Why to Use a Crate for a Labrador Retriever?
Originally bred as the traditional waterdog of Newfoundland, long employed as a duck retriever and fisherman’s mate, Labradors are easily trained dogs and known for their loyalty, endless energy, and outstanding temperament perfect for any environment and job.
Crates can be used in a variety of situations, no matter it’s a puppy, adult, or a senior dog. They give your Labrador Retriever a safe place where they can retreat during day and night, It can also be used for transporting or traveling purposes, as well as with places wherein dogs might be restricted or not welcome to run freely. This can also be used for training purposes to prevent potential pet accidents such as unwanted chewing, house destructions, or simply implementing house rules.
What Size Crate for a Labrador Retriever Puppy?
At home wire crates are superior to wooden crates, as Labrador Retriever puppies love to chew, these crates will soon be partially eaten and could be dangerous to your puppy’s digestive system. So we highly suggest choosing metal crates, at least for the beginning, they are available in different sizes and designs.
Crate dimensions of 42L x 30W x 28H inches should be enough for Labrador Retriever to stand and sit comfortably. This size is already considered as a large crate (L size).
A Labrador Retriever grows very quickly, so one must consider buying a larger crate as they outgrows their puppy crate fast. A puppy’s crate should be large enough for the puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably inside, yet it should not be too large, as the dog may designate an area of the crate as a bathroom area. Use of panels to make the crate smaller for growing puppies might be the answer.
Labrador Retrievers usually reach their full height by the age of one year, and their mature weight by two. Males are 22,5 to 24,5 inches tall and weigh 65 to 80 pounds. Females are generally 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall and 55 to 70 pounds.
Knowing the size of your dog is the most important thing in choosing a perfect crate for them. Frequently Dog owners measure their dog all by themselves with a simple tape measure. In measuring your dog’s length, first lay the measuring tape from the nose, neck, then across your dogs back following the position of its spine to the point where tail meets the body. Length is the most important measurement when choosing a crate.
The rest of the measurements like height and width are made by crate producers in accordance with the length. But if you want to be on a safe side, you can also measure your pup’s height in a sitting position and width – in lying position.
5 Reasons to Buy Crate for Labrador Retriever
- Crates can serve as a haven for your Labrador where he can enjoy freedom from interference of other animals or with other family members.
- Crates can be used for transportation purposes in a car or on a plane wherein your dog can spend a few hours comfortably.
- Crates can also serve as a solution for containment in case some visitors are afraid of dogs or with places wherein dogs might be restricted or not welcome to run freely.
- Crates can also be an instrument of discipline through imposing crate training for the prevention of potential pet accidents such as unwanted chewing, house destruction, or by simply instilling house rules to a new dog or a puppy.
Types of Crate for Labrador Retriever Puppy and Grown-Up
Best Metal Wire Crate for Home
|MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate||
Best Plactic Kennel
|Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier||
Best Soft-Sided Crate
|AmazonBasics Portable Folding Soft Dog Travel Crate Kennel||
Pet stores offer a wide range of choices to provide the best crate for your Labrador Retriever. It varies from plastic kennels and metal crates to soft fabric carriers in different sizes and designs. However there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The choice has to be made based on the reasons that prompted the owner to purchase it.
For more options see our Best Dog Crates, Pet Carriers and Kennels Review
Made of durable, lightweight and waterproof material. These soft-sided carriers will be a great solution for safe and comfortable travel. However, these carriers should not be left unattended for a long time due to the likelihood of it being torn apart by our dogs. The main advantage with this type of carriers is its versatility with possibility to fold with ease when not in use.
This type of carrier is perfect for transporting, and is made of plastic – durable, easy to clean and reliable when it comes to your dog’s safety. However, before purchasing one, assure yourself that it is sturdy enough to support the weight of the dog inside the carrier and provides a well-built wire mesh door and ventilation just sufficient to keep the air circulating.
