Help – my Boykin spaniel pees in the house! My Boykin tears up my furniture! My dog is scared of thunder! These are complaints behaviorists hear all the time with urgent requests for help. Very often, behaviorists recommend crate training as a way of correcting behavioral issues. Many owners may use crate training when they first get their puppy, or some owners want to introduce it to an older dog. It is important to crate train correctly; otherwise, you could make a host of other problems for yourself.
Crate training a Boykin Spaniel in 10 steps:
- Select the correct crate.
- Use treats and toys.
- Use a command.
- Close the door only when he is comfortable.
- Be calm when opening the door.
- Feed him in his crate.
- Always make positive associations with the crate.
- Do not leave him for lengthy periods
- Prevent boredom
Crate training is regarded by some owners as being cruel. They associate it with time-out punishment for children or imprisoning their Boykin spaniel. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dogs have a natural desire to seek out dens. A den allows a Boykin spaniel to feel safe and secure. A sick dog will often prefer to hide in his crate. It can be useful if your dog needs to be confined following an injury. This article gives some tips on crate training your Boykin spaniel.
Selecting The Correct Crate
Selecting the correct crate is vital. The crate needs to be spacious enough for your Boykin spaniel to sit down, stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. If you are buying a crate when your Boykin spaniel is still a puppy, it is best to purchase one that will be big enough to accommodate your Boykin spaniel at his adult size. It can be a costly exercise to keep buying new crates to accommodate his growing frame.
What Kind Of Crate Should My Boykin Spaniel Have?
A lot depends on what purpose the crate needs to fulfill. Crates are sometimes made from hardened plastic-type material or wood. There will be ventilation holes or grates on the sides and back. The plastic crates are easy to clean, but the wooden ones can be difficult to clean and sanitize as urine soaks into the wood.
Both wood and plastic crates provide solid sides, which are useful in giving the dog a sense of security and making the crate feel more like a den. These crates should preferably have metal doors and metal grills over the ventilation holes. A determined dog can easily chew through plastic or wooden doors and escape. These crates also have a solid roof which is a bonus as it provides shade and protection from rain if you will be using your crate at hunting events.
Collapsible Metal Crates
Crates are also sometimes made of welded metal bars all around. These crates often do not have a roof and do not provide shelter from the elements. They also are not helpful for Boykin spaniels that need a den. Some dogs may feel vulnerable in these crates as they are very exposed, especially when the crate is used to transport the Boykin spaniel to new or strange places.
Metal crates are strong and cannot be chewed through. They are also cool and do not trap the spaniel’s body heat in the crate. Some metal crates do have a roof or top covering. These are preferable to crates without a roof. Many of the metal welded bar crates are collapsible, which can make for easier storage or transportation.
Fabric crates are soft and resemble a tent. They are not approved for airlines and are not recommended for dogs that chew. Fabric crates can become very hot inside. As dogs do not have efficient methods to cool themselves down, there is the possibility of the dog suffering from heatstroke in hot climates. Generally, these crates are best used for puppies or small toy breeds and are not recommended for Boykin Spaniels.
Airlines Have Specific Requirements For Crates
If your Boykin spaniel will be flying in his crate, it is essential to determine the airline’s specific requirements for animal crates. There is a generally accepted standard for airline crates, and most airlines will have the same requirements. Airlines emphasize the importance of using the correct size crate for your Boykin spaniel, stating that the spaniel must have enough space to lie down, turn around and stand up.
Airlines specify that it should not be possible for the spaniel to put his paws or nose through any ventilation holes or grates on the crate. The welded metal bar crates do not meet airline standards for this reason. It is vital that your spaniel cannot put his paws or nose out of the crate to protect your Boykin spaniel from injury during crate handling and shipping. There must also be holders available for a water dish and a food dish.
Crate Training Must Be A Positive Experience
Remember that the aim of crate training your spaniel is not to punish him or harshly correct him for bad behavior. The crate must be associated with praise, a kind voice, and positive reinforcement in the form of treats or toys. A comfortable blanket or bed should line the bottom of the crate. Your Boykin spaniel should be happy to go into his crate.
How Long Can My Boykin Spaniel Stay In His Crate?
Boykin spaniel puppies should not be left in their crates for longer than two hours at a time. You should preferably be present to supervise this time, especially with a very young puppy. If the puppy needs to go to the toilet, you must take him outside. Older dogs can be left in their crates for a maximum of four hours.
The only exception is if your Boykin spaniel sleeps in his crate at night. You must have the crate close enough to hear if your spaniel requests to go out to the toilet at night. If you need to go out and leave your Boykin spaniel in a crate, organize for a neighbor to let him out for toilet breaks every four hours.
Positioning The Crate
The crate should be placed in a space where your Boykin spaniel is comfortable and feels safe. Initially, he should be able to see you. If your spaniel is sleeping overnight in his crate, then place the crate in the place where he usually sleeps. If you wish to move the crate to a different room, wait until your spaniel is comfortable in his crate and is happy with you being out of sight.
Nervous dogs in a multi-dog household may prefer their carte to be in a quiet corner of the home. If your Boykin spaniel is afraid of thunder or fireworks, make sure his crate is in a room with heavy curtaining and a music system. Draw the curtains and play music to cover the loud bangs or rolls of thunder.
Crate Training A Boykin Spaniel
When you introduce the crate, ensure a comfortable bed inside and leave the door open. You can use your dog’s current blanket to put in the crate as this will be a familiar smell for your spaniel. Some owners like to place an item of their clothing in the crate as the dog gets comfort from the owner’s scent.
