Crate training, when properly done, has a world of advantages owing to the fact that you will not only be training a puppy; you will actually be training a dog. The main goal here is to help your puppy to relax and feel comfortable in their crate.
The process can take anything from a few hours to a couple of days depending on the dog type and the trainer’s consistency.
For successful crate training, you will need a lot of patience, resilience, and consistency in making the dog view their crate as you do your home: a safe, private, and quiet place.
A Good Crate For Puppy Crate Training
Choose a crate that is durable and easy to clean and maintain. Whether made of metal, plastic, or wood, ensure you get one that is oversized because you do not want to over-restrict your puppy’s movement; a perfect one should be able to allow your puppy to stand, turn around, and lie with ease.
Experts advise that for easier training, opt for a dog crate that has more than one door to lessen the anxiety of your dog. Do not forget to line the crate with warm blankets to make it warm and even more comfortable.
Step By Step Guide To Crate Training Your Puppy
You do not want to bundle up your puppy and push them into the crate; instead you should take a little more care to ease them into it. The first important step is to introduce your puppy to his crate by showing it to him, walking him around it, and letting him sniff it to make them feel comfortable and at ease.
When we crate trained our dog Coco we made the inside of her crate really comfy so she loved being in there and she felt at ease with it quite quickly.
The second step is using reinforcement, like snacks or toys, to play with your puppy near and around the crate. You can use dried dog meat pieces for effectiveness. Put a piece near the crate and let your puppy eat it; the nearer to the crate the better. Gradually move the pieces into the crate and encourage your dog to reach out, all the time keeping the doors open so that your dog can go in and out as normally as possible.
Next, only toss the meat inside the dog crate and even if your dog comes out for it, do not give it to him but throw them inside so that he can go for them. In no time, he will start to associate the inside of the crate with good things; such as a favourite toy or snack.
Once your puppy is accustomed to the crate, it is time to close the door while still distracting him with a piece of the snack. All the while, keep communicating with your puppy instructing him to sit or lie down just like when he is outside the crate.
You can then open up the door and let him come out. Then throw him a treat inside his crate while praising him. This is getting him used to coming in and out for treats.
Once you close the door this time, hold back on the meat for a few seconds while communicating with your dog. Also, you may take a few steps away while watching him to check if he is anxious at all. You can even venture outside the room briefly and come back; all of these to help him get accustomed to his space. Once he is comfortable, it is time to reduce the reinforcement and let him adjust to his crate alone.
Repeat these steps up to three to four times a day until he is used to the process. These reinforcement sessions need to be short and spaced out so that you do not over stress your dog.
Top Tips For Puppy Crate Training
Don’t crate him for more than three hours; make sure you let out your puppy for a toilet break, exercise, or a walk.
Also, avoid crating him only when you are away so he doesn’t start to associate it with loneliness; crate him even when you are home so that he feels the company of people around him.
At night, put his crate near your bed to help your puppy associate it with rest and sleep and not a punishment. Good crating keeps your dog safe, speeds up toilet and house training, helps control pawing and whining, and eases transportation or travelling together.
By controlling the dog’s movement, you keep him safe from harm and your house orderly. If your pup barks and paws at the crate, or whines and bites at the crate constantly, change training tactic. Always focus on making your puppy believe that all the good things happen inside of the crate.