If you are travelling with a larger dog that requires more protection than a regular plastic dog crate can provide, consider crash-tested metal crates. These crates are made of high-quality metals such as aluminum and stainless steel. For home use, a wire metal crate is a perfect solution. It is easy to assemble and can be taken down quickly when not in use, or if you need to relocate it.
Buying your first crate? Go further and find out all the details.
Where should I Place a Dog Cage for Labrador Retriever?
Place the cage in a comfortable, enticing and welcoming place where your dog will love to spend time. However make sure not to leave him with things that could be detrimental to your dog’s safety and health. Please keep it away from direct sunlight and avoid areas of extreme cold and heat such as near a radiator or fireplace.
In the first days of introduction to a crate place it in a living room or a high traffic area where a pup can see the members of the family moving around. This will help lessen your dog’s anxieties and get him used to the new environment being introduced with your supervision. And as time will go by, you will know what your dog prefers or what your dog needs, whether it’s a quiet corner or in a busy corner of your house.
What to Put into a Crate?
- You might want to consider putting up a comfortable dog bed inside the crate, that is not too bulky and made up of breathable and waterproof fabric
- Always keep your dog hydrated in a crate by providing a special water dispenser bowl
- In cases with minimal supervision, you may also want to put his favorite toys to cope up with anxiety and boredom. Snuggle toys with heartbeat are an excellent solution for puppies at night.
How to Crate Train a Labrador Retriever?
5 Things You should NEVER Do when Crate Training a Labrador Retriever
- Don’t use the crate as a punishment
- Do not abuse or force the dog to go into a crate
- Do not leave your dog in a crate with a collar, harness and leash on
- Don’t use the cage as an alternative to training and walking
Basic Rules to Crate Train a Labrador Retriever Puppy
Crate training exists to answer a particular need of dogs to instinctively search for a small and safe place to burrow and to stay safe and warm in the wild thousands of years ago. This proves crate training to be an undoubtedly good thing and worth spending an effort and time teaching to your dog.
There are many benefits to crate train a Labrador Retriever. It’s a process where we introduce and teach without force to stay in a crate and make him realize that a crate is a special happy place where he can spend time alone, be at ease and sleep calmly.
- Encourage all expressions of interest such as praise your pet for going around, exploring, coming up, and most especially going inside. Introduce the crate slowly by simply letting him explore. Again avoid using force and patiently wait for him to be comfortable. The best way to do this is to put a bed, crate training toys, and treats inside.
- The next step is introducing the crate with a closed door. You may start this phase when the dog is confident enough to go in and out of the cage. You may begin by observing the behavior and closing the door while he is in, then open again to praise your dog. However, if your Labrador Retriever Puppy whines and barks, ignore it and wait until he calms down and then praise him upon going out.
- If your Labrador puppy starts dragging his favorite things inside the crate, it’s a good sign that you already have achieved your first goal. Your dog now considers the kennel his personal space.
- Then you can increase the time your dog spends inside the crate, starting from a couple of minutes, then gradually increasing to hours.
- Also, do not forget to leave the water inside to avoid dehydration and other health problems due to lack of water.
- In case you use the crate for extended use or as a sleeping area for the dog during the night, make sure to position the crate in a quiet location so the dog can sleep calmly and quietly.
Locking up your dog as a form of punishment will not remove unwanted behavior and only make things worse. So, after hours of being in the crate, it’s just fair to provide your dog with enough physical activities, training, and socialization especially developing puppies or with a newly adopted dog.
7 Tips for Initial Crate Training a Labrador Puppy
- Before starting crate training, we suggest to take a dog for a short walk and potty to avoid unpleasant accidents inside his crate. Attract the dog’s attention with a toy or a treat and command any term your dog can associate the crate. You may choose “inside crate, home, crate, box, inside box, etc.”
- Introduce the crate by letting the dog investigate and wander around an open crate. Dedicate a couple of days to repeat the exercise and turn the crate training into a game wherein the dog can familiarize and enjoy the experience.
- For the initial phase, try to close the crate doors gradually; however, try not to leave the dog in the crate for an extended period and praise and reward him accordingly when he shows the training’s right attitude. If he barks or whines, ignore him until he calms down and then let him out to praise him.
