Crate training can be beneficial to both human and canine companion if done correctly. The crate provides your dog a safe, quiet place to retreat from stressful situations and creates a recovery zone for your pooch after medical procedures when rest is what the doctor orders. Crates are also key in house training and eliminating destructive behavior and can be helpful during travel.
Follow these easy steps to get your dog off on the right paw:
- Size Matters – Make sure your pup can easily stand up, turn around and lay down in his crate. Most crates come with a divider that comes in handy for puppies during house training and allows the crate to grow with your dog
- Start Slow – Introduce the crate to your dog by leaving the door open and tossing treats inside to encourage them to explore the crate. Once your dog is going in the crate willingly to retrieve her treats begin to close the door behind her for a few seconds before allowing her out. Gradually increase the time the door is closed until she is comfortable inside for longer periods.
- Create Positive Associations – Help your pup learn to love his crate by feeding him his meals inside the crate. Be sure to provide toys and a chew bone or stuffed Kong to occupy him when he’s crated for extended periods
- Put It On Cue – Ask your dog to “go to your crate” and reward with a small treat for going inside; repeat. Leave the door open between training sessions so your dog can relax inside
- Tough Love – Ignore problem behaviors like whining in the crate. Wait until your dog is quiet before allowing him out in order to instill calm behavior in his den
- Use Wisely – Never use the crate as a punishment or “time out” place for your dog. A time out spot is an effective tool for eliminating undesirable behavior but has no place sharing your dog’s safe spot
- Play Time – Be sure your pup has adequate exercise and time outside the crate. Using the crate excessively – think 15 hours a day – is a surefire way to create a pup who runs when it’s time to go to his crate
- Cozy Up – Give your dog soft bedding or blankets (unless he’s the type to destroy these items) in his crate. Some dogs also prefer the crate to be covered with a blanket to create a dark den.