Crate training is a fundamental part of most puppy or dog ownership. Whether you’re training an adult dog, or raising a puppy, it’s important to correctly teach the dog about the crate. Teaching your dog how to behave in the crate will minimize disturbances and stress, and ensure that everyone can enjoy a delightful night’s sleep. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to crate train your dog.
What is crate training?
Crate training is a dog training technique that may seem unpleasant at first, but it can be very beneficial. Crate training involves the confinement of an animal to a small space, which is made of comfortable bedding material. A crate may also be used as a form of transportation for animals.
When dogs are trained to go into their crates on command, they can associate the crate with being secure. This will help your dog enjoy being in their crate when you leave them alone or when they have to travel.
Why crate train your dog?
Crate training is an essential part of dog ownership. Dogs are creatures of habit, and if they know what to expect when it comes to living in their home environment, they’ll be less likely to act out. Consistency with crate training will help your dog feel secure and relaxed in its home.
Additionally, dogs that are crate trained can be left alone without having to worry about accidents or behaviors that might worry neighbors or scare away visitors.
You should also consider crate training for dogs that have anxiety or fear issues. A crate can provide a safe space where the dog feels comfortable and secure, which makes them less likely to act out in other areas of the house.
How to Choose the Best Crate for Dogs
The first step is to choose the right crate for your dog. You want to find a crate that will be the perfect size for your dog, without being too small or too big.
If you have a large breed of dog, you’ll want to buy a crate that’s at least four times their body length plus their body height or wider than their shoulders.
If you have a small breed of dog, you will get away with using any size crate, but it should still be big enough for them to comfortably lie down in.
As for material, metal or plastic are both good options. Metal crates are typically more expensive and are heavier duty than plastic crates. Plastic crates are lightweight and easier to carry with you when traveling.
Introduce Your Dog To Their Crate
The first step to crate training is introducing your dog to their crate.
Start by putting a favorite toy or blanket inside the crate and let your dog investigate on his own. If your dog seems scared, try rubbing his ears and talking in a calming voice. After they’re comfortable, you can put them in the crate for short periods of time with the door open. Then, slowly extend the time you leave them in there until it becomes longer than 10 minutes.
Dogs may be reluctant to enter at first so you can lure them with treats or toys. Once they go in on their own, you’ll know that they’re ready to be introduced to the rest of the steps!
Set up the Crate Comfortably For Your Dog
Before you begin, it’s important to set up the crate so your dog can feel comfortable during their confinement. Crates are not supposed to be used as punishment, but as a positive reinforcement tool.
The first step is to find a spacious crate for your pet. You should look for something that is just large enough for them to stand up and turn around without touching the sides or back of the crate.
After you’ve found the perfect size crate, it’s time to decide which type of bedding you want to use in the crate. This will depend on how quickly your dog prefers to go potty and what types of surfaces they prefer while laying down. Plastic might be too slippery and require some sort of matting while cloth may be too warm and need air flow underneath it.
Finally, make sure everything is clean before putting your dog into their new home! This means vacuuming or sweeping, mopping or scrubbing, then wiping down all surfaces with a disinfectant cleaner before placing any food or water bowls inside the crate and filling them with fresh water and food.
Teach Crate Tolerance To Your Dog
The crate should be introduced to your dog gradually, so your pet will understand the purpose of the crate. Start by putting their favorite toy or bone in the crate, and place it near you. As they explore the space, praise them for good behavior. Eventually, you should be able to feed them their meals inside the crate.
Now that your dog is accustomed to being in the crate with a treat, you can start feeding them there with no treats. If they show signs of stress or discomfort, remove them from the crate and try again later.
Once your dog is comfortable spending time in a closed space, it’s time to close off most of the entrance area to make it easier for them. The goal is that they become more comfortable with a small opening, which leads into a larger area with toys and goodies.
Eventually, they will be comfortable enough in a closed space that they won’t mind staying in an enclosed area on their own when you’re not around!
Extend Crate Training Time
When you first introduce the crate to your dog, it’s important to limit training sessions to only ten minutes. Otherwise, your dog may quickly come to dislike the crate and have a hard time learning how to behave properly in it.
Additionally, if you leave your pup in the crate for too long, they may become restless. This can be harmful for their mental wellbeing, as well as the surrounding space.
It’s essential that you escalate the time spent in the crate each day until it reaches an hour. Once your dog is comfortable with one hour of uninterrupted time in the crate, they’ll be ready for night-time sleep!
Troubleshooting Crate Training
Congratulations! You successfully trained your dog to stay in the crate. But now you’re wondering, “What’s next?”
Well, there are two things left to take care of. The first is teaching your dog to like his crate. The second is teaching him how long he can be in it at a time.
If your dog doesn’t like the crate, he’ll want to escape as soon as you put him in it. This will make it difficult for you to get any sleep because he’ll be whining and barking the whole time. For this reason, you want your dog to enjoy being in the crate so that you can all have a good night’s sleep!
To teach your dog how much they can be in their crate at a time, focus on positive reinforcement behavior rather than punishing them for getting out of the crate or going potty inside it. If you catch them before they go potty inside, reward them with a treat and praise them when they go outside of the crate.
When To Stop Crate Training
It’s important to keep your dog in the crate as long as possible during the day. This means that you should spend as much time as possible with them before they go into the crate at night. If your dog is still too young to be left alone for over four hours, make sure they stay in their crate when you’re not home.
If they are still young, the goal is to make them feel like this is their “safe place.” You want to make it comfortable for them, so they want to spend time there without feeling like it’s a punishment.
Crate training is a process that helps you and your dog adjust to living together in the same space. It helps with potty training, which is a tremendous advantage when you’re not home to take your dog outside. Dogs feel safe and comfortable in their crates and don’t want to soil in their own space. Crates can also be used for training, and most times, when you travel with your dog.
Make sure the crate is the right size when you purchase it so your dog can stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. The crate should also have a removable floor mat and bedding so you can quickly clean up accidents.
There are many benefits to crate training your dog. It teaches them self-control and house-training, reduces anxiety, and keeps them safe while you’re out of the house.