How to properly use a crate

In a previous article we wrote about what size of crate you should buy for your bulldog. Once you do have a properly sized crate, you will need to have a fundamental understanding of the do’s and don’ts of crate training.
Crating Philosophy
When considering the natural habitation of a canine, often times its home is a den, cave or similar close quartered shelter. They used this space as their home, to sleep, escape from danger and to raise their young. Obviously, your bulldog would not appreciate roughing it out in the wild, but they still find comfort resting in a space that is similar to the original shelters occupied by their canine ancestors. On some days, it feels like our bulldogs have decided to claim the entire house as their den, but we know they find comfort and ownership in their crate as an escape from the clamor that a busy house can create.
Certainly the crate can be a great tool and outlet for your bulldog IF used properly. As useful as crates can be they are often one of the most abused resources an adopter. There is much, unneeded controversy on the use of a crate that has stemmed from irresponsible dog owners abusing their purpose. As concerned bulldog breeders, we make sure to take the time to explain to our adopters the proper and improper uses of a crate.
What a crate is to be used for…
• Potty training You will be encouraging control, establishing a regular routine for outdoor potty breaks, and helping to prevent “accidents” at night or when left alone. For a further in depth explanation of this process please read this previous article we wrote on the matter.
• Limit access to the house while you aren’t home (for short periods of time) While starting the potty training process and as you build trust in your bulldog, you will want to control any unsupervised time by crating him/her. With that being said you should LIMIT the amount of time that your bulldog spends in their crate. We like to use the 4 hour rule at our house for an adult bulldog and the 2 hour limit for our puppies. Any time past these limits, we would seriously consider arranging someone dropping by the house to let them out and move around.
• Transporting your bully in the car A crate provides a safe place for you bully to travel with you in the car (especially long trips). We have found they love to snooze in their crate when road-tripping with us.
• Sleeping Once your bully is completely potty trained it is ok to sleep outside the crate, but we have found they often prefer their crate as a place of comfort as they grow older.
• Escaping from too much commotion The crate should be a place that your bulldog voluntarily goes into; they should feel that the crate is their home! Crates are an escape haven for your bulldog when the house is busy and there is just too much commotion.
What a crate is NOT to be used for…
• Punishment We cannot repeat this enough! Do not use a crate as punishment for your bulldog! The crate should be a place that your bulldog likes going and if you use it for punishment they will not want to go into their crate.
• Long periods of time Puppies under six months of age shouldn’t stay in a crate for more than a few hours at a time. They cannot hold their bladder that long and they should not be expected to! A crate is not a way of life for a dog, if you are working 8-10 hours a day, coming home and letting your bulldog out for a few hours and then putting them back in their crate for 8 hours of sleeping you are not being fair to your bulldog. Eventually, behavioral issues will start to show simply from a lack of attention. If being home all day is not a option for you and you have to crate your bulldog we encourage you to look for another option… possibly having a family member dog sit, adjust your schedule or look for a trust worthy doggie daycare.
Crating caution!
Remember that a crate is a tool to be used for training NOT a way of life! A crate isn’t a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated.