Companion Animal

How to Crate Train Your Dog

May 4 • 4 minute read

A well-sized crate is an excellent way to give your pup a safe and secure space in the home. Crate training gives your canine a cozy and quiet spot to call their own, while also giving you an extra tool to housetrain your dog and reinforce positive behavior.

In order to successfully crate train your dog, it’s crucial that they see the crate as a positive personal place and not a punishment. To achieve this, you should have a clear plan in place that focuses on gradual training and positive reinforcement. Below are some key steps to observe when crate training your dog.

Key Crate Training Steps

Here are the steps to follow when crate training your canine.

1. Introduce the Crate:

Put the dog’s crate in an area of the home where your family spends most of their time, such as your living room. Put a soft towel or blanket inside the crate and ensure the open door is securely fastened to prevent frightening or hitting your dog. Bring your dog close to the crate while talking in a happy tone. You can drop some food close to the crate and inside. Wait patiently until your dog walks calmly into the crate. If your dog is not amused with the treats, you can toss their favorite toy inside the crate. If the dog refuses to go inside the crate the first time, never force them. It may take a few minutes or even days for your pup to get used to the crate.

2. Feed the Dog Meals Inside the Crate:

After introducing the crate, start feeding regular meals inside or close to the crate to create a pleasant association between your dog and the new space. With time, your dog will go inside the crate to eat without feeling anxious or fearful. Once the dog can stand comfortably in their crate while eating, you can close the door and open it after they finish the meal. During each meal, leave the crate door closed for a few minutes longer until your dog can stay inside the crate for ten minutes or more after eating.

3. Condition the Dog to Their Crate for Longer Periods:

Once your dog can eat their meals in the crate without any signs of anxiety or fear, you can start confining them inside for shorter periods while at home. You can achieve this by doing the following:

  • Call your canine to their crate and offer treats
  • Give them a command to enter, for example, “inside your crate.”
  • Point the crate with a treat in your hand to encourage your dog to go inside
  • Sit close to the crate for 5 to 10 minutes and then go to another room for a few minutes
  • Return and sit quietly for another short time and let the dog out of its crate

Repeat this process a few times every day and gradually increase the time you leave the canine in the crate and the time you stay out of sight.

4. Crate Your Dog When Left Alone:

When your dog can stay for 30 minutes or more in the crate without any problem, you can start leaving them crated when you leave the house for short periods. Use regular commands and a treat to put the dog into the crate and leave a few toys in their crate for them. Ensure that the departures are not prolonged to prevent your dog from associating crating with being left alone. You need to keep your arrivals low-key and not reward the exciting behavior your dog may exhibit.

5. Crating Your Dog at Night:

Use your regular command and treat to put the dog inside the crate. Once your dog comfortably sleeps through the night, move the crate gradually to your preferred location. You can reduce the frequency of toilet trips at night by taking water from your healthy puppies a few hours before bedtime.

Why Crate Train?

There are many good reasons for crate training your puppy or dog. One of the major benefits is providing a sense of comfort and security for your pet. Crates provide safe, den-like enclosures that give your dog its own space. This cozy refuge can help your pup feel safe and secure even when you’re away.

A crate can also make it easier to potty train your dog, since most dogs would not soil where they rest. You will be hitting two birds with one stone, as they will learn an essential step of their potty training during the crate training process.

Lastly, crate training help to protect your dog and your home. You cannot closely watch your pup all day, and crate training can save the day. When left alone, puppies may chew anything they can get their teeth on, but keeping them inside the crate keeps curious puppies safe and away from your things when you are not around.

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