There are several reasons why you may need to put your dog in a crate, so it's important to get them used to it at a young age. Here's how to crate train a dog.
Crate training a dog is so much more than preventing them from chewing items around the house while you're away. Crate training a dog is also one of the best ways to ensure your pup's safe when you're not there to protect them from chewing and swallowing potentially dangerous items. A crate can also be a dog's comfort zone and a safe place for when you're home and away.
Although crate training has many benefits, there's a right and wrong way of doing it. It's important to know how to crate train a dog properly to ensure the crate remains a positive thing rather than a negative one. In this guide, you'll find several helpful tips to keep in mind when crate training a dog.
Continue reading below to learn more!
Choose the Right Crate For Your Pup
Before getting started with crate training it's important that you have the right crate for your dog. Different pet stores and online stores sell a variety of dog crates. You can find crates in various materials, sizes, and functions.
Different crates have their own benefits, so it's best to know what you need in a crate before buying one. If you need a crate to keep your dog inside your home, then a wire crate might be the best option for you. Don't forget to consider your dog's size as well.
The crate you choose should be big enough for your dog to sit, stand up in, and turn around. Measure your dog and then choose the crate that's right for its size.
Introduce the Crate to Your Pup
Once you bring the crate home, you should understand that this is something new and possibly scary to your pup. Give your dog time to adjust to the crate. You should introduce the crate to your pup with patience.
To help get your dog more comfortable with the crate, you can simply bring your pup around it and let them cautiously sniff and explore the crate. Start placing their favorite treats inside the crate and let your dog go in and out of the crate to retrieve the treats. Make sure the door stays open during this time so your dog can easily go in and out of it.
Associate the Crate With Good Things
Do keep in mind that you want to associate the crate with good things, not bad things. Teaching your dog that the crate is a good thing will help make the training process easier for everyone. Each time your dog goes into the crate, reward them with a treat.
Once your dog begins to spend more time in the crate, you can help keep them busy by placing dog-safe treats (peanut butter, plain yogurt, or dog food) inside puzzle toys. They'll be busy trying to access the yummy treat and won't spend as much time thinking about being in the crate.
Get in Some Exercise Before Crate Time
If your pup is full of energy, then being stuck inside a crate won't be enjoyable for them. Spend about 30 minutes exercising with your dog before placing your dog in the crate. Go on a jog, take your dog for a long walk, play fetch, or run around with them in the backyard.
Dogs need a certain amount of exercise each day and it's best to have them exercise before being put in the crate. They'll then be ready to lay down and relax and can do so in the crate. This makes crate training much easier on your dog.
Leave the Door Open When at Home
When at home, don't close off access to the crate. Even if you don't need your dog to use the crate when you're home, you still want to allow your dog access to it. This is a great way to help your dog feel more comfortable in the crate.
Many dogs will choose to go inside their crate to rest, even when not told to. Once you see your dog choosing their crate as their resting place, you'll know that you've created a safe and comfortable place for them.
Start With Small Increments and Work Your Way Up
If you're having trouble getting your pup to feel safe in their crate, then be sure to start with small time increments and work your way up. To start, you can have your pup go into the crate for a few minutes while you're still at home. Then, open the door and let them out.
Do this a few times, increasing the length of time they're in there each session. Gradually work your way up to 30 minutes and longer. Eventually, your pup will be used to relaxing in their crate for several minutes at a time.
Make the Crate a Safe and Comfortable Place
It's important to make the crate a safe and comfortable place for your dog. You can make the crate cozier by placing a dog bed inside of it. Do consider your dog's personality before placing items in the crate.
If your pup likes to chew, then you'll want to ensure everything inside the crate is chew-safe. You can also leave a shirt that smells like you inside the crate when gone and a safe dog bone for them to chew on and distract them.
Let's Learn How to Crate Train a Dog Today
Do you need extra help or advice when learning how to crate train a dog? Crate training a dog might be more difficult for some dogs than others. If you're struggling to crate train your dog, then don't hesitate to contact a professional dog trainer.
At K-9 Culture Dog Training, we offer a variety of k-9 training programs, including puppy classes. To see how our professional trainers can help you train your pup, book a consultation today!
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