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Crate Training Your Puppy

What is crate training and why can it be useful to have your dog crate trained? This article will discuss what it is, when it is appropriate, and how to go about crate training your dog in such a way that he enjoys being in his crate for small periods of time.

Why It Is Important to Crate Train Your Puppy

Crate training is very helpful especially in the initial stages when potty training your puppy. However, crate training is not something to be done in order to have your dog spend long periods of time in his crate without breaks and without human interaction. The crate is not his permanent home, just a tool that can be used to further other portions of your dog’s training.

The most important reason to crate train your dog is that it will help with potty training. Dogs do not enjoy soiling in their dens. So, while in their crates, dogs will be less likely to have an accident. This can speed up the potty training process.

In addition, your dog should be comfortable being in a crate so that you can easily transport him in a crate, if needed.

Tools and Materials Needed to Crate Train Your Dog

A crate – it should be just large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in

Food or treats

How to Crate Train Your Dog

A lot of the process of crate training involves how you make the crate seem to your pup. You should never use the crate as a place for punishment. This will make your puppy have negative associations with his crate and you do not want that.

First, allow your dog to get to know the crate without any pressure. Leave the crate in an area where you and your pup can be together. Keep the crate door open and pup your dog’s bed of favorite blanket in the crate. Allow your dog to explore the crate, going in and out of it freely. Do not rush to shut the door. Your goal in this step is to have your dog feel safe and comfortable in and around the crate.

You can add some treats or food to the crate to entice him to go in and explore if he is a little fearful. If your dog is not interested in food or treats, try tossing his favorite toy in the crate.

It is very important that you do not rush this step! The crate must be a place where your dog feels comfortable, so take your time and allow him to explore it on his own terms. Never force your dog into the crate.

Once your dog is comfortable with the crate and shows no signs of fear, you can begin feeding him in the crate. This will allow him to experience something pleasant in the crate, thus making it a safe space for him.

While your dog is eating in his crate, close the door. Leave him in there for a short period of time after he has eaten (10-20 minutes) and then let him out again.

When your dog gets to the point where he loves going into his crate for his meals, you can start to leave him for longer periods of time. Before leaving the house and leaving your dog in the crate for the first time, try it out while you are home but out of sight. That way you can assess your dog’s reaction to being left in the crate while no one is around.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Do not make a big deal out of leaving. No long goodbyes to your dog as this can generate anxiety and create separation issues. Crate your dog normally and always remember to have a positive association. Tossing a treat in the crate is usually a good way to get your dog to go in happily.

When you get back home, do not greet your dog enthusiastically or reward hyper behavior. Wait until your dog has calmed down in his crate before letting him out. This will teach him that calm behavior will be rewarded, rather than hyper behavior. This will also decrease the chances of him undergoing separation anxiety.

Do not leave toys in the crate that he may choke on. Most times it is best to supervise your dog while he plays with his toys.

Consider taking off his collar while he is in the crate so there is no change of it getting caught in anything.

And, do not forget this crucial point – the crate must be a positive place. Never punish your dog by sending him to his crate!

Hiring a Dog Walking Service Can Help

You do not want the crate to be a place of confinement for your dog for hours on end each day. If you have to work long hours, it is a good idea to hire a dog walking service that can come and let your puppy out one or more times during your work day.

Want to set up dog walking visits tailor-made to your puppy’s needs? Contact us today!

What Do the Experts Say?

Cesar Milan

Puppy Crate Training Made Easy

https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/lifecycle/puppies/Puppy-crate-training-made-easy

Victoria Stilwell

How to Get Your Puppy to Enjoy the Crate

https://positively.com/dog-behavior/basic-cues/how-to-get-your-dog-to-enjoy-the-crate/

Read More Dog Training Articles

Did you enjoy this article? Read more articles in our series:

Train Your Dog to Leave It

Teach Your Dog to Drop It

How to Train Your Dog to Heel

Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Potty Training Your Puppy

Teaching Your Dog to Sit

Does your puppy love his crate?

Caroline Kellam

Caroline Kellam

Caroline Kellam is the co-owner of PAWSitive Strides Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services and a huge animal lover. She and her husband, Brian, share their home with six (yes, you read it right, six!) rescued dogs and three cockatiels (one of which was found on a neighbor's roof). She would love to have a cat or two as well, but the dogs (and the birds) will simply not stand for it.
Caroline Kellam

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