Crates, Crate Training and Kenneling

Selecting a Dog Crates

How to Crate Train Your Puppy

Kennelling / Boarding your Dog



1. Selecting a Dog Crate


There are a lot of crates on the market. The bottom line is generally you get what you pay for. Much of the crate sizing literature says “only buy a crate big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around.” However, rather than buying a puppy crate and then an adult crate we suggest buying one crate that will be big enough for the pup as an adult. The crates that we suggest are large enough for that. The pups understand this is where they sleep which will go hand in hand with crate training for house (toilet) training. 


We prefer the closed in crates for three reasons.


  • They last longer since there construction is strong plastic. 
  • They clean up easy if there is an accident. 
  • They are airline accepted, and 
  • They provide some protection and personal space for your companion.

Here are two crates that we have used and find particularly worthy of mention. 


  • Sky Kennel #200 27"L x 20"W x 19"H with handle. Crate weighs: 15 Lbs available on-line from Approximate cost $50.00 
  • Ferrari Kennel #250 27"L x 19.5"W x 19"H with handle Crate weighs: 20 Lbs available on line (google search for local distributor) Price ranges from $75.00 to $100.00 This will last for YEARS! 


It is true that some dogs prefer the open wire crates. These offer much better air circulation for hot weather. They are not airline accepted. They are a good alternative for home use. Canvas crates are great to travel with but they are made of material and don’t clean up nearly as well as plastic! 


Here is minimum size that would fit your dog for airline travel. We suggest that you go one size up from this. IMPORTANT TIPS FOR MEASURING YOUR PET The following measurements should be done on the animal standing in a natural position. 


A = length of animal from nose to root of tail.
B = height from ground to elbow joint. A + 1/2 B = length of container. 
C = width across shoulders. C x 2 = width of container. 
D = height of container (top flat or arched)/height of animal in standing position. 
* This chart gives average size usage only. If you are not sure, go up at least one size. (Please allow an additional 1.5 inches for comfort and safety of the animal.)



2. How to Crate Train your Puppy


Providing your puppy or dog with an indoor kennel crate can satisfy many dogs' need for a den-like enclosure. Besides being an effective housebreaking tool (because it takes advantage of the dog's natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place), it can also help to reduce separation anxiety, to prevent destructive behavior (such as chewing furniture), to keep a puppy away from potentially dangerous household items (i.e., poisons, electrical wires, etc.), and to serve as a mobile indoor dog house which can be moved from room to room whenever necessary.

A crate also serves as a travel cabin for you dog when traveling by car or plane. Additionally, most hotels that accept dogs on their premises require them to be crated while in the room to prevent damage to hotel furniture and rugs.


Most dogs that have been introduced to the crate while still young grows up to prefer his/her crate to rest in or "hang-out" in. Therefore a crate (or any other area of confinement) should NEVER be used for the purpose of punishment. 


We recommend that you provide a crate for at least the first two years of your dog’s life. We actually provide crates throughout our dog's entire lifetime. Some crates allow for the removal of the door once it is no longer necessary for the purpose of training. The crate can be placed under a table, or a table top can be put on top of it to make it both unobtrusive and useful.


Preparing the Crate 

Your puppy may have been introduced to crate training at the breeder's. Leave the crate door open. For wire crates the crate should come with a floor pan. Place a piece of cardboard or a towel between the floor (or crate bottom) and the floor pan in order to keep it from rattling.


Furnishing Your Puppy's Crate 

Toys and Treats: Place your puppy's favorite toys and dog treats at the far end opposite the door opening. These toys may include the ‘Kong’, a plush toy or braided rope. Toys and bails should always be inedible and large enough to prevent their being swallowed. Plastic toys are not recommended. Any fragmented toys should be removed to prevent choking and internal obstruction.


Water: A crate cup or a small hamster-type water dispenser with ice water should be attached to the crate if your puppy is to be confined for more than two hours in the crate or the temperatures are rather warm.


Bedding: Place a crate pad, towel or blanket inside the crate to create a soft, comfortable bed for the puppy. If the puppy chews the bedding, remove it to prevent the pup from swallowing or choking on the pieces. Although most puppies prefer lying on soft bedding, some may prefer to rest on a hard, flat surface, and may push the bedding to one end of the crate to avoid it. If the puppy repeatedly urinates on the bedding, remove the bedding until the pup no longer eliminates in the crate.


Location of the Crate

When possible, place the crate near or next to you when you are at home. This will encourage the pup to go inside it without his feeling lonely or isolated when you go out. A central room in the house (i.e.: living room or kitchen) or a large hallway near the entrance is a good place to crate your puppy.


Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy 

In order that your puppy associate his/her kennel crate with comfort, security and enjoyment, we suggest the following guidelines:

Occasionally throughout the day, drop small pieces of kibble or dog biscuits in the crate. While investigating his new crate, the pup will discover edible treasures, thereby reinforcing his positive associations with the crate. You may also feed him in the crate to create the same effect. If the dog hesitates, it often works to feed him in front of the crate, then right inside the doorway and then, finally, in the back of the crate.

In the beginning, praise and pet your pup when he enters. Do not try to push, pull or force the puppy into the crate. At this early stage of introduction only inductive methods are suggested. Overnight exception: You may need to place your pup in his crate and shut the door upon retiring. (In most cases, the crate should be placed next to your bed overnight. If this is not possible, the crate can be placed in the kitchen, bathroom or living room.)

You may also play this enjoyable and educational game with your pup or dog: without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit into the crate. Then call your puppy and say to him, "Where's the biscuit? It's in your crate." Using only a friendly, encouraging voice, direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically serve as a primary reward. Your pup should be free to leave its crate at all times during this game. Later on, your puppy's toy or ball can be substituted for the treat.

It is advisable first to crate your pup for short periods of time while you are home with him. In fact, crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with your dog. Getting him used to your absence from the room in which he is crated is a good first step. This prevents an association being made with the crate and your leaving him/her alone.

A Note About Crating Puppies 

Puppies under 4 months of age have little bladder or sphincter control. Puppies under 3 months have even less.

Important Reminders


Collars: Always remove your puppy or dog's collar before confining in the crate. Even flat buckle collars can occasionally get struck on the bars or wire mesh of a crate. If you must leave a collar on the pup when you crate him (e.g.: for his identification tag), use a safety "break away" collar.


Warm Weather: Do not crate a puppy or dog when temperatures reach an uncomfortable level. This is especially true for the short-muzzled (Pugs, Pekes, Bulldogs, etc.) and the Arctic or thick-coated breeds (Malamutes, Huskies, Akitas, Newfoundlanders, etc.). Cold water should always be available to puppies, especially during warm weather. [Never leave an unsupervised dog on a terrace, roof or inside a car during warm weather. Also, keep outdoor exercise periods brief until the hot weather subsides.]

Be certain that your puppy has fully eliminated shortly before being crated. Be sure that the crate you are using is not too large to discourage your pup from eliminating in it. Rarely does a pup or dog eliminate in the crate if it is properly sized and the dog is an appropriate age to be crated a given amount of time. If your pup/dog continues to eliminate in the crate, the following may be the causes:

  • The pup has a poor or rich diet, or very large meals. 
  • The pup did not eliminate prior to being confined. 
  • The pup has worms. 
  • The pup has gaseous or loose stools.
  • The pup drank large amounts of water prior to being crated.
  • The pup/dog is suffering from a health condition or illness (i.e., bladder infection, prostate problem, etc.
  • The puppy or dog is experiencing severe separation anxiety when left alone.

Accidents in the Crate

If your puppy messes in his crate while you are out, do not punish him upon your return. Simply wash out the crate with a pet odor neutralizer (such as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, or Outright). Do not use ammonia-based products, as their odor resembles urine and may draw your dog back to urinate in the same spot again. 


The Crate As Punishment 

NEVER use the crate as a form of punishment or reprimand for your puppy or dog. This simply causes the dog to fear and resent the crate. If correctly introduced to his crate, your puppy should be happy to go into his crate at any time. You may however use the crate as a brief time-out for your puppy as a way of discouraging nipping or excessive rowdiness. [NOTE: Sufficient daily exercise is important for healthy puppies and dogs. Regular daily walks should be offered as soon as a puppy is fully immunized. Backyard exercise is not enough!] 


Children and the Crate

Do not allow children to play in your dog's crate or to handle your dog while puppy is in the crate. The crate is your dog's private sanctuary. Puppy’s rights to privacy should always be respected. 


Barking in the Crate 

In most cases a pup that cries incessantly in his crate has either been crated too soon (without taking the proper steps as outlined above) or is suffering from separation anxiety and is anxious about being left alone. Some pups may simply be under exercised. Others may not have enough attention paid to them. Some breeds of dog may be particularly vocal. These dogs may need the "Alternate Method of Confining Your Dog", along with increasing the amount of exercise and play your dog receives daily. 


When Not To Use A Crate 


  • Do not crate your puppy or dog if: 
  • s/he has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by: worms, illness, intestinal upset such as colitis, too much and/or the wrong kinds of food, quick changes in the dogs diet, or stress, fear or anxiety. 
  • s/he is vomiting. you must leave him/her crated for more than the Crating Duration Guidelines suggest. 
  • s/he has not eliminated shortly before being placed inside the crate. 
  • the temperature is excessively high. 
  • s/he has not had sufficient exercise, companionship and socialization.

