Crate training is a great resource for house training and dog safety.
Since dogs do not like to relieve themselves where they sleep, it’s a good way to get them to learn how to go potty outside. It is also a perfectly safe place for them to find solace from a busy home. Plus, you can have a little peace of mind that they (and your shoes) are safe while you’re not able to watch them.
When you teach your dog about the crate correctly, it will tap into their instincts as a den animal. It may seem daunting, but you can easily crate train without a headache.
Step 1: Introduce them to the crate
The first thing you need to do is: introduce your dog to their new crate. Set it up where you spend the most time, like the family room. Leave the door off to start so they feel free to explore naturally. If they already have a favorite blanket or towel with their scent on it, put that in the crate along with their favorite toy. Some dogs will take to a crate immediately, while others do not. Don’t force them to go in. Talk about it with a happy tone and put treats around and in it to help them explore.
Step 2: Serve meals there
When you start feeding them their regular meals in the crate you create a positive association. Push the bowl all the way back if they are comfortable in the crate, if they are not, just push it in as far as they are willing to go. Once your dog is in and eating shut the door. For the first few times, open the door as soon as they are done eating, but then start to increase their time in the crate.
Step 3: Slowly increase crating periods
Once they get used to the idea of the crate, start putting them in it with a treat for short periods when you are home. Don’t leave them alone in it quite yet. Use queue words like crate, kennel or even night-night to get them used to the command. Do this several times a day for a few days.
Step 4: Put your dog in the crate when you leave
After they can stay in for about 30 minutes without a fuss you can start to leave them in the crate when you go out. Continue using your que word commands, leave them a few treats and toys, then quietly leave. When you first start, try not to be gone too long. Don’t reward your dog for excited behavior when you return home. Keep it neutral so they don’t get overly active when you let them out.
Step 5: Start to crate them overnight
By now your dog should be ready to start spending the night in their crate. For this, you may want to make sure the crate is within earshot, in case they need to go potty during the middle of the night (especially for puppies or newly housebroken dogs). You can always slowly move it to where you want it, as they are able to go all night in the crate without needing to go out.
How NOT to use the crate
● Never use a crate as punishment
● Do not use if your dog is sick with diarrhea or vomiting
● Ask a vet before using if your dog has separation anxiety
● Do not over crate, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and companionship. A puppy should be able to hold “it” for one hour per month of age
If you crate your dog and plan on being gone for an extended period of time make sure to call a dog walker to set up some play time for your dog. Interaction and exercise are extremely important for your dog’s mental and physical health.
An Exercised Dog is a Peaceful Dog!
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