Dog Crate Training 101
It’s going to take some work to crate train your dog, but many pet parents will agree that it’s worth it. After all, if you have to be away from your dog for an extended period or you need to take your dog on a plane ride, crate training is invaluable. Here are a few guidelines for crate training your four-legged friend.
1. Start things off easy
Most animals dislike being confined, and some crates can be restrictive too, so you want to start with short, trial runs. Before you have to take your dog on a long trip in the crate, be sure to introduce him or her to the crate and let them get used to spending some time inside it. It’s best to have a few acclimating sessions to help your dog adjust to being in the crate before an actual crate trip occurs.
2. Give your dog meals in the crate
One of the best ways to get your dog into the crate without a fuss is to feed them a few meals there. You will start to train your dog to accept the crate and to treat it like a safe and welcoming place to be. Of course, you want the right size of crate for your dog to ensure that they will be comfortable and be able to eat without bending at an unnatural angle, so make to read reviews online and look for the best dog crate that’s big enough for your pooch.
3. Let your dog experience longer periods in the crate
Once your dog is comfortable spending time in the crate, test out a longer crate time. You don’t have to take a trip with the crate to do this either. You can simply put your dog in the crate at home and see how they feel for half an hour or an hour. Be wary not to let your dog out at the first sign of whining or barking. Give your four-legged friend a chance to settle down and see how they acclimatise. After a little while your pup should get used to the crate and be happy to spend a good amount of time inside when necessary.
Crate training is useful for training puppies on housekeeping. For example, PetMD recommends crate training to potty train your pup: “Puppies will not usually soil their bed or den. Therefore, if the crate is set up as a resting space, the puppy will wait until he leaves the crate to do his business. This will put you in control of where and when your puppy relieves himself.”
4. Give your dog everything he needs
Dogs can get bored easily, so you’ll want to make sure that their time in the crate isn’t torturous. If your dog is sleeping you don’t need to worry too much, but if you need to crate train your pooch for a long trip or during the day when they are usually awake, put a few toys in the crate and perhaps a few treats as well. The more enjoyable you can make the crate for your dog, the better. It may not be their ideal spot to hang out for hours at a time, but they can at least be entertained and comfortable.
5. Be careful about leaving your dog in the crate too often
A crate can start to feel like punishment for your dog if you leave them there continuously. Remember: it should not be the go-to spot when you have to do anything that doesn’t involve the dog. If your dog is troublesome when outside the crate, then you need to work on their behavior and not just use the crate as a way to contain them during the day. Your dog needs freedom and space to move around, and leaving them in the crate for too long is unhealthy and unethical. It can negatively affect their mental and physical health, so make sure to only treat the crate as an occasional confinement for your dog.
Photo by Chris Leipelt
We hope these tips will help you to get your dog used to a crate and make it easier for you to leave your pup alone or take him on longer trips. The crate can be a great solution for dogs who get into some trouble when left alone or who get anxious when travelling, so long as you use the crate responsibly. Most importantly, remain patient; AKC explain that crate training takes at least six months, but it will teach your dog responsibility, calm anxiety, and make travelling or being apart from your pooch that little bit easier.
Feature photo by Vincent van Zalinge