Crate Training is…………..a positive, not a negative.
Many clients view crate training as cruel, they see the crate as a cage, when in fact it’s somewhere a dog can go and relax, it’s his own space that provides security.
With understanding, crate training your dog is a highly effective management system that can be a lifesaver for dog owners, especially with young children. Utilising a crate for appropriate time periods during the day is helpful with a variety of important goals, including toilet training. Having a crate on hand prevents destructive behaviour, and teaches your dog to settle and rest.
Crate trained dogs, don’t engage in digging, they don’t destroy washing on the line or chew inappropriately.
Setting your dog or young puppy up for success from the start by rewarding with tasty treats will have him wanting to spend time in there, the crate becomes his own safe place, much like a bedroom for a child. Dogs have a natural instinct to be in a small space, eg a den. Their crate becomes their den.
A crate that is sized properly (read more about size below) encourages a dog’s instinct not to mess where he sleeps, helping to teach the dog bladder and bowel control. A young puppy’s bowel and bladder muscles mature faster when crate training is adopted. Older dogs and family cats will be forever grateful to you when a young puppy enjoys his crate time, it gives them, breathing space!
Using a crate prevents a dog or pup from getting into mischief when you can’t supervise directly, especially when you are busy with children, cooking, or any other time when your attention is elsewhere.
Crate training also teaches puppies and excitable dogs to enjoy some downtime, and conditions relaxed behaviour.
Choosing a crate: type, size, and location
There are several varieties of crates available.
We feel the wire crate is the best option, especially for airflow, however, crates do come in plastic and cloth.
Fabric crates are a good starter for small puppies they are lightweight, fold easy, also good for travel.
Selecting the right size crate can be confusing. Don’t be inclined to choose a large-sized crate to give the dog lots of room. If you choose a crate that is too large, your dog will use a portion of the crate as a toilet.
Select a crate that is just large enough for your puppy or dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably, no food or water bowls in there. Most wire crates come with a divider to block off a portion of the crate in order to make it smaller, this way you won’t be purchasing multiple crates as your puppy grows.
The crate should be located in an area of the house with easy access, for you to send him there or for him to go voluntarily.
A new puppy should be in his crate beside your bed for the first couple of nights so he can become settled and not feel so lonely, he’ll pick up the scent and the sounds of his new home feeling secure in his own crate.
His last toilet should be approximately 9:30 pm, then into his crate, until approximately 5 am. Early days with very young puppies may want a toilet in the middle of the night.
Don’t make a big fuss and don’t have a conservation with him. Open the crate, pick him up, move him out to the toilet area that you have chosen, pop him on the grass and say your ‘toilet’ word, often, as you walk around. Concentrate on him, toileting. Praise praise praise, pick him up, back to his crate, close the door, back to bed.
The more conservation you have with him, the longer he will want to stay up and have a game.
How to make the crate a positive place.
Crating your puppy or older dog works best if you make it fun.
When your new dog or puppy first comes home, get him used to the crate by tossing a treat in, leaving the door open so that the dog can enter and exit freely. The treat has to be of very high value, like devon, sausage etc. When your dog or puppy is comfortable going in and out of the crate, toss a couple of treats inside and close the door for a second or two before letting him out. Do not open the crate door, if he is fussing, wait.
Don’t forget to reward, this is extremely important, get excited as you reward his responses.
Name the crate
Place a rug that has your scent, or mat into the crate for comfort.
When your puppy is going into the crate willingly, add a cue for entering the crate. Try “house”. Say your cue word before tossing a treat inside. Reward.
Soon your dog or puppy will be going into the crate on cue with enthusiasm.
Next step, say “house” and point in that direction when the puppy goes in, get excited, tell him, good boy, use his name and give him a treat.
Introduce a release word, this lets him know he is free to come out of his “house”. This training step has the added benefit of encouraging and increasing self- control. He’ll learn to remain calm and not bolt out, even with the crate door wide open.
If you are experiencing problems with an older dog accepting the crate, try feeding him in there.
When your dog or puppy is comfortable in the crate, with the door closed, gradually build up the amount of time he spends in there.
Reward every small step forward, never punish or push him into his crate.
For lengthy crate times, the puppy or dog should be exercised before and after.
Never open the door if he is whining. [ he would view this, as a reward ].
By thinking positive, investing your time, tasty treats as rewards, not rushing the process, you will be rewarded with a canine that wants to spend time in his own space, sleeping the day away. Everyone, is calm and relaxed.
written by Lee Hettiger