Update: Check out my article on Zen Crate Training. 😉
Are you looking for a Great Dane or Midwest colossal crate? Or the famous life stages dog crate. Giant dog crates to small designer dog enclosures, we can guide you on the right choice for your dog & how to teach your dog to love his crate. Crate training your dog is generally a wonderful tool that can be used to help with potty training, destructive chewing, disruptive behavior & a safe place for your dog to “get away”. It is also less stressful on your dog when he is boarded, has overnight vet care or groomed if he has a positive relationship with being confined.
A crate will be a very important management tool for you until your dog realizes the rules of the house. It will also be a safe haven for him when he needs to retreat from stressful situations such as thunderstorms or large family gatherings. Do allow your dog the privacy he is seeking when he is in his crate.
Benefits Of Using A Crate:
- Aids in house training
- Keeps your dog safe
- It’s a quite place to rest
- Reduces destructiveness
- Makes traveling safe
- You will need to introduce the crate gradually.
Go only as fast as your dog’s comfort level, typically a week to several weeks if you work diligently on crate training exercises. You want to make a HUGE positive association with your dog being in his crate.
- Keeping your dog’s crate in a bedroom at night will help your puppy feel secure.
- Your dog’s crate should be big enough for him to stand up fully & turn around and lie down comfortably. You do not want it too small where he feels cramped or too large where he can potty in a corner.
- Start by having some tasty treats and toss them into the crate. When your dog goes into the crate, tell him what a good dog he is, and toss some more inside. When he comes out of the crate, and looks at you for some more, just ignore him. Toss a few more into the crate and repeat. Pretty soon, he will go in on his own, then toss LOTS of treats (organic treats for dogs preferred) inside the crate & praise him for being so smart.
- Next, session, repeat sequence before, this time, when he’s inside the crate, shut the door and feed him treats through the opening while telling him how wonderful he is. Open the crate door to let him out, and repeat. Each time increasing the time the door is shut.
* Once your dog is eagerly going in and out of his crate, start feeding him his meals inside his crate with the door shut.
* Keep the crate door open during the day, and anytime you notice your dog going into it, tell him how wonderful he is, and toss him a dog treat. You can also leave treats in the crate for him to find on his own.
* One very important thing in crate training is not to let your dog out of his crate if he is crying or barking. This only reinforces him for barking, and he will soon learn that barking will get him out. Exactly what you don’t want to teach him! You must wait for him to settle back down before letting him out.
- Start to have your dog inside his crate with a great stuffed Kong™ for about 15 minutes while you are doing other things around the house. Check back with your dog frequently so he knows you are nearby, but ignore him & go on with your business. Repeat this process at various times throughout the day(s) varying the time he is in his crate. 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 5 minutes etc. don’t always go up in time.
- When you are successful at this level for 30 minutes, do the same set-up, this time actually leaving the house.
* It is recommended that you remove your dog’s collar for safety purposes.
* When leaving your dog in his crate for extended periods of time, leave a safe & appropriate chew toy. A stuffed Kong, ™ is a good choice. It is extremely important to make sure that the toys & bones you choose will not be destroyed when you are not supervising him.
- Crates can be weaned off gradually after the dog is fully housetrained and trustworthy (1-3 years). However, always leave the crate door open, you’ll be surprised to see how much your dog loves his den!
A word of caution: Please be thoughtful when using your dog’s crate. Dogs left alone too long can suffer from lack of social contact, physical exercise & mental exercise. Common sense tells us that crating a dog longer than he comfortably can “hold it” is too long. Dogs left in their crate for more than 6 hours should have a potty break & exercise break in-between.
Types of dog crates: Dog crates come in all shapes & sizes. From the small Chihuahua sized dog crate or dog kennel, to a giant, XL large Great Dane crate. Travel dog crates, airplane pet carriers, plastic Vari Dog Kennels, to open wired Petmate or Midwest Crates. The options are great.
My personal go-to dog crate is a small wire dog crate like from Petmate or Midwest Pet Products. I usually follow that up with a dog crate cover & durable dog bed or pet crate pads. Visit our favorite dog beds here. Through in some calming canine music like Through a Dog’s Ear: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion, Volume 1, Comfort Zone with DAP for Dogs Diffuser and Single Refill we are ready to rock & roll.
- If you need help potty training your dog, click here for our post.
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