Puppