Whether or not to crate train your dog is one of the first decisions you’ll need to make when you get a dog. If this is your first dog, you may not know what the benefits are to crate training, or you think it sounds cruel to confine your dog to a crate.
Keep reading to find out what the benefits are and why so many people believe in it.
The Benefits of Crate Training
It’s important to remember that your dog doesn’t see the crate the same way you do. You look at it and see a small confined space that you would be uncomfortable in, and you can’t imagine having to spend a lot of time in.
Your dog sees their very own space. It’s like having their own bedroom. It’s their haven, their safe place. It makes it easier to housetrain them, and helps to establish a routine.
Make the Crate Their Space
Fill the crate with your dog’s toys. Put their blanket in it, and a small bed. They’ll start to recognize the smell and start to see the crate as a happy place.
Get Your Dog Into the Crate With the Door Open
Lure your dog into the crate, but leave the dog open. You can place one of their treats in the crate, toward the back, then praise your dog effusively when he goes into the crate to get the treat. It’s important that your dog go into the crate on his own; don’t physically place him inside the crate yourself. Once he’s in there, praise him loudly and excitedly.
Work Up to Closing the Door
Once your dog has gotten used to being in the crate, you can start closing the door for short times. Start with a very short time, only a few seconds. Then reopen the door and give a lot of praise. Slowly start leaving the door closed for longer and longer times, praising your dog excitedly each time you reopen the door.
Leave the Room
Once your dog is comfortable with being in the crate with the door closed, start getting him in there, closing the door, and then leaving the room. Start slowly. Leave the room for no more than a minute, then come back.
If your dog is whining or acting upset, don’t immediately open the crate door. If you do, your dog will start to think he can get what he wants by acting this way. Remain calm, and get your dog to calm down, then open the crate door.
Once your dog is used to you leaving the room while he’s in the crate, start leaving the house. By now your dog should be used to being alone in the crate for at least a few minutes, so maybe try at least a quick trip somewhere.
Types of crates
The type of crate you choose for your dog depends on the type of dog you have and your goals. Wire crates are the type most people choose, with good reason. They’re good for most dogs, and they usually have removable plastic trays to make it easy to clean.
Dogs have been known to escape them, depending on the type of latch, and they’re not very pretty, but they’re the most-used type for a reason.
Plastic crates aren’t much prettier, but they tend to keep dogs confined better. They’re not great for longer periods of time, though, because the air circulation isn’t as good as the wire crates.
Soft-sided crates aren’t good if your dog is a chewer. They’re easy to store and easy to travel with, but those are the only positive qualities.
Decorative crates are usually made of wood and are the prettiest of the bunch. They’re not good for chewers, though.
This process can take a while. Don’t get discouraged if your pup doesn’t take to the crate immediately. And never, NEVER use the crate as punishment. This crate is your dog’s safe place. It should never be anything else.