- Once you’ve closed the crate door, stay close to your puppy, and try to interact with it in any way possible. Then try to lessen the interaction once he settles down inside the crate, stay close, and ignore him until he stops whining and then open the crate door to praise and reward him. This exercise usually takes 5-10 minutes.
- If your dog is making a lot of noise, you may try to cover your dog’s crate with a blanket or crate cover. Remember, at this stage, whining, and barking isn’t an indication that your dog doesn’t like the crate – it may also indicate many other cases such as anxiety and desire to be close to you.
- Once you achieve the condition wherein your dog can confidently stay inside the closed crate for short periods, you may increase the crate time and increase gaps on your rewards and praise.
- In case your puppy falls asleep during class, don’t wake him up, and when he wakes up, let him out without interaction such as praise and play, to make him think that he is more admired when he stays inside the crate quietly.
3 Tips to Keep your Labrador Puppy in a Crate Overnight
- If your puppy has learned the lessons above, it’s easy for you to keep him in the crate at night. First of all, you have to tire him out before going inside the crate for sleep; you may play with him, walk him and let him go outside to relieve himself before this ordeal, then place the crate next to your bed where he accustomed to sleeping, interact with the dog until he falls asleep, it may take hours or days to get this phase right, but everything is worth it. Be Patient, and don’t get mad at him.
- As a rule, a tired two-month-old puppy can sleep for four hours. If he wakes up in the middle of the night demanding to be released to go potty, let him do it to a place where he is allowed to relieve himself; however, try to avoid playing in the middle of this process and go back straight in returning him in the crate. If he starts whining again, give him your palm, and gently talk to him until he falls asleep again.
- It will take two or three nights to make him get used to this ultimately. In a week or two, try to leave the crate somewhere else in your apartment.
Final Tips to Leave a Labrador Puppy in a Crate when You are out of Home
- If you’ve mastered the exercises expounded above, it won’t be difficult for you to get a puppy to stay in the crate when you leave home.
- When you leave your puppy alone, make sure that you have already finished physical activities such as walking and letting him relieve himself outdoors, this will make it easier for him to endure loneliness and mobility restrictions.
- Please take off your dog’s collar and encourage him into the crate. Again do not use force.
- Close the crate door, double-check everything for safety before going out. We recommend that if you have to crate a dog for more than 2 hours, they should have a crate mounted water bowl or bottle. So it’s better to buy one in preparation.
- Try not to talk to your dog about anything and head off.
- In the first phase, your dog might make noise, so make sure your neighbors know and understand so you can avoid any further trouble.
- Remember to gradually do this, In the first instance be away for one to two hours, so on and so forth. If you are stuck in a desperate situation and need to go somewhere, it’s wise to ask someone to check up on your dog every once in a while around your absence.
Note: Puppies cannot be crated for even 4 or 5 hours, because they don’t have the physical maturity to hold their bladders for this length of time.
If you’re persistent in your goal and try to leave your puppy in the crate when you leave home or go to bed, after a while, you’ll find that your puppy will often climb in himself and do it routinary. This happens when he’s tired, or if he wants to be alone for a while, or if he wants to sleep. Remember not to disturb him when this happens and always let the crate door open when you’re home.
It’s believed that the time your puppy can spend in a crate without going out can be calculated by the formula:
Age in months + one month = number of hours
For example, a 2-month-old puppy can stay in a crate for 3 hours
How to Crate Train an Adult Labrador?
You can also accustom a grown-up Lab to a cage by using the same techniques mentioned for puppies. Again, by taking the time to go through small incremental steps, from slowly introducing your dog to the crate, to spending small but increasing amounts of time in there and eventually they will learn to love it, and you can both enjoy the enormous benefits it offers. Key points are to avoid using force and let the dog be familiar, comfortable and associate the crate for his personal space where he can feel safe.
By following the advice in this article carefully and going through the steps successively, you will later on find success in introducing the crate as your dog’s safe place where he can retreat during day and night.