Some dogs are curious and will naturally go into the crate of their own accord. Other dogs will not show any interest and may need some encouragement. Place treats around the crate and a few treats inside the door of the crate. Favorite toys can also be placed inside the crate. Allow your Boykin spaniel to explore the crate at his own pace, and do not force the issue. When the spaniel enters the crate, reward him by giving him a treat. Do not close the door yet!
Choose A Command For Crate Entrance
Choose a command to pair with your Boykin spaniel going into the crate. It should be a short command such as “Inside” or “Crate.” Use this with your dog’s name when you see him going into the crate. You should also give the command when you place food in the crate, and your dog shows an interest in the food or follows the food into the crate. After some time, practice giving him the command, and when he enters the crate, immediately reward him with a treat.
Feed Your Boykin Spaniel In His Crate
Feeding your dog in his crate is a great way to create a positive reaction to the crate. It fits in nicely to a routine, so the spaniel twice a day gets a powerful reward for going into his crate. Initially, open the crate door immediately after your spaniel has finished his meal. When your spaniel is used to being in his crate, you can leave him for more extended periods after he has eaten.
This is also very useful in multi-dog households where one dog may bully another at feed time. It is also helpful if you have toddlers at home and do not want them to interfere with your Boykin spaniel while he is eating. A crate can provide a safe space for a dog to eat his meal undisturbed. Keeping your spaniel in his crate for thirty to forty minutes after eating helps reduce the possibility of bloat and torsion developing.
Closing The Crate Door
Leave the crate open for several days so that your Boykin spaniel can get used to the crate’s presence and realize that it is not a scary or dangerous place. Once your dog is comfortable being in the crate you can begin closing the door. Sit by the crate when you close the door in the beginning stages. Keep the door closed for a short period – approximately ten minutes.
Your dog should be able to see you at all times during this period. After the ten minutes is finished, open the door and either sit out of direct sight or quietly walk away. If your dog is comfortable, he may continue lying in the crate, or he may decide to come out and follow you.
Gradually extend the length of time that he is in the crate. When the dog is comfortable in his crate, you can sit just out of sight or leave the room for short periods. Carefully extend the time you are out of the room so that the spaniel becomes comfortable being in the crate without you being present.
It is essential to gradually increase your time away when dealing with a dog with separation anxiety, and a great deal of care must be taken not to stress the dog. If you stress the dog, he will never want to be left in his crate.
Opening The Crate Door
When you open the crate door, do not make a fuss or speak with a high-pitched voice to your dog. A casual, low-key approach is essential to keep your dog calm. Opening the door, fussing your dog, and speaking in a higher pitch will generate excitement. Your dog will learn to come out of the crate in a hyper-excited state. He will jump all over you and run around barking.
The spaniel will start to anticipate this excitement and may start scratching and whing at the crate door before you are even in the room or if he hears your car arrive. This can damage the crate, damage the dog’s nails or teeth (some dogs bite the metal grating), and undo your hard work in training your Boykin spaniel to be calm in the crate.
When To Start Training A Boykin Spaniel?
It is ideal to start crate training your Boykin spaniel when he is a puppy. Training can begin on the first day you bring him home. Start by feeding your spaniel puppy in the crate. He will soon learn to associate the crate with food which is always a happy connection for any spaniel. Take your Boykin puppy outside to the toilet once he has finished eating, then bring him back in and put him in the crate.
Most young puppies go to sleep soon after eating. Let him sleep in the crate. You can even close the door as younger puppies are not as stressed out by being confined. Just make sure you check your puppy regularly so that when he wakes up, you can take him out to the toilet again. Dogs prefer not to urinate or defecate on their beds, and you can use this principle to assist in house or toilet training your puppy.
Crates Are Useful For Transport
Crates provide a safer means of transporting your Boykin spaniel in motor vehicles. They prevent the spaniel from jumping around the car and distracting or bumping the driver. There is less likelihood of your spaniel being thrown out of the vehicle in case of an accident. Boykin spaniels are used for hunting, and it is handy to transport your dog in a crate to any hunting events. The crate can be used at the event venue to keep the dog safe until hunting begins.
Prevent boredom In A crate
It is essential to provide chew toys, problem-solving toys, and treats in the crate to avoid boredom. (Brain Toys) A spaniel may whine or scratch from boredom. Do not leave your dog in the crate for extended periods or whole days where he does not have any stimulation or exercise. Boykins are working dogs and need to be busy. Crates must not be used as dog confinement so that the owner can avoid stimulating his Boykin spaniel by working, exercising, or playing with him.
What To Do If Your Boykin Spaniel Whines and Cries In His Crate?
If your dog whines, check that he does not need to go to the toilet. If you have a word used for going to the toilet, say that to him and see if he responds with excitement. If so, then take him out.
If you think your dog is just whining for no reason, do not let him out of the crate. Doing this will teach him that he can whine to get out of the crate, creating problems. He will whine in increasing volume until you let him out. If he is whining and you wish to take him out, rather give a distraction command. For example, ask him to sit or lie down. Once he has complied with the command, then you can take your spaniel out of the crate.
Crate training is a valuable tool for providing a safe den for your Boykin spaniel. It can also be used to assist with house training and to deal with some behavioral issues. Your Boykin spaniel puppy can start crate training as soon as you bring him home. Always make positive associations with the crate and use clear commands. Do not leave your Boykin spaniel in the crate for long periods unattended.