Before we got our Border Collie I was always against the idea of crate training. I thought it unnecessary and frankly a little mean. Quite honestly I really did not know what it was all about, or the purpose of it, and simply was against it on principle. Well I was wrong … crate training a Border Collie turns out to be a great way to go. It seemed to me that putting a dog in a little box was the lazy way to raise a dog and, if you had to put them in a box, why in the world even have a dog? Well, like most things I thought I knew about dogs, this was something that I relearned when it came to our Border Collie puppy.
If you are thinking of getting a Border Collie puppy and have some of the same feelings I did about crate training I encourage you to look deeper into it and learn more about the practice. After several talks with the breeder and other owners of the breed (and the fact my wife wanted to do it) I decided to give it a shot. Looking back now, a couple years after we got our puppy, I am very glad we did the crate thing. The dog was happier, we were happier and it turned out to not be that big of an issue at all. (We used this Folding Metal Dog Crate … it was $60 very well spent!)
The first thing I had to understand is that the idea of the crate is not as a place to stick the dog when they misbehave. This had always been my impression of the process. The crate is basically a stand in for the den in the wild (think wolf den). It is a safe place for the dog to rest and sleep in. It gives your puppy a place within your house that he can call his own, it is his spot and no one else’s. The crate must never be used as a punishment and I highly recommend reading up on this in a puppy training book from a professional trainer.
Secondly, I was pleased to learn that instinct will not let the dog relieve himself in the crate. This is very handy! Once we got Ned the Border Collie accustomed to his crate he would sleep in there at night. When we got up in the morning (very early) we’d take him directly from the crate to outside where Natures call was answered. This process made house training the dog really very easy compared to other dogs I’ve had.
Thirdly it was interesting to note that the dog actually liked the darn thing. Once we adopted the crate method very often our Border Collie could be found napping or simply hanging out in his crate. If he could not find a particular toy we would check in his crate and sure enough he would have a stockpile of tennis balls and bones in there. In his chewing days as a puppy, before we redirected him to Kongs, we would find all sorts of things in the crate from shoes and flip-flops to paperback books.
If you have been thinking about crate training really do look into it. It was a great experience for us and for our Border Collie. Look online or grab a puppy training book to get the details on the method. I can tell you one thing; the next puppy we get we will without a doubt be using the crate method. Check it out!