’s time to focus on a quality alternative.
This is essential because it has to be a two or three-step process. This means it’s important to use a well-designed dog playpen inside your house.
However, you have to take the time to find the best dog playpen for your young dog.
The playpen has to provide a good amount of space without making it a hazard to everything else in the room. You also have to account for the height of the dog playpen, so your dog doesn’t easily jump over the top.
These details are going to matter when you are investing in a new dog playpen for your home.
The purpose of using a dog playpen is to still give your dog some comfort of an enclosed space. Sometimes, dogs start to act out because they don’t have a structured solution (i.e. dog crate) around them. This is natural because that is what they are used to from a young age.
As a result, you have to act right away and make sure to give them a quality dog playpen to spend time in.
It’s often tempting to want to let the dog walk around inside your home, but that isn’t going to work until the dog has shown at least 3-4 months without making a mess. Otherwise, you are going to have to walk around cleaning up after the dog, especially when you aren’t home to supervise.
Get Your Dog Used to Extended Periods Outside the Crate
Focus on the time between time spent inside a dog crate and outside.
For example, does your dog tend to rest inside the dog crate when napping? What about when it is trying to relax after going for a long walk?
If so, you will want to find ways to get the dog to spend time inside a dog playpen. This can be done for short bursts, but the goal is to get them used to the idea of being comfortable with a playpen.
Forcing the transition on them isn’t going to work nor is it healthy.
You have to be gradual with what you are doing and that includes the time spent inside both the dog crate playpen.
A lot of dog owners take time to understand this aspect of crate training their puppy. They will get used to the idea of having the dog inside the crate and assume the dog won’t mind being taken out of the crate. Unfortunately, this isn’t how things work and the dog eventually starts showing signs of aggression and/or nervousness.
Your dog is still adjusting to everything being tossed its way and that includes being outside the dog crate.
This is why you have to slowly extend their time outside the dog crate without making it uncomfortable. Even something as simple as 15-minute bursts is a good starting point before increasing the length over 1-2 weeks.
Stick to a Smaller Part of the House
As you figure out when to stop crate training for dogs, it’s important to stick to a smaller part of the house.
In the beginning, you will want to focus on one part of the house (i.e. bedroom, living room, family room). Pick one and make that a new home for your dog. Over time, you can gradually start taking the dog playpen to different rooms.
This is essential because the transition needs to be handled patiently.
If you continue to change the dog playpen’s location, your dog will get apprehensive. It may have to do with the noises, smells, or anything else that puts off the dog.
A good decision is to set up the dog playpen in the same room as the dog crate. This will be a comfortable setting for the dog to relearn where it spends most of its time. The young dog is already going to be used to the sights, smells, and sounds.
Do this for 1-2 weeks before thinking about trying another room. This will lead to far better results as you learn when to stop crate training for dogs.
Make it a Subtle Transition
How quick is the transition going to be from dog crate to no dog crate?
Your puppy or young dog won’t like an abrupt transition. This isn’t normal and it is something the dog will despise simply due to how quick the change was.
Your dog is going to find comfort in its dog crate and that is what you have to think about during the transition.
How do you make a smooth transition from dog crate to dog playpen?
It’s going to involve your approach to spending time with the dog. During this phase, you will want to be around the dog as a soothing influence. This will make it easier for them to have you as a safety beacon while they are trying to learn to spend time inside a dog playpen.
In general, as you figure out when to stop crate training for dogs, it’s going to come back to managing each phase step-by-step. This means crafting a 1-3 month plan in which you are going to gradually move the dog away from its habits (i.e. spending time inside a dog crate, spending time in the same room).
Use Comfort Toys and Materials
Does your dog have comfort toys that it likes to play with? What about a dog blanket?
If so, you are going to want to use this as a powerful tool to convince your dog during the transition.
Remember, your dog likes the crate because it finds it to be safe. This is a common and organic reaction for most dog breeds. However, you will have to find a way to get past this feeling and make it easier for your dog to thrive in any part of the house without causing damage.
So, how do you go about doing this?
In general, you will want to focus on what your dog likes to play with during the day or perhaps sleep with such as a quality dog blanket.
This is going to be a good item to include inside the dog playpen whenever the dog is taken out of its crate. Over time, your dog is going to get used to the idea of being inside the playpen and will fall in love with it.
However, this is only going to happen when there is something present to comfort the young dog.
If they don’t have something like this, don’t be afraid to take a small dog blanket and rub your scent on it. Yes, your scent can be a source of comfort for a young dog and they will stay close to it throughout the day.
As you learn when to stop crate training for dogs, it’s important to keep your dog’s health and psychological state in mind.
A lot of dog owners brashly go through this process without taking the time to analyze their dog’s reaction to the transition. In a dog’s younger years, these transitional decisions will hold a lot of value and have to be handled properly.
In general, you will want to stop crate training for dogs after 2-3 months of no accidents.
As you make the transition, it can’t involve a “free for all” experience where the young dog is allowed to roam everywhere!
Instead, you want to take the time to purchase a safe dog playpen for the young dog. This is going to give them a larger space to play in without getting into trouble.
Also take the time to look into additional details such as finding a reliable dog gate for the stairs, choosing the right dog playpen, understanding how to use a dog playpen, and preparing the home for a young dog.
These are important details to think about as you learn when to stop crate training for dogs. Otherwise, you are going to have a troubled dog that doesn’t enjoy the transition phase.