“There are a variety of views on crate training and if it is good or bad for your dog. When it comes to the dogs natural instincts, they want to be in a den. Crate training your dog properly will provide your dog with the den they are naturally wired to crave as well as security for you while away. While some may see crate training as a punishment, it is important to look at the big picture before being quick to judge crate training.
Teaching your dog through positive reinforcement to love their crate is the most important part of the crate training process. The crate should be a reward for them, not a place that they are put when acting up. As your dog starts to associate the crate with their own space, they will treat it like their den. While in the den they are less likely to soil where they sleep.
Once your dog learns that the den is their safe place, they will feel more comfortable in a variety of settings. Anytime they are nervous or anxious, they can retreat to the comfort of their den. Having a quiet place to go will lower pet anxiety and make them feel safe.
By crate training your puppy, you will be able to help control their activity level and provide them with the occasional much needed down time. You and your puppy both will be relieved to have some quiet time!
How To Properly Crate Train
There are dozens of approached to crate training that all can work if done properly. The most effective way is to get your dog to naturally want to be in the crate. There are two ways to go about this:
Option 1: You will need a large crate – big enough for your dog to stand up in and move around in – as well as a play pen. In a large open space inside your home open the play pen in a circle or rectangle, leaving an opening to attach the crate to. Your dog will have a safe play zone with access into their crate as they wish.
Option 2: Using a mud room or wash room, set up a crate with the door open in the corner of a room. This room should be “pet-proof” before leaving your dog unattended.
Benefits Of Crate Training
By giving your dog the space to roam around as well as the option to enter and exit the crate as they wish, the dog will naturally start to be drawn more to sleeping in their crate. When they have to go potty during the night, there is ample space – with puppy pads laid out – for them to do so outside of their crate.
Having a setup that encourages them to be inside their crate is a great way to incentives your dog to go inside the crate on their own.
Your dog will love the feeling that they have a private den as they grow older. To make the crate more comfortable for them, consider putting a towel or blanket over it to make it darker. This will replicate the feel of a den. Make sure to have a soft bed inside the crate for your furry friend to get comfy on as well.
Check every now and again inside the crate to see what goodies your dog has hidden in there. They will sometimes stash bones, toys, and even food. To avoid pests, clear out any food items.
Give Cues For Using The Crate
As your dog gets used to going casually in and out of the crate you can start to incorporate verbal cues to train them to go inside. Such things like “bed” or “crate” will let them associate going into their den on command. Get in a routine of saying this phrase as they are going in or in the evenings to cue to using the crate to sleep in.
In the mornings, let your dog know its time to roam free again by saying “out” or “wake up”. Using these commands will help let the dog know what you are asking from them and streghten the bond between the two of you.