Crate training has become a very popular method of house training puppies, and for good reason—this kind of training relies on a dog’s natural instinct not to relieve themselves where they sleep. There is a lot of confusion about whether or not it’s okay to cover your pup’s crate, and the short answer is, yes, you should cover your dog’s create.
Although there are some situations in which you shouldn’t cover your dog’s crate, there are many other cases where it’s both acceptable and beneficial.
Why Would You Cover Your Dog’s Crate?
A crate for a dog is their safe haven, their space to calm down if they get overwhelmed by the world around them, and a place to rest and sleep. Covering your dog’s crate can help limit the stimuli they are exposed to including lights, sounds, and even smells. Providing a cover for your dog’s safe place on all sides can make them feel even safer when they choose to retreat there.
Crate coverings that you remove during the day and replace at night can also help establish a bedtime routine for your puppy. If you’re consistent, they will learn quickly that an uncovered crate is a place to retreat temporarily during the day for some relaxation, and a covered crate means it’s time to wind down and go to bed. Getting your puppy used to this routine will help them understand when playtime is over for the day.
Covering your puppy’s crate can also be an excellent option for travel. Riding in the car can be an uncomfortable sensation for a puppy, so keeping them in a crate that is covered can help reduce their fear and anxiety.
When Should You Not Cover Your Dog’s Crate?
Unfortunately, some owners resort to using the cage as a punishment—they think locking their puppy in the crate and covering it will establish that they’ve exhibited bad behavior.
First, it’s important to understand how traumatizing this can be for a puppy. Dogs who want to play and enjoy time with their owners are then locked away and cut off from the world around them. They’ll still be able to hear people outside the crate, and this can induce anxiety.
This is highly counterproductive to crate training. A dog’s crate should be their safe space, and using it as a punishment will establish the crate as a negative thing. For this reason, never force your dog into their crate, and never cover the crate as a punishment.
How Should I Cover My Dog’s Crate?
To cover your dog’s crate properly you’ll want to use a thin material that will serve to dampen outside stimuli but also allow plenty of airflow. You should aim to cover some but not all of the sides for day use, as your pup shouldn’t feel as if they are totally cut off from you when inside. Leaving at least one side uncovered and facing you or the room is best. As long as you leave space for air to get in, you can cover all sides at night to create a cozy place for your pup to snooze.
If you’re looking to provide some additional privacy for your puppy or use the crate covering as a way to establish bedtime, you can either buy a crate covering, make one yourself, or use material you have at home.
Buying a crate cover is a quick and easy way to create the perfect safe space for your puppy. These often fit perfectly over your crate, and an adaptable cover like the Molly Mutt Rocketman Dog Crate Cover allows for quick and easy conversion from a partially covered crate for daytime use to a fully covered crate with airflow for bedtime.
You can opt to use thin materials you already have around the house like sheets or very light blankets. If you’re crafty you can buy some thin material and make your own crate cover.
Whichever option you choose, make sure the material isn’t so heavy that it will insulate your dog’s crate and make it too hot for them or restrict airflow. Successful crate training is all about comfort for your pup!
Covering your dog’s crate can be an excellent option if it’s done in a way that makes them feel safe. A crate should never be used as a place of confinement or punishment, but a properly covered crate that doesn’t entirely seclude your puppy will help establish it as a safe and relaxing place where they can escape.
As long as you make sure the material is thin enough to allow airflow, a crate covering can add comfort and privacy to your pup’s place of retreat.