Crate training takes advantage of your dog’s natural instinct to keep his own den clean and hide away when he feels he has had enough exercise or too many visitors boisterous him. It’s a great way for helping him to be house trained.
Make sure your puppy is old enough to physically control his bowels and bladder before you start crate training. Usually this means your puppy should be at least 10 weeks old.
It is a good practice to set a regular eating schedule for your puppy, and then place him in the crate at the same time each day. Very young puppies must be let out of the crate in regular intervals (usually every 4 hours), and also when they wake up in the morning and after each meal.
When you start crate training, put the crate in an area where you and your family would be “hanging” around. This is important for a crate training puppy as a crate is a lonely place for him and he would much prefer being with you.
It is natural for your dog to feel confined when he is first introduced to his crate. The space restriction in the crate may make him feel lonely and discomfort. So try to make his den (crate) as clean and comfortable for him.
Make the crate a safe place for your dog. Remove all objects that might be harmful to your pup such as glass and objects that might present as choking threats, make this part of your “proofing” process. Also periodically replace bedding that is wet and matted in the crate.
The very first day and maybe even the very first week you have your pet crate trained, make this a really inviting event for him. Place his favorite toys and treats in the crate and spend some times playing with him while he is in the crate. Whenever your dog goes into his crate for whatever reason, always treat him to whatever that motivates him to go into the crate.
Give your dog a treat for being in the crate. Each time he goes into the crate, say “crate”, “ok”, or “here”. Once he is consistently going into the crate to get a treat, slowly closed the crate door and quickly exit the room. Repeat this exercise several times a day. Use the same commands so that your dog will begin to associate them with a specific task.
Your dog is learning that when he goes into the crate, good things will happen. Take your time with this exercise. Remember that you want your dog to go into the crate on your command, not because he is afraid of the consequence of being left alone.
Crating also helps to eliminate your dog’s boredom when you are out for grocery or when you’re at work. If your dog doesn’t have anything to do, he may bark or howl. Give him something to keep him occupied when he is in his crate. Board games and interactive toys or balls are great ideas.
An accident, such as having a pee or poo in his crate, or damaging the crate, can occur. If your dog does get into these accidents while in his crate, it is important not to punish him. He has no way to relate what he have did before. The punishment will most likely scare him and not teaching him any other positive habits.
If your dog is still fearful of crating, making the crate a really pleasant place for him. Perhaps putting in a towel or a fluffy blanket, playing some soothing music, placing some familiar toys with your smell on them, and keeping the crate’s door open. These may make your dog more “open” to stay in the crate.
You need to make sure the crate is only large enough for him to stand up and turn. You can add a piece of partition where he can’t see right through it. Also, make sure any additional space is safe for him and easy to clean. Do pay particular attention to make sure that there’s nothing he can get on the floor while he’s in the crate.
Give your dog ample time to get used to his new “space” – crate. Whenever you introduce new things to your dog, take it slowly. Give him time to familiarize himself with it.
While using the crate to housetrain your pet, try to look at the crate as the safest place for him to stay-away from places that may have harmful substances or may cause harm to him. Remember that your dog will want to be by your side any time he is out of the crate. If there is a possibility that he may run outside the house or otherwise get hurt or distressed, then restrain him on a leash so that he can be closely supervised..
Crate training can take days, weeks or even months depending on your dog, your diligence and determination. If you continue to be consistent, your dog will learn quickly, but he won’t learn overnight. It takes time and patience. It’s not a race!
For some, it works within a few days! For others, it takes weeks or even months! The most important thing to remember when you are crate training your dog is to have realistic target.
Crate training your dog will certainly take times and lot of patience, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. If you can crate train your dog without too much trouble or fuss, you’ll have built the foundation for a better-behaved companion.