The Dog Word

Crate Training

Learn all about crate training and how to get your dog comfortable in the crate.

Crate training is a benefit to owners for a multitude of reasons. It makes travelling especially easy, but it can help in situations where a person comes to the house who is fearful. It can help to prevent destructive behaviors and be a place of comfort for your dog. To start crate training, you will need to purchase a crate that is right for your pup’s size. The next step will be creating a lot of positive associations, so your dog eventually really does find comfort in the space. You’ll both sleep better at night.

Crate Training

Type of Crate to Use

Use a crate with lots of ventilation. Wire crates are ideal because they allow the maximum air circulation, however plastic or fiber glass crates can work to. Of course comfort matters as well and using crates with a wire floor might not be the best choice. Sometimes it might actually cause sore paws for pets. Adding a crate pad will help in adding comfort.

Crate Size

The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down. If you provide a crate that is to large this could tempt your dog to do its business in one of the corners, so don’t get a xlarge crate for a small dog. Your dog should not go to the bathroom in the crate, so another benefit to crate training is that it is a great tool to use in housetraining.

How to: Crate Training your Dog

If you really want to get your dog to fall in love with and feel secure in his crate all you have to do is make it a place he consistently has positive experiences. This can be done in a number of ways and we recommend using all of them. This might sound harder to do than it actually is. Dogs will learn to love there space so don’t get to worried about it. To start you won’t want to close the door but get them use to sleeping comfortably in there. Use our tips below to create that positive experience and get your puppy comfortable. Eventually it will be the space they love and you can lock them in there at nighttime and for other periods of time when necessary. The crate can become a source of comfort for your dog if you use the following suggestions:

*  If your puppy is new to the family gradually introduce the crate into his life after a few days of being at home with you. Usually puppies are lonely after first being away from their litter and need a bit of extra comfort.

*  Feed your dog in the crate. You can leave the door open to just get them comfortable in this space. 

*  After a draining play session or long walk your dog will want to take a nap so place his favorite treat or bone in the crate. Make sure your dog notices and encourage them to it. They will likely chew until they pass out.

*  Keep the crate in a busy place where the family spends their time, not hidden away. This will make it a place for them to relax comfortably, even when they aren’t locked in, as dogs typically want to be close to the family.

* Drain your pup of energy before trying to crate them, including a play session and/or long walk so they aren’t going to be restless.

*  Always praise them when they enter the crate.

* Wait until your dog is asleep until you lock them in until they get use to it.

*Make sure they have gone to the bathroom before crating for several hours.

*  Remember the ultimate goal is to associate the crate with the most positive experiences your dog has, especially in his first few weeks with you

Crate Don’ts

Do not leave your dog in a crate all day and night. As a general rule you should not crate your dog longer than 4 hours during the day. If you will be gone for more than 4 hours consider an alternative to the crate, like a portable mesh fence that gives your dog proper space to stretch and walk around.

Also do not shut them in when they are upset or not calm. Always ensure your dog is calm before you lock them in the crate. You could cause them undo anxiety which leads to behavioral and physical issues. This could lead to barking and attempts to destroy their crate from the inside out. Your job is to make the crate a place of comfort for them.

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