Marsh's MINIATURE AMERICAN SHEPHERDS, "Marsh's MAS" Located in Nova Scotia, Canada. Contact us:

Crate Training 

Marsh's MAS recommend the use of a Crate for your Dogs entire life, especially for the first year! Here we will answer the most common questions and concerns about crate training.  

       Have you ever noticed your dog enjoys laying under the table, bed or curled up in the closet or corner? Dogs naturally seek out quiet, den like spaces to sleep and rest. Your dogs crate will become their "den"... A safe spot for them to call their own.


Benefits of Crate Training 

Benefits for the 
Dog Owner

  •  A sense of security  Knowing that their dog is SAFE from harm and is not developing any bad habits when the dog is left alone, unsupervised.
  • Gives a place where the dog can be confined during busy/social times: meal time, during family activities, or when guests come over etc...
  • Helps establish housebreaking quicker. The crate is used to encourage self control, prevent accidents overnight or when left unsupervised, and to help establish a elimination routine.
  • Enjoy car outings with your dog without the danger of the dog distracting the driver, or having the dog jump out the window/door and run off/getting lost or injured. Also prevents the dog from flying through the windshield if vehicle gets into an accident.
  • Is a secure safe place to confine your dog when staying at an apartment or when staying with family/friends.

Benefits for the Puppy/Dog

  •  A private and secure place for the dog to retreat to when feeling tired, stressed or ill. Also a great spot to chew on their favorite toy.
  • Enables the dog to be confined in the house where they can still see and hear the family activities, rather then being isolated in an outbuilding/garage or outside where they would be lonely.
  • Easier for the dog to learn elimination expectation by following a routine and they more quickly learn to control elimination by not wanting to dirty their den.
  • Dog will be happier being included in family outings, visits and vacations instead of being left at home or at a boarding kennel. (The more time your dog spends with you, the deeper your bond will be :)
  • Dog avoids the fear/confusion/ punishment feeling that would have resulted from your reaction to an unwanted behaviour that could have been prevented by using a crate.

The 2 Most Common Types of Crates and there
Pro's and Con's

Wire Mesh Crate 

Plastic Airline Crate 

  •  Comes in a variety of colours and sizes.
  • Wire is durable and is hard for the dog to destroy.
  • Quickly collaspes for easy travel and storage.
  • Very light weight.
  • Total ventilation.
  • Total vision.
  • Less private and harder to block out surrounding activities.
  • Removable tray for easy cleaning.
  • Not suitable for air travel

  •  Comes in a variety of colours and sizes.
  • Plastic is less durable and can be chewed and scratched by the puppy/dog.
  • Usually secures with screws and takes time to take apart.
  • Has more material, thus is heavier.
  • Restricted ventilation.
  • Restricted vision.
  • More private and offers more security.
  • Must be taken apart to clean, time consuming.
  • Perfect for air travel

We start our puppies with puppy sized, plastic crates in hopes that they feel more safe and secure while getting use to their crate. 
For ventilation and hygiene purposes, our adult dogs use the largest wire crates we can find :)

 What size crate does your puppy need?

A crate should always allow the dog to:

  • Sit up straight, without the dog hitting their head on the top of the crate.
  • Stand and turn in a complete circle.
  • Lay on their side and fully stretch out, without feeling cramped.

For Puppies:

  • Measure your puppy from the tip of their nose, to the base of their tail (do not include tail length).  
  • Then add a couple inches to cover their anticipated rapid growth.

If a smaller puppy crate is unavailable for temporary use, you can reduce the size of an adult sized crate by adding a divider panel or a box to the correct size. A proper sized crate will promote elimination self control as well as provide a cozy place where your puppy will feel safe and secure.

Where should you put the crate? 

  • To keep your puppy/dog as close to the family as possible, keep your dogs crate in one of the common rooms of the house (family/living room or kitchen). *Some families choose to move the crate into their bedroom at night time, or have multiple crates for multiple rooms. 
  • Choose a location free from any drafts and not to close to a direct heat source.
  • To add some privacy and stability, place the crate against a fixed object like a wall or the back of a couch etc. Also some owners place blankets on the top of the crate to block out their surrounding and or add warmth to the crate.

 Introducing The Crate

  Marsh MAS puppies are introduced and acclimated to puppy sized, plastic crates starting at 6 weeks of age. We start by adding 1 crate per puppy to their whelping rooms. For the first week, we keep the doors off the crates so that the puppies can go in and out freely. This week is all about the puppies getting use to their new "dens". Puppies are encouraged to go inside their crate with the use of treats (usually cheese). Puppies are never forced into their crates and all experiences are meant to be fun. 

Around 10-12 weeks of age, most MAS puppies will be sleeping all night long without the need to eliminate. This is when to start formal crate training.

 Caution! Use- But do not ABUSE

  • Puppies should have access to water when crated during the day.
  • During the day, a puppy under 6 months should not be left in their crate for more then 3-4 hours at a time. If you are working a day shift, try coming home at lunch time for a potty break and a quick play time or try hiring a pet sitter.
  • Puppies who must be left for over 4 hours should be given a larger space like a dog proofed room or play pen. The space should be large enough for a separate sleeping and elimination area, as well as a spot to eat/ drink and play.
  • A crate is not an excuse to ignore your dog!


More Crate Training Tips

  • To prevent mistakes or harm to your puppy, do NOT allow your puppy to have free run of your house. Your Puppy needs 100% supervision (much like a toddler child does). If you must take your eyes off your puppy, even just quickly to use the washroom or to answer the phone, crate your puppy or take them with you.
  • Crate your puppy only after they have relieved themselves AND after they have been exercised.
  • Take your puppy outside to eliminate at least once every 3-4 hours until they are 6 months old.
  • Take your puppy outside to eliminate after EVERY nap, play time, training session, and 15 minutes after each meal.
  • It is you, the puppy owners responsibility to ensure your puppy has ample opportunity to relieve themselves appropriately.
  • Carry your puppy or lead them by leash to their designated "toilet area" and praise them for eliminating outdoors appropriately.
  • Do not allow your puppy out of their crate while they are barking. You do not want the puppy to positively associate barking with being let out of their crate.
  • Give your puppy their favorite toy while they are in their crate to help occupy their mind.
  • Your puppies crate must be kept VERY clean! If your puppy soils their crate, it must be clean thoroughly. The smell of the elimination must be removed or it will encourage your puppy to eliminate there again.
  • Make sure each and every experience in their crate is a pawsitive one :)

Marsh's MINIATURE AMERICAN SHEPHERDS, "Marsh's MAS" Located in Nova Scotia, Canada. Contact us: