How Can You Effectively Crate Train Your Dog?

Crate training is a method of dog training that involves using a crate as a tool for confinement and housebreaking. A crate is a small, enclosed space that serves as a den for your dog, providing a secure and comfortable space for them to rest and sleep. But how can you effectively crate train your new dog?

To crate train your dog, start by choosing the right size crate for your dog’s breed and size. Introduce your dog to the crate gradually, by placing treats and toys inside the crate and encouraging them to explore the space.


The Ultimate Crate Training Guide

The goal of crate training is to teach your dog to view the crate as a safe and positive place.

Crate introduction

Begin crate training by leaving the crate door open and allowing your pup to explore it at their own pace. Toss a treat inside, praise your dog when they enter the crate to eat it and give them another while inside. You can also entice your dog with a busy toy filled with treats—anything to make that crate more appealing! Maintain a positive attitude as your puppy explores the crate, and lavish praise on them when they enter. Keep the door open at this point.

Repeat this step as often as necessary to get your dog comfortable in the crate. At this point, your pup can go into the crate. If they appear hesitant, wait to press them. If your dog is reluctant to go inside, you can use treats to reward small steps in the right direction, such as a glance or a step toward it. These small victories will encourage your dog to keep going! If they don’t approach it, leave the treats inside for them to collect when they’re ready.

Practicing and Experimenting Closing the Door

Once your dog has developed a positive association with the crate, it will be ready for slightly longer sessions inside. First, play with your dog and take them outside for a potty break—this will help them relax during crate time. Then, inside the crate, give them a lightly stuffed, busy toy to play with. Stay close by while they enjoy the treats, and try closing the door while your pup enjoys the toys and treats inside.

Allow your dog to come out immediately after they finish the treats or whenever they bark, whimper, or paw at the crate, indicating they want to come out. Continue this process until your dog appears relaxed and shows no signs of stress inside the crate.

Slowly Stepping Away

When your dog is focused on the toy, try leaving the room in subsequent closed-door sessions. Listen for whines or barks at the door, indicating your pup is ready to leave. However, at this point, your dog may surprise you by quickly settling into the crate. If you time your play session, potty break, and crate time correctly, you might return to find a napping pup in the crate!

Slowly Integrate Longer Stay

If your dog is okay with you leaving for a minute, then five minutes, then ten minutes. If your dog is content inside, try leaving the house briefly. You can use a pet camera to watch them while you’re away.



Some Tips and Tricks on Crate Training

The simple tips listed below can help speed up the crate training process:

  • Give your dog a potty break before putting them in the crate, and don’t forget to take them outside as soon as they’re done. This is especially true for puppies, as their “hold time” is still developing.
  • Don’t crate your dog for an extended period. This may force them to soil inside. This is especially important for puppies, whose “hold time” is roughly their age in months converted to hours. That means a four-month-old puppy can keep it for four hours. Remember that play and excitement can cause your pup to need to go out more frequently. Avoid crate training adult dogs for more than four hours. That means you should schedule a mid-day break if you’ll be leaving your dog at work.
  • Feeding your dog’s meals in their crate with the door open can help to turn it into a happy place. If they’re hesitant to eat inside, try placing the bowls next to the crate for a few meals, then just inside it, and finally, at the back.
  • Remember to distinguish between “frustration” and “I have to go” noises. If you’ve just returned from a potty break, a dog whining in the crate for the first few minutes is settling in.
  • Never use the crate as a form of punishment. Remember, the most important aspect of crate training is making sure your dog thinks it’s a great place to hang out!


What are the Benefits of Crate Training?

Your dog’s crate may appear to be a simple enclosure to you, but if used properly, it will become one of your pup’s favorite places—aside from your lap. Crates can benefit both you and your dog in the following ways:

Giving Your Dog Their Space

Choosing an appropriately sized crate and gradually introducing your dog to it will help them consider the space a comfortable refuge. When it comes to bedding down, dogs typically prefer protected areas, so a crate can capitalize on that natural desire to rest in a secure environment.

Encourage Potty Training

One of the most significant advantages of crate training is that it helps to streamline the house training process because most puppies will not soil where they sleep. When you learn how to crate train a puppy, you also learn an essential step in their potty training process—two birds, one stone.

Keeping Your Puppy and Your Belongings Safe

Successful dog raising requires constant supervision, especially when they are puppies. However, most pet parents cannot provide full-time care for their dogs. Once again, crate training comes to the rescue! When left to their own devices, most puppies will chew on anything they can get their teeth on, but a crate helps to keep your curious pup safe from your belongings and vice versa when you can’t keep an eye on them.

Creating a Recovery Zone

You may need to restrict your dog’s movement at some point in its life due to an injury or medical procedure. Ensuring they’re content in their crate will make your job much easier.

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