Dog Crate Training:
Dogs are related to wolves. Wolves like to live in small, secure places, and that instinct remains in your dog. Therefore, giving him a place in your home that’s all his own will help him to feel safer and more comfortable. A crate can fulfill this need.
Your dog’s crate should be a place that has only positive memories for your dog. It’s not a place to put him for punishment, nor should he be left there for excessively long periods of time. The best way to make sure your dog has good feelings towards his crate is to make sure he is introduced to it in a positive way. Follow these tips when you introduce your dog to his crate:
- Have the crate waiting when you bring him home. Introduce him to it right after you bring him in.
- Have some dog toys and treats inside with the door closed. This will raise his interest and make the crate that much more appealing. When he paws at the crate, praise him and let him in. Don’t shut the door.
- Don’t praise your dog when he leaves the crate. If you do, he’ll get the idea that you want him to be outside of it, not in it.
- Never force him into the crate. Let him enter it when he wants to.
- After he happily enters and leaves the crate a few times, start shutting the door behind him for a little while. He’ll likely whine and bark when you do so. Don’t worry and don’t let him out until he quiets down. If you let him out in response to his barking he’ll learn that making a racket is the best way to get your attention.
- You can add the command word “crate” when he’s comfortable walking in and out of the crate and staying there for a length of time.
- For the first few nights he’s in your home, try to sleep with the crate in or near your bedroom. If you hear him crying or whining he may need to go to the bathroom. If you know he doesn’t have to go (if you just took him out ten minutes ago, for example), don’t respond or he’ll get the wrong idea.
After your dog has gotten comfortable with his crate it’s time to start leaving him in it for longer periods at a time. This doesn’t mean leaving him all day, though! Try keeping the crate door closed and leaving the room for a half hour. When you come back, let him out and see how he’s doing. Did you hear any crying? Did he have an accident in the crate? Did he greet you like he thought he’d never see you again? If he’s obviously very distressed it might be better to slow things down a little.
Dog Crate training can help your dog feel safe and secure and put you at ease when you have to leave him alone for short periods of time. They’re also very useful for one of the biggest training challenges you and your dog will have to face: housetraining.