Crate training is an important, safe, and easy way to provide your pup with a safe and comfortable place to relax. Many people feel guilty for crate training their pooch, however, dogs can actually seek out enclosed spaces when they’re anxious or looking for a place to relax. Crate training is helpful so that if your dog has to be contained due to visitors or other circumstances, it’s a place of comfort and security – not punishment.
Benefits of Crate Training
No. 1 Housetraining: Crate training prompts your dog to hold their bladder when you’re out of the house.
No. 2 Chew-training: Nobody wants their dog chewing on the furniture! Crate training will help prevent your pooch from chewing your furniture, your walls, or anything else you don’t want to be chewed up. Good habits will automatically form.
No. 3 Settling Down: Your dog will learn that their crate is a place for relaxation and comfort.
No. 4 Close Confinement Comfortability: When a dog becomes comfortable with a crate, they are less likely to experience stress when they need to be caged for travel, doctor’s visits, etc.
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No. 1 The crate should not be used as a form of punishment.
No. 2 Always remove your dog’s collar when leaving them in a crate unattended.
No. 3 Make the crate a fun and safe space. Your dog should have treats, toys, and bedding that he only gets while he’s in his crate.
No. 4 Unless you are certain your dog needs to use the bathroom, don’t open the crate door for crying!
Making the Crate a Fun and Safe Space!
You want the crate to be a space where your dog feels comfortable and at home, so ensure that it is filled with a blanket or bed and favorite toys. Your pup will learn this is a place where they can come to relax and feel safe, making it easier for them to go in the crate when necessary. It is not meant to be a form of punishment and should not be used as one!
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How to Crate Train
When it comes to crate training your dog, slow and steady wins the race. Start by feeding your pup in their crate, with the door open, saying “Crate” each time. Your dog will then begin to associate food with its crate. A few times throughout the day, say “Crate” but give treats instead of their meals.
After your pup becomes comfortable with the crate, you can take it a step further. Give your dog a treat that takes more work to eat (like a Kong filled with peanut butter). Say “Crate” as they go inside and shut the door for a short period of time (just about a minute). Repeat this for a few days until your dog is comfortable with the door closed, then gradually increase the period of time with the door shut. The goal is that eventually they won’t mind the closed door and they will be comfortable for longer periods of time.
Slow and consistent crate training is extremely important so your dog’s first experience alone in a crate is a good one. Before leaving them alone for a long period of time, practice short times away: For example, go away for a snack or drink. Try watching a movie. When you’ve decided time is up, and if the dog is quiet and settled, simply open the door and let them out. Ignore any barking or agitation (remember Rule No. 4) but ensure your pup is safe! This could teach them that if they bark enough, you will let them out.
When they are clearly comfortable in the crate, try leaving the house with the same gradual method in mind. Leave first for a minute, then 5 minutes, then 15, 30, an hour. The dog must be gradually conditioned so they do not associate the crate with punishment or being alone and instead of a place of quiet time and yummy treats.
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