Duluth Dog Trainer on How to Train Your Dog to Love the Crate

Puppy Crate Training

Crating is the mantra for many of today’s dog parents.  It can save your furniture, your shoes, and your sanity when training a destructive puppy, and can be the refuge for an older dog in a chaotic house.  Despite crates being the savior for many new puppy owners. They are sometimes impossible to introduce to their dog.

Fortunately, training your pet to enjoy their crate is a matter of lots of treats and gentle introduction, no matter the age of the dog.  Follow these simple steps on Crating your dog, and you find a more secure and well-adjusted dog.


Why You Should Crate:

In the wild, your dog would naturally seek out a secure area to make themselves feel secure and comfortable.  Despite getting comfortable on the carpet and eating Kibble, dogs still retain this instinct to seek out a dark, cave-like enclosure.  Providing them a designated space to satisfy this need will create an area for them to relax and call their own.

In addition to maintaining a dog-only space, Crating your pet will keep them out of trouble while puppies or new additions learn impulse control. By Crating your dog, they are learning new household manners. You are helping them to control their instinct to destroy out of boredom, and learning to control their bladders.

What to Look for In a Crate

The ideal crate depends on the size of the dog.  A dog should have room enough to turn around in and stand up comfortably, but not more than that.  If renting a crate for a growing puppy isn’t an option, buy the size that will suit them when fully grown.  While too small is not good, too big isn’t either; puppies will be more likely to use part of the space to eliminate in if given enough room.  By purchasing a crate new at a pet supplies store, you are ensuring your purchase is safe and approved for a puppy.

The location of the crate is also important.  It should be kept out of the way of heavy traffic, but also in a location where the family spends a lot of time. Many dogs prefer to stay close to people, even while taking a break.  During the initial stages of training, a crate should also be kept close to the bedroom for night crating to make the dog feel safe.  It can then be slowly moved out to general areas when the dog feels comfortable.

How to Get Your Dog to Love Their Crate

The number one mistake of new pet owners is introducing the crate in a way that makes the dog hate it.  Using the crate as a punishment space, crating for too long, or using a crate with no adjustment period are all excellent ways to make a dog hate their crate.  Crating is not a quick fix for behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, and should be introduced positively to reap the benefits.  Through careful training, your dog can learn it is a positive place instead of a someplace to dread.

Once the perfect crate is purchased and placed in the ideal location, you can start the introduction to your dog.  The key to success is a slow introduction with lots of treats.  Start by placing treats just inside the entrance to the crate.  Let the dog get comfortable retrieving treats from further inside the crate.  Always leave the door open, and stop whenever the dog becomes uncomfortable.  Start saying the command word, such as “kennel” or “crate” to let them associate the word with the location.

Crate Timing

If the dog seems comfortable, introduce feeding times in the crate, again, always leaving the door open.  Once they are happy eating in the crate, try closing the door during mealtimes.  Start closing the door during mealtimes, at first for only a minute, then extending the time to thirty minutes with the door close.  Immediately open the door if the dog becomes distressed.  Once thirty minutes with the door close is reached, it is now time to graduate by leaving the room.  Work on leaving the room, and eventually the house, for longer periods of time until the dog is happy in the crate for up to three hours.  Make sure to give regular bathroom breaks and access to water during longer stays.

Within three weeks, it is entirely possible to have most dogs happily spending time in their crate.  Crating can bring amazing results, especially when housebreaking a new dog or puppy, and requires only a little bit of patience.  Many dogs adapt very quickly to positive crate time and are happy to use the space as their own.  For the reluctant dogs, slow and calm will win the battle, and always back off if the dog becomes uncomfortable.

Share Your Story

Are there any success stories for our readers?  Let us know in the comments your story of teaching to Crate. If you have a new puppy, or a rescue dog, one of our dog trainers would be happy to give you a free 15 minutes telephone consultation or call an schedule a home visit. Your dog doesn’t have to be a puppy to learn how to love their crate. We can help!  Give us a call 770-695-3096 or email our lead dog trainer Daylan, at daylan@2pawsupinc.com



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