Crate training is a way to provide your pet with a safe and secure place whenever it is needed by your dog or by you. If used in a positive way, a crate will be a beneficial addition for training your dog.
To begin training your dog to use the crate, put it in an area of the house where your dog will not feel he is being excluded from his pack, which is you and any other family members. It may help to initially start using the crate in the area where the dog’s human companions spend the majority of their time in the house. Once the dog is used to the crate, you can move it to a quiet area such as a bedroom.
When you first set up the crate, keep the comfort of your dog in mind. Put a pad or blanket on the floor of the crate to make it a more comfortable place for your dog to rest. Put a favorite chew toy, stuffed animal or other object that gives them comfort in the crate. Think of the crate as their den or room. You like your room to feel comfortable and safe – a place to retreat to – and so does your dog.
Reward Not Punishment
In the beginning, some dogs may fuss and refuse to go in to a crate. Don’t make it a battle. Make it a positive accomplishment for the dog. Use a calm voice whenever you want your dog to go in the crate. If necessary in the beginning, gently lead the dog into the crate while wearing a leash. Use a CANIDAE Pure Heaven Biscuit to lead the dog in, then praise your dog for going in and give them the treat after they have entered. Repeat the praise and reward until your dog is used to going into the crate.
Leave the Door Open
To keep your dog from feeling trapped or punished when they are getting used to being in the crate, leave the crate door open once they are inside. Put a treat inside and let your dog find it on their own. It will just be another part of their environment they will begin to associate with positive feelings, and not a strange place they are forced to enter under duress or punishment.
Reward and praise after you close the door when they are getting used to being inside the crate, so they learn to understand that the crate is a good thing and a positive place to be.
Once your dog is used to the crate, you may find that they will retreat to the crate on their own when they feel tired, stressed, frightened or even ill. It is their private safe space. Once the crate is placed in its more permanent setting, leave the door open so your dog can go in and out of it at will, unless you need them to be closed in for any reason. If the dog is comfortable and used to the crate, closing the door to keep them restrained when it is necessary won’t be an issue.
Make the crate a place the dog likes to be, feels comfortable in and even seeks out voluntarily. A crate is a positive tool for dog training and safety. Never make it a place to go as punishment, or your dog will associate the crate as a negative place and refuse to enter it at times you really need them to be in the crate.
Top photo by Taro the Shiba Inu
Bottom photo by kerrycrow
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch