So you brought a new pup into your family, you’re excited and likely wondering why crate training a dog is important, and how to go about crate training your dog in the first place?
Worry not in this article we give you the ultimate guide on crate training a dog whether you have a young puppy or an older dog step by step!
Why Crate Training A Dog Is Important?
Crate training a dog or puppy is one of the most important things you can do for your pup and you. Crate training is a great way to prevent your dog from making mistakes in your house while your older dog or puppy is learning the house rules such as, where to go “potty” what objects are acceptable to chew on, and much more.
Recap On Why Crate Train:
Prevent your pup from making mistakes when learning rules
Prevent Potty mistakes when learning correct location
Prevent unwanted chewing when learning appropriate objects
Crate Training Your Dog The Complete Step By Step Guide
When you first get your dog or puppy you may want to allow your pup to roam your house without rules and limitations, but I caution you doing so, soo early with your new dog or pup.
If you allow your pup full freedom of your house unsupervised you are allowing your pup to figure out how to behave indoors by himself instead of guiding and showing your dog how to behave indoors, where to go potty etc..
In this complete guide, we will guide you step by step on crate training a dog so that you never have any confusion or difficulty!
To begin crate training a dog the first step is getting an appropriate crate size for your pup!
The size of your dog’s crate is going to be important for instance if your crate is too large you will run the risk of your dog going “potty” in the crate which defeats the purpose when teaching your dog to go “potty”
If your dog crate that is too small your dog won’t like going inside just to be crammed in a small place.
The right size crate for your pup is big enough that your pup can fully stand up and turn around without any issues but also small enough that your pup can’t just pee in one corner and sleep in another.
Crate Size Recap:
- Big enough to stand comfortably
- Big enough to turn around
- Small enough that your pup won’t potty in one corner and sleep in another
Setting Your Crate Up
Once you have chosen an appropriate crate size the next step is setting up the crate for your pup.
When setting up the crate for your pup there are a couple of things that you need to ensure your dog is set up to succeed when crate training.
First, you will need bowls for water and food, your dog should always have access to water, and only get his food bowl when its feeding time.
Second, you will need a chew toy for your pup, Its important to understanding chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, it’s essentially the equivalent of us watching tv, just plain entertaining.
Doing this will also begin teaching your pup what is an appropriate object to chew on.
What to be aware of when setting up your pup’s crate:
When setting up your dog’s crate you may be thinking of adding a blanket or some sort of fabric for comfort, I recommend doing this with caution it’s not uncommon for dogs to use the fabric you laid for comfort as a chew toy.
I recommend giving it a couple of days before you introduce any sort of comfort such as blankets. That way your dog begins understanding that the chew toys in the crate are meant for chewing. When you begin seeing that your pup is consistently chewing his “chew toy” instead of looking at other objects as chew toys then you can begin adding comfort to your dog’s crate.
Setting Your Dogs Crate Recap:
- Have water bowl available 24/7
- Have food bowl for feeding time
- Provide your pup with chew Toys
- Wait before adding blankets
Introducing The Crate To Your Dog
The initial introduction of the crate to your pup will begin creating either a positive or negative association with your pup depending on how you introduced your dog to the crate.
Even if your dog doesn’t have a positive association with the crate, have no fear was going over how to introduce or reintroduce your pup o the crate so that your dog begins viewing the crate as something positive and enjoyable!
The initial introduction should be a positive experience with your pup, to begin doing this the first thing you want to simply leave the crate door open and not even put your dog in the crate!
Having your dog just see that crate door open and that your dog can walk in and out will begin teaching your dog that the crate isn’t a “big deal.”
To help your pup even further you want to toss your pups food or favorite treat inside the crate with the door open. Doing this begins teaching your pup that walking into the crate gets him rewarded, making the crate a positive experience. Leaving the door open also teaches your dog that nothing happens when your dog walks inside the crate.
Using your pups Food:
Once you are able to successfully get your pup to go and out the crate the next step is to continue creating a positive experience around the crate.
What’s the easiest way to begin creating a positive experience with the crate you ask? Simple, using your dog’s food. You’re going to be feeding your dog anyway so why not feed your dog inside the crate.
When you begin feeding your pup inside the crate your dog quickly begins associating the crate with good things, the more you do this the more you’ll begin to see that your pup will begin going inside the crate more and more!
So use your dog’s scheduled feeding time for crate feeding.
- Use your pup’s food to feed inside the crate
- Do this a couple of times to create a positive association and the crate.
Teaching your dog to stay in the crate for longer periods
Now that you have taken the time to introduce or reintroduce the crate to your dog in a positive manner the next phase is to begin adding duration and increasing the amount of time your dog is in the crate.
How do we begin teaching our dogs to stay in the crate for a long time without creating an issue? Simple, we go about it gradually!
Guide your pup inside the crate: If you have been doing everything we have covered this step is very easy because your pup had been having positive experiences inside the crate so going inside the crate is an enjoyable experience.
Close The Crate Door: Up to this point, we haven’t been closing the door when your pup is in the crate. To go about this in a non-stressful way for your pup we first are going to toss a couple treats or pieces of your pups food. Then while your pup is inside the crate momentarily close the front gate for a couple of seconds and open it again.
Doing this begins teaching your pup that seeing the crate closed is no big deal because you open it back up and because your pup is also being rewarded.
Building Up Duration In The Crate: Now that your pup has been inside the crate with the gate closed now its time to begin increasing the amount of time your pup is inside the crate. To do this you want to gradually increase the amount of time your pup spends inside the crate.
- Guide your pup inside the crate
- Close the gate
- Wait 30 seconds to 1 minute then let your pup out
- Repeat steps 1 & 2 but this time have your pup stay in the crate for 2 minutes then 5, then 10, and 20.
- Gradually increasing the time your pup spends in the crate.
Handling Potential Issues
If you have not gone about crate training a dog properly here is a shortlist of potential issues and how to handle them.
Barking/whining: It’s not uncommon for puppies and dogs to bark when left in the crate, the most important aspect of stopping your dog from barking in the crate is only letting your pup out the crate when he/she stops barking. if you let your pup out when he/she is barking your dog will learn to bark to get let out the crate
Chewing Crate: if you have a dog that is an active chewer one of the best things you can do is provide your pup with an appropriate outlet for chewing. You can do this by giving your pup a chew toy inside the crate.
Separation Anxiety: if you suspect your pup is having any sort of separation anxiety here’s a couple of things to do.
- Reintroduce the crate again
- Start building crate duration from the beginning
- Randomize when you come and go
- Only open the crate when your pup isn’t barking
- Give your pup a puzzle toy
- Don’t make it a habit to leave your pup in the crate for hours
Many times separation anxiety occurs simply because your dogs learn
that when he/she goes in the crate their going to be there for hours which creates anxiety in many dogs
Crate training a dog shouldn’t have to be difficult, it can be a smooth transition if you follow the steps outlined within this article.
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