by Patty Mead
Some folks have asked what the
difference is between writing an article and compiling it --
basically a written article I thought of, researched, and wrote
all by myself while a compiled one is where I rely heavily upon
other writers taking their ideas and compiling all the sources
into one article. Over time, as these articles change, based in
part on feedback from you, these articles start to look less like
the ones they were compiled from and more like an original piece.
Does this help?
What is a dog
A dog crate is an enclosure with a
top, bottom, sides, and a door. It is made with a variety of of
materials, usually rectangular in shape, but with a variety of
sizes proportioned to fit any dog. Usually, it is constructed of
metal or wire, molded fiberglass, or plastic. The crates are
usually divided up by their use, namely, a home crate and a
travel crate. The most practical home dog crate for the Vizsla
puppy owner is a collapsible wire mesh type, available from most
all supply places. Lightweight and easily handled, it allows
total ventilation and permits the puppy to see everything going
on. The solid metal, or fiberglass/plastic airline crates can
also serve the purpose, but they restricts air and vision, are
less convenient to handle or transport, and have a limited size
selection -- however these types are best for travel.
What is it used
for? Why should I crate a puppy?
In general, its purpose is to
provide secure confinement for the Vizsla. Reasons for using any
type of dog crate are: travel, security, housebreaking, safety,
protection, and so on. People usually crate train their Vizsla
puppy for many good reasons.
- When you have to leave your
Vizsla puppy alone you can be assured that the puppy will
not destroy anything or be injured.
- By crating you are also
guaranteed that the Vizsla puppy will not use the house
as a toilet.
- The crate can provide a den
at night should you decide not to have your Vizsla sleep
with you (which, by the way, is their preferred
- The crate can effectively
confine your Vizsla at special times, such as parties
when the pup may be underfoot, those times when workers
such as carpenters are in your house, when kids come over
who love pulling dog tails, and even when the dog is not
feeling well. It can also be a den that the dog seeks out
- Crates can allow your Vizsla
to travel with you without risk. Risks can include a
driver being distracted by a squirming dog, or the dog
could get loose while you open a door to get out, or
during an accident it can prevent injury to the Vizsla or
to an occupant by a Vizsla.
How can it help
The general wisdom is that you can
housebreak your puppy quickly by using the close confinement of
the crate to encourage control -- dogs naturally do not like to
soil their den. By confining and releasing the puppy at set times
you can establish a regular routine for outdoor elimination which
can help prevent "accidents" when left alone.
Use the Crate,
Dont Abuse the Dog
The use of a dog crate is NOT
recommended for a dog which must be frequently or regularly left
alone for extended periods of time-such as all or much of the day
while the owner is away at work, school, etc. If it is attempted,
the dog must be well exercised both before and after crating,
given lots of personal positive attention, and be allowed
complete freedom at night (including sleeping near his owner.)
His crate must be large enough to permit him comfortably to
stretch out fully on his side and to feel that he has freedom of
movement. It must also be equipped with a clip-on dish for water.
In the case of a puppy, the crate
must be used strictly as a "play-pen" for general
confinement, having plenty of space for a cozy box for sleeping
at one end and papers for elimination at the other, with clip-on
dishes for water and for dry food. Although a puppy can be raised
in this manner, the limited human supervision may result in his
being poorly adjusted socially and difficult to housebreak and to
train in general.
Crate or no crate, any dog
constantly denied the human companionship it needs and craves is
going to be a lonely pet-and may still find ways to express
anxiety, depression, and general stress.
What size should
A crate should always be large
enough to permit any dog to stretch out flat on its side without
being cramped. The dog should also be able to sit up without
hitting the top of the crate with its head. Get the size of crate
that accommodates the adult dog -- the adult size of a Vizsla is
fairly easy to predict, look at the parents for a starting place.
In general, it is recommended to always use a crate slightly too
large rather than one too small.
However, a crate too large for a
young puppy can defeat its purpose of providing security and
promoting bowel control, so the space should always be limited in
the beginning. The exception to this is when the crate is being
used as an over-all pen. If a small crate is unavailable for
temporary use, then reduce the space of an adult size crate with
a reversed carton box, or a moveable/removable partition made of
materials such as wood, etc. (I wouldnt use a pillow-a
puppy could chew it up and maybe choke on pieces or wire since a
puppy could get its mouth caught on it if the spaces
between the wires are too large.)
