Crate training your dog or puppy may take some time and patience. The effort you put into this process can be useful and safe for your pet in a many ways. The crate is handy for limiting your dog’s access to things you don’t want them to have and is a place that they can feel safe. If the crate training process is done properly and not abused by the owner as somewhere to “stick the dog”, it is an excellent method. There are some guidelines to follow when crate training however. On this page, you will find basic puppy crate training methods that have been tested and proven to work.
Crates come in many different shapes and sizes and may be plastic or even collapsible. Metal crates seem to work the best for larger breeds in our experience. Crates or “kennels” can be purchased at most any pet supply stores. The crate should be just big enough for the dog to be able to stand up and turn around in.
Crate training can take weeks and perhaps even months. Your dog's age and their temperament play a big role in this type of training. A bad past experience for your pet, if he or she is an older dog, can inhibit this training also. If the older dog was locked in a crate for no other reason but bad behavior, it’s likely that they will not easily forget that. With some love and patience, the pet will come around to the idea that the crate is not a bad place. It is very important to remember two things while crate training. The crate should always be associated with something good, and the training should always take place in very small steps.
Place the crate in a part of your home that you spend time in. The family room or recreation room works the best. Place something soft in the bottom of the crate. You and your puppy should go over to the crate and play by it a little. Be sure to place the door to the crate open. You may want to put something to prop the door to the crate or kennel open, so the dog doesn’t get scared by the door swinging open and closed.
Next, put some treats inside the crate. If your puppy refuses to go all the way in, it is okay. Do not force your dog in. You may want to put several treats into the crate until your dog will walk peacefully all the way in. If your puppy is not into the treats, you can use a toy or a “chewie” instead. It can take some time for your dog to warm up to the crate. Be patient. Some dogs develop dog crate hate, but this can be solved as well.
After introducing the crate, you can start to feed meals near the crate. This will create an enjoyable connection with the crate or kennel. If your dog is entering the crate comfortably when you begin this step, put their dish all the way to the back of the crate. If your dog still won’t enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without getting scared. Each time you feed them, place the food further to the back of the kennel.
Once your dog has become comfortable enough to eat meals in the crate, close the door while they are eating. Open the door as soon as they finish the food. With each feeding, you can leave the door to the kennel closed for a few minutes longer. If your dog begins to cry to be let out, go a little slower with the time spent with the door closed. If the puppy whines or cries to get out, it's very important that you do not let them out until they stop. If you let the dog out when they cry, they think this is the way to get out of the crate.
After your dog is eating meals in the crate with no fear or nervousness, you can leave them there for short periods of time while you are at home. After your dog enters the crate comfortably, give them a treat and close the door. Sit near the crate for about ten minutes or so. Go into another room of the house for a little while. When you return, sit by the crate again for a few minutes. Let the puppy out of the crate and repeat the process several times. Gradually increase the time you leave them in the crate and the time you are out of sight.
Puppy crate training will make life more enjoyable for you and your pet.
Once your dog will stay calmly in the crate for about 30 minutes at a time with you out of their sight the greater part of the time, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone. You may even let them sleep there at night if you wish. This process is intense and may take a long time to accomplish. One thing with this type of training is that you must not get overwhelmed. The training, if repeated enough, will come in time.