Getting a new puppy is time consuming, they need to learn what to do and what not to do. Most owners would like to be with their dog all the time. However, the reality is that many of us do have to work. This often means that our puppies have to be left alone for part or most of the day.
Crate training can be an excellent way to keep your puppy safe while you are out. It’s not meant to be cruel. At first your puppy might be hesitant to try the crate, but in time and with proper training, he will soon see it as a safe and secure haven.
Once your puppy becomes familiar with their crate, many owners make the mistake of leaving them inside it for long periods of time. When regularly left in the crate for hours at a time, your dog will not get enough exercise and he can also become depressed or anxious.
So, how long should you leave your puppy in the crate?
Crate Training at Night
At night your dog will be asleep and therefore a lot less active than by day. You can leave him in the crate all night without a problem, only if he can control his bladder.
If your dog can’t yet control his bladder, then you are going to have to take him out during the night to toilet. For a young puppy, this could be as often as every two or three hours, so make sure you set your alarm.
Crate Training by Day
How long you can leave your puppy in the crate depends on his age and the length of time he can be trusted to hold his bladder. Dogs are naturally more active by day. The length of time you can leave your puppy in the crate is therefore much less.
The ASPCA advises that a puppy less than 8 weeks’ old be in the crate for no longer than an hour at a time. Only, after 8 weeks should you gradually start to increase the amount of time he spends in his crate.
Your puppy should spend no more than 3 hours in their crate until they are at least 14 weeks old. Between 14 and 16 weeks old you can increase the time in the crate to no more than 4 hours.
For puppies 17 weeks and older, the longest your dog should remain in the crate is 5 hours at a time. No matter how old he is, he must never be crated for longer than you know he can hold his bladder.
Crating You Dog While You Are at Work
One of the most common reasons for crating your dog is to keep him safe whilst you are at work. This can involve regularly leaving him in his crate for long periods at a time.
Leaving your puppy in the crate for up to 10 hours each day is not ideal. Once or twice a week will most likely do little harm. However, every weekday is likely to have an impact on your puppy’s overall health.
When your puppy has to be in a crate all day, make sure you can return home in the middle of the day to give him some exercise and take a bathroom break. If you are unable to return home during the day, ask a friend or family member to stop by for the mid-day break. Otherwise, hire a reliable dog walker.
If your puppy does have to be left alone all day, every day, then putting him in a crate might not be the best solution. Look into the other options available to you. Take him to doggie day care or hire a dog walker, or leave your puppy with a friend or family member.
You can’t be with your dog all the time and when you are not there putting him in a crate is an excellent way to keep him safe. However, it is important that you do not overuse the crate as this may cause your puppy harm in the long run.