Crate training your Beagle has many benefits. A crate is a safe place for your Beagle, a place they know as their own, where they go to relax and sleep in peace. Although a crate benefits most dogs, there will always be some that don’t like being crated. So should Beagles be crate trained, what are the benefits of crate training?
A crate is a ‘safe’ haven for a Beagle, and somewhere a Beagle will be happy to spend time when needed. The best time to start Beagle crate training is when they are a puppy. Starting crate training early will allow them to adapt to it much more quickly. A crate can be used at home or in the car for safely transporting your Beagle.
Beagles are notoriously stubborn, and not the most straightforward to train. However, many dog owners recognise the benefits of crate training and how crates can help train their dogs in a variety of ways. Let’s explore if you should crate train your Beagle, the reasons you might and potential benefits to crate training.
What is a dog crate?
A typical dog crate is a collapsible four-sided pen, usually made from metal. The base of the crate will often have a plastic or metal (plastic trays are less noisy) tray, which is easy to clean. The front, and sometimes the ends will have a door, with a latch, for easy access.
Crates are easy to flatten down and once packed down take up very little space and make it easier to move them into your car or away for storage.
Crates come in many different sizes and are widely available, including online at Amazon. When selecting a crate for your dog, make sure there is enough height for your dog to stand and turn around comfortably.
Why use a crate?
As far back as the roman empire Beagles were bred for use as hunting dogs, mainly to track small game. When not hunting, the dogs would likely have taken huddled together in whatever safe, small and warm place they could find. The combined body warmth of the pack and the confined space, making a great place to rest. It’s actually in a Beagle’s nature to want to have its own little sanctuary, where they can retreat to and feel safe.
If your Beagle does not have its own space, like a crate, they may become anxious, and try to control another, more spacious area, such as your living room. This could create issues as you battle with your Beagle for rights over your living space.
Top tip – Big is not always better. If a crate is too big, your Beagle may use one side for sleeping, the other for his bathroom. A crate should be large enough for your Beagle to stand up and turn around comfortably.
By providing a crate for your Beagle, you are providing him with his very own safe place within your home, a home from home.
It is important to not keep your Beagle alone in their crate for long periods. Beagles are sociable hounds and prolonged periods of isolation could cause some unwanted behaviours from your Beagle. We wrote an article about Beagles and loneliness, you can read it here.
Crates are useful for transporting your Beagle around in a car, truck, or whatever else you use. Just like at home, by having your Beagle inside a crate while travelling, he will feel safe and secure.
By using a crate inside your car to transport your Beagle, you can reclaim the remaining space for other use. Before we started using crates inside our car, anything else that we placed inside the trunk would be subject to a Beagle inspection.
You may need to purchase a smaller crate than the one you use at home to fit in your vehicle. However, quite a few manufacturers offer specially shaped crates to fit your vehicle. They are often built to a much higher standard than the cheap generic crates that you find on Amazon. Due to them being custom-designed, they make better use of the available space in your trunk/boot and are often worth the investment. Look out for those that are crash-tested for safety too.
Our favourite crates are TransK9 crates (link). TransK9 have been building excellent quality vehicle crates for many years. They make crates for most automotive makes and models. Their crates are all independently crash tested and supplied with a great warranty and will last for you for a very long time! If you do lots of travelling with your Beagle, then we think they are worth the investment.
Crate training with your Beagle should begin as quickly as possible, ideally from being a puppy. Starting early with crate training makes it much easier for them to adapt. It’s likely your puppy was running around a pen of some sorts before you took him home, so a full crate should not be too daunting for him.
First, place a piece of vet bedding (link) in the bottom of the crate, and for extra comfort, your puppies favourite blanket. Vets and professionals recommend vet bedding for its excellent durability, heat retention and effective draining (for the inevitable accidents). Good vet bedding is hygienic, non-irritant, non-allergenic and non-toxic.
The vet bedding will create a warm and comfortable space, the blanket adding something extra for him to snuggle up to.
Start by keeping the crate where your main living area is. After a little while, you can move it to its permanent place; this is just while you do your initial training. It shows him you are still in the area and makes it less stressful as he gets used to the crate.
Your puppy may not have full control over their bladder yet and may accidentally pee in the crate. As part of your puppies training, you must note how often and when your puppy pees or poops. By understanding when those times are, you can reduce the chance of an accident in the crate. You should notice a pattern when your dog goes to the toilet and how that fits in with when he eats, drinks, plays, etc.
If he does have an accident in the crate, thoroughly clean the mess up, any scent leftover might encourage them to use it as a toilet again. Be patient, and over time you will reduce the number of accidents, eventually to a stop.
Intermittently place your puppy in the crate, small amounts of time to begin, say 10-15 minutes each time. You want to build him up slowly until he’s comfortable and content with being in the crate for a few hours or overnight while he sleeps.
It can help if you also feed your puppy in the crate. Place his bowl down and calmly close the door, move away from the crate, as far away as possible, but still in the dog’s sight. When he’s finished eating return to let him out, but only do so if he’s calm. If he starts to cry, you must wait until he stops. If you let him out any point while he is crying, he will associate crying with being let out and do it again. If he’s calm, praise him and let him out.
Carry on with this for a few weeks until you can move into another room without him becoming stressed. Only enter the room again if he’s calm. Do not come into the room if he’s crying else he’ll associate crying with getting what he wants. Over time your puppy will be quite happy with being in his crate while you are out of the room.
You can apply this technique to older dogs; however, it may take a little longer and different methods if he already has any anxious behaviours.
Quick tips crate training
- Praise your puppy/dog with treats and fuss when he is calm inside the crate.
- Introducing meal times in the crate helps them associate the crate with being a happy place.
- Place treats and toys within his crate to encourage him to spend time there.
- Build up the time your puppy/dog spends in the crate, start small and build up as he becomes more comfortable.
What NOT to do when crate training
- Don’t put your dog or puppy in the caret as punishment. You are trying to encourage the dog to associate the crate with good things, not a place he goes when he’s been naughty.
- Don’t respond to crying when the dog is in the crate. If you let your dog out the crate when crying, they will associate crying with being let out and do it again.
- Don’t leave your dog in the crate for hours on end — puppies for no more than two hours, adult dogs a maximum of 6 hours. We wrote an article about how long to leave a Beagle alone, you can read it here.
Crates offer your Beagle a space they can claim as their own. Crates are useful for car travel and other situations where your Beagle needs to keep out of harm’s way when staying over with friends and family. Be patient while crate training, and it won’t be long before your Beagle enjoys being in his crate.