The Cost of Not Buying a Crate 

The cost of not using a crate: your shoes; books; table legs; chairs and sofas; throw rugs and carpet, and electric, telephone and computer wires. The real cost, however, is your dog's safety and your peace of mind. 


Alternative Method of Confining Your Puppy 

There are alternative methods to crating very young puppies and puppies that must be left alone in the house for lengths of time exceeding the recommended maximum duration of confinement. We suggest the following. Use a small to medium-sized room space such as a kitchen, large bathroom or hallway with non-porous floor. Set up the crate on one end, the food and water a few feet away, and some newspaper (approx. 2'x3' to 3'x3') using a 3 to 4 layer thickness, several feet away. Confine your puppy to this room or area using a 3 ft. high, safety-approved child's gate rather than shutting off the opening by a solid door. Your pup will feel less isolated if it can see out beyond its immediate place of confinement. Puppy proof the area by removing any dangerous objects or substances. 


4. Kennelling / Boarding Your Dog


Boarding Your Dog There are occasions when it is simply not practical to take your Norwich with you on vacation. So you need to find someone to care for your dog. The best option is an in home doggie sitter but they are often hard to find. The next option is of course a boarding kennel. Here is what to look for a good kennel:


  • Design: The kennel should have indoor/outdoor runs, all fenced or inside housing areas with separate outdoor exercise areas. The primary area where your Norwich sleeps should have solid dividers between doggie visitors to prevent “fence fighting” and allow your dog to relax and sleep in without feeling challenged or threatened. 
  • Cleanliness: The kennel must be tidy and free of dirt and most importantly fecal accumulation for the health safety of your prized pet. 
  • Safety: Ask how often the kennel staff checks the animals. Exercise: At enclosed kennels the staff should walk dogs at least three times daily. 
  • Nutrition: Bring your own food. While many kennels provide their own food, it is one less thing that needs to be changed from your dog’s routine. 
  • Immunization: Your pet’s immunizations must be up to date, including Bordatella (kennel cough). If the kennel isn’t asking you for proof of up to date immunizations they likely aren’t asking others. 
  • Kennel Staff Attitude: If you don’t get a good vibe from the kennel and staff you are probably best to go elsewhere. You should always visit a kennel before you commit to leaving your dog. It is worth the peace of mind to know your Norwich is safe and in good hands so that you too can enjoy your vacation.

5. Fencing


Why fence the yard? The purpose of fencing a play area for your dog is so that it has a safe place to be off lead and play. What ever is in that fenced dog area should be safe for him to play with. This is all within your ability to control. Keeping your dog safe means not only that your dog can’t get out of the fenced area but also nor can anything get in to harm him. This fenced area is also great when your dog needs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night so that you don’t have to go out with him. Ideally, from the door or a window you can see the entire fenced area. It should also be lighted at night for the same purpose.


How high? While you only need a three foot fence to keep a Norwich in, typically if you put in a chain link permanent fence the size most often chosen is a four foot height. That extra foot gives a bit of added protection from predators. If you live in the vicinity of coyotes or wolves that may not be high enough. In some more rural areas the taller deer fencing is ideal. For the city or suburbs though a four foot fence is plenty.


What about “Invisible Fencing” or “Radio Fencing?” Yes, invisible fencing will keep most dogs inside the designate area. Initially the invisible fence line is flagged for the dog to see. The way it works is, as the dog nears the invisible fence a beep goes off warning him that he is approaching. If he gets closer the dog gets a mild but very startling shock. If you ever touched an electric cattle fence as a child or simply got a good static shock that is similar...we tried it ourselves. There are some dogs that can charge through and simply ignore the shock of the collar. This is a problem for dogs with a high prey drive that will chase anything. The first problem is that once your dog is out of the invisible fence you can be sure that he won’t brave the shock to come back in. Next, the batteries do require regular replacement for the collar to work properly. The collar also needs to be correctly fitted for the contacts to work. The biggest problem s that invisible fencing may keep your dog in, but it keeps nothing out. The neighbours children, other roving dogs (good or bad), skunks, coyotes, wolves, or other predators will not notice the invisible fence and your dog is stuck inside it with no place to hide. We do not recommend invisible fencing.


What is an affordable alternative to chain link fencing? Chain link is usually a permanent fence. It is long lasting and very secure. For a large area it can be costly. An affordable and effective alternative is rolls of welded and galvanized deer or field fencing. The height should be at least three feet tall and the squares about 2’’ x 4’’. You’ll need a post about every 8 feet to keep it secure.