German shepherds are one of the top dog breeds. They are cute, cuddly, and intelligent. And, like any other dog, you are going to have to do the difficult job of crate training.
However, crate training doesn’t have to be that difficult. It can actually be quite the bonding experience to see your new fluffy friend become so well-adjusted to their own feelings and intuition. The first time you see them get spooked and watch them run to the safety of their crate is a good feeling.
To get past the difficulty of crate training, you just need to have the right mindset, tips, and the right crate.
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Reasons to Crate Train Your German Shepherd
The most obvious reason for crate training your new dog is to keep the dog contained. But that is a very broad reason that does not really have an explanation or give any reasoning behind it. In this section, we will go over some reasons why crate training your puppy is so vital.
Keeping your pooch in their crate and immediately letting them outside when you come home or when you wake up in the morning will help aid in house training them. Dogs will do their best to avoid soiling the dens, so use this to your benefit.
However, be aware of your dog’s size, age, and where they’re at in their training. For example, don’t leave a puppy in a crate for a long time and not expect an accident. They are puppies with small bladders and will need to be let out often.
This will also prevent dogs from getting destructive or getting into things when you are away.
For grown German shepherd dogs, they can easily get onto kitchen counters and other places, so having a safe place to keep them when you are away is helpful.
Dogs are Den Species
Many wild animals retreat to a den of their own at night or during resting times. This is true of wild dogs, like wolves and coyotes, and even of domesticated dogs.
Dogs retreat to small, but not too small, spaces of their own. These spaces should feel like a safe sanctuary to them where they won’t be tugged on by children or where they can hide when the house gets busy or noisy.
Trips and Car Rides
When you need to take your pup to the vet or going on trips, having him used to the crate will make these trips much easier. Crate training will also give him a little piece of home to hide inside if he gets nervous when in unfamiliar places. This will also be the case if you will be flying with your dog.
During those unexpected moments in life, having your pup crate trained can be incredibly helpful. For example, if your dog gets injured and needs to remain still after surgery, being in their crate can help keep them stress-free, safe, and stationary.
If you have visitors come over, your dog may feel safer simply hanging out in their crate while the humans hang out elsewhere throughout the house.
Overall, the crate is a place for a rambunctious German shepherd to feel safe and comfortable.
Choosing the Right Crate
Your dog’s crate will essentially be their home within your home. That sounds important, right? That’s because it is. So, with that in mind, let’s go over measurements and other important considerations you should make before getting that crate.
Comfort is a key factor when shopping for a crate for your furry friend. You will want to make sure that your dog has enough room to relax and stretch their legs. Enough room to stand above and to turn around, so they can get cozy with their favorite toys before a nice nap.
The bottom of the crate should be padded with something like a blanket, towel, or even a bed sized for the crate.
You can measure your dog from a standing position to see what a good cage size would be and start from there. Lengthwise, you will want to go from the base of their tail to the tip of their nose. When your dog is sitting, you will want to measure from the floor to the top of their head while they are sitting straight up. Make sure to add about 4-6” for each measurement to give your dog some room in the crate.
Crates are made from so many different material types: wood, metal, plastic. Plastic tends to be cheap and does not last very long. These may be a good starting crate for house training, but you may want a better material when you buy a new one for your growing pup.
Wood looks nice and you can find some classy looking pieces that fit well into every room in your home. Many wood crates blend wood with metal framing for added sturdiness.
Wood crates are often on the pricier end of the spectrum, but that is often due to their quality. Solidly built all around, these crates often have a flat roof on top that can be used as a tabletop for decorations or to store your dog’s toys or food bowls.
Wire crates are often preferred since they are sturdy yet portable. These crates are often mid-range in price and can be purchased commercially or specialty.
We suggest wire crates for their practicality; for instance, you can easily move these into the back of a car for a vet visit when needed without needing a different crate.
Some crates have one door entry, while others have a side door and a main door entry in the front that is larger. For skittish dogs that tend to hide against the back, having that extra door can be helpful when you need to get to them quickly.
Tips for Crate Training
Along with proper training, there are some helpful tips to get you going with training your German shepherd to love their new crate.
Make sure that the crate is not placed where cold drafts or uncomfortable heat sources your dog can’t escape will hit them. Also make sure that it is placed out of the way of heavy foot traffic. Again, you want to make sure that they can sleep peacefully and comfortably here, so being awoken to heavy footfalls constantly may interfere with training.
If you are locking your dog in the crate, then you need to ensure that your pet has access to plenty of fresh water. You can get crate mounted bowls so the bowl won’t take up ground space for your pup to lay down.
Keep some of your dog’s favorite toys in the crate to help keep them entertained and stave off boredom.
If you are crate training your new German shepherd puppy, please remember to take that precious puppy out to pee and poop right before bed. Don’t give treats, food, or water for a couple of hours before bed unless they have a medical condition that requires it.
Barking and Crying
All those sad whines and cries they make must be ignored. You know you have taken them out, they are taken care of, and out of harm’s way. In order for them to get accustomed to their new home and crate, you have got to ignore all those barks. If you did miss a step in the nighttime routine, try to wait for a quiet moment before letting them out so you don’t reinforce their barking.
Along with the right tips and mindset, you have to have the right tools. While there are a lot of crates out there, we do strongly recommend the MidWest Homes for Pets dog crate. We will explain why below.
MidWest Homes for Pets has created a nice den-like crate with accessories that benefit your dog from pup to adulthood. The divider panel allows you to adjust the size length of the living area as your little friend grows. This is especially beneficial for puppies who get overwhelmed easily and want to curl up.
The wire cage has two doors with heavy duty slide bolt latch locks that keep the crake locked firmly in place. One of the best parts about this crate is the plastic bottom. It is easy to remove and super easy to clean, so accidents aren’t a major hassle to clean.
Fold this crate up when you need to take it on the road and carry it with easy to hold plastic handles.
- Wire frame is durable and strong
- Plastic pan is easy to clean and remove
- Great crate for your pet to grow with
- Folds up and easy to carry around
Crate training your German shepherd will be quite a new experience for you, but you can make it an exciting one with the right tools and mindset. Since domesticated dogs are still keen on dens, crates are a great way to make them feel at home within your home. Make sure that you get a proper sized crate and place it in a good location in your home, and your pup will be sure to love their little private area.