Crate Training Your Dog
Many people think of crate training as an optional step in puppy and dog training. Some people even think of it as overly harsh. There are actually many positive reasons to crate train your dog. You may be surprised to know that most dogs come to love their crates.
Why is Crate Training so Beneficial?
If you want your dog to be calm and obedient, crate training helps. A dog that can stay in a crate quietly is easier to potty train and is less likely to suffer from separation anxiety. You can make this training fun for your dog too!
Preparation for Crate Training your Dog
Before you get started, think ahead about the reasons you want to crate train. Once your puppy or dog can stay in the crate for at least an hour, you’ll be able to take care of chores or leave the house without being concerned that your dog will have an accident or tear things up. You’ll want to build up to leaving your dog alone in the crate, but doing so will also help your dog get relaxed and understand that you always come back. Dogs who accept this early on will be unlikely to develop anxiety when apart from people, otherwise known as separation anxiety.
First Steps in Crate Training
1.Once you are ready to start the process, place the crate in an area that your pup likes to hang out. Open the crate door and just leave it open. Most puppies will investigate and even go inside willingly. They are drawn to the feeling of safety they naturally feel inside a “den.”
2.If your dog is reluctant to go inside, try placing a valuable treat or a favorite toy inside. When the pup even takes a small step inside, give them lots of praise. Once your dog seems comfortable with these steps, encourage them to go all the way inside. If they hesitate, place them inside while praising them. Close the door and evaluate the situation.
3.In a closed crate, some dogs need to start with only a few minutes at a time, and others can stay much longer. In the beginning it will be helpful to give them a small treat for entering, but you will gradually phase out the treats and just offer petting and verbal praise.
4.After a session inside the crate, whether minutes or hours, let your dog out but don’t show any particular emotion. Rewards and praise should be for going in, not for leaving the crate. This will reinforce the idea that entering the crate is a good thing. Coming out of the crate is fine, but not exciting.
5.Some dogs like to have a soft place to lie down inside the crate. You may want to try an old clothing item of yours so they have your scent, or you may want to use the dog’s blanket or a towel. Some dogs do well with a favorite toy or chewie inside. Others will get too enthusiastic or will tear up items placed inside. You can experiment and see what fits your puppy or adult dog.
6.Gradually increase the time inside the crate and the time you spend away from your dog. Your puppy or dog will learn to go in without a fuss and to stay there quietly until you return. Just keep the times age-appropriate when dealing with puppies. Puppies will need to be let out more often to stretch, play and potty.
Be Consistent with Crate Training Work
Crate training your dog is a great building block for other behaviors. It doesn’t have to be hard to crate train as long as you stay consistent. By following these tips you can create the perfect environment for your dog to stay alone safely!