Many people believe crates are only used for potty training purposes, but this isn’t true. Your dog will come to love it’s new home and consider this to be his safe and secure den (A personal place that he can rest when he is tired). This is why you would need to learn what is the best way to crate train your dog so that he will “love” his new home.
If you are getting a crate for a puppy that already is grown, you might want to purchase a crate that will accommodate the adult size. Regardless of whether you purchase a new crate for a puppy or dog, you need to check the measurements of the crate, so that you will be sure to get the right size.
Crates come in two different forms. There are hard crates made of wire, plastic or molded plastic. Another type of crate is soft with a catch pan and rope attached to the sides for easy cleaning. It’s worth spending the extra money on a quality crate for your dog, so that he has a positive experience with the crate and doesn’t have a negative association with it.
With a crate that is too small, your puppy or adult dog will be distressed. He needs enough room to stand up and turn around, and stretch out and lie down. The crate needs to be big enough for him but not too big where he can use one end for a a sleep and the other as a toilet area. That is very important. Big crates are all right for larger dogs, but not for Chihuahuas or anything else smaller.
Never place your dog’s crate next to a furniture or flooring that you do not want him to chew on. He is looking for his own private spot and sometimes an accident can occur. It is a good idea to place your dog’s crate in a place where you are so that you can keep an eye on him during the crate training.
Your puppy or adult dog may feel that the crate is a form of punishment and may also use it as a place to hide when he makes an accident. He may come to fear with the crate and refuse to consider it his home.
It’s a battle between a dog that wants to stay in his own den and one that view the crate as a punishment. If your dog is refusing to use his den, the other option is to make use of toys or treats to make him go into the crate.
If your dog is fear of the crate, gradually introduce it to him. Start with one of his favorite toys in the crate. Place the toy in the crate and allow your dog to get it out of the crate. Repeat this process over and over until he is no longer fearful and willingly to go into the crate on his own.
By using the crate to feed your puppy, you are creating a positive association with the crate. To further encourage positive behavior, occasionally put a treat or tidbit in the crate to further reinforce the behavior.
To teach your puppy to go into the crate on command, begin by putting a treat in the crate and telling your puppy, “Go to your crate.” He will usually look for a treat and then go into the crate to get it.
As soon as your puppy is in the crate, click the clicker and give a treat (ALWAYS followed by praise – tell your puppy, “Good boy! Get that treat” and give lots of praise).
Just because your puppy is in his crate, does not mean that he should be left there for half a day! For best results, allow him to sleep in his crate and take him outside at regular intervals. (I would suggest every 2 hours).
Whenever you let your dog out of the crate, take him outside immediately to pee and poop. If you let him pee and poop while he is in the crate, he will have negative feelings about the crate and become stressed. When you let him out, immediately put him on a leash and let him go outside for potty. Don’t let him go back in the crate until he has finished his business.
It only takes a little bit of patience and an understanding to create an atmosphere where your dog will spend much of his time in the crate. It’s not going to take you months of crating every day to get him used to his crate. It’s not even a legitimate form of punishment. The process just needs to start with a few simple concepts as shared above.
Through crate training, you will have a piece of mind when you are out of home as your dog is less likely to have accidents in the house. And you will not have to worry about seeing a mess when back home.