For a fully grown adult dog
measure the distance from tip of nose to base (not tip) of tail
and use a crate close to, but not less than, this length. The
height and width of most crates are properly proportioned to the
length, including the convenient "slant-front" models
designed to fit station wagons and hatchbacks.
Using a crate is meant to
confine a dog, but not to use it to make him feel isolated
or banished. Accordingly, it should be placed in, or as close as
possible to, the family area (kitchen, family room etc). To
provide an even greater sense of den security and privacy, it
should be put in a corner and/or have the sides and back
loosely draped with a sheet, large towel, or light blanket which
can easily be adjusted for desired visibility or air.
How to Crate
train a puppy
A young puppy (8-16 weeks) should
have no problem accepting a crate as its "own place."
Any complaining it might do at first is caused not by the crate,
but by it learning to accept the controls of an unfamiliar and
Place the crate in the
"people" area in a spot free from drafts and not too
near a direct heat source. For bedding, use an old towel or piece
of blanket which can be washed (should he have an accident) and
some freshly worn unlaundered article of your clothing such as a
tee shirt, old shirt, sweater etc. Avoid putting newspaper in or
under the crate, since its odor may encourage elimination;
corrugated cardboard is better if there is no floor pan with the
crate. A puppy need not be fed in the crate and for shorter
periods of time water does not need to be left. If there is a
water dish in the crate, expect it to be dumped.
Make it very clear to children
that the crate is NOT a playhouse for them, but a "special
room'. for the puppy, whose rights should be recognized and
respected. However, you should accustom the puppy from the start
to letting you reach into the crate at any time, lest he become
overprotective of it.
Establish a "crate
routine" by closing the puppy in it at regular 1 to 2 hour
intervals during the day (his own chosen nap times will guide
you) and whenever he must be left alone for up to 3-4 hours.
Give him a chew toy (I wouldnt put rawhide-a Kong toy would
be better especially if peanut butter is put in the center) for
distraction and be sure to remove the puppys collar and
tags which could become caught in an opening. At night, in the
beginning, you may prefer to place the crate, with the door left
open and newspapers nearby, in a small enclosed area such
as a bathroom, laundry room, your bedroom or hall.
If you do decide to crate the puppy at night you must expect
crying and highly vocal complaining at all hours. (With the crate
it is a little easier to endure and ignore the sounds if you know
that the Vizsla puppy is not uncomfortable.)
Even if things do not go too
smoothly at first DON'T WEAKEN and DON'T WORRY; be consistent, be
firm, and be aware that you are doing your pet a favor by
preventing him from getting into trouble while left alone.
Increase the space Inside the
crate as the puppy grows so that he remains comfortable. If you
do not choose, or are not able, to use a crate permanently, plan
to use it for at least 5 or 6 months or until the dog is well
past the teething phase-then start leaving the crate door open at
night, when someone is at home during the day, or when he
is briefly left alone. If all goes well for a week or two,
and the dog seems reliable when left alone, remove the crate
itself and leave the bedding in the same spot; although he will
probably miss the crate enclosure, that spot will have become
"his own place" and his habit of good behavior should
continue. Should any problem behavior occur at a future time,
however, the decision whether or not to use a crate longer
or perhaps permanently, will have been made for you!
Even after a long period without a
crate, a dog which has been raised in one will readily accept it
again should the need arise for travel, illness, behavior etc.
and may really welcome its return.
isnt the ultimate answer
Although a crate can indeed be
used successfully by most pet owners, there are always those
animals which simply can or will not tolerate this or any form of
confinement. This reaction Is not nearly as common with a young
puppy (but it does happen!) as with an adult dog, especially an
"adoptee" of unknown background, a dog which may
somehow have suffered a traumatic frightening experience while
crated, or an unadaptable "senior citizen.' Some Vizslas
have a special aversion to crates or show no desire to keep one
clean. In some cases, a dog will use a crate readily as long
as the door remains open, but will object violently the moment it
is closed and/or when left alone. If, despite every effort, the
Vizsla puppy is obviously frantic and totally miserable when
confined to a crate, forcing him to use one is inhumane and can
result in real physical injury. So the key is to know your dog
and find what you and your puppy can live with. (It should be
stressed here, however, that the potential negative reactions
represent the exception rather than the rule, and that most
Vizslas can be successfully trained to use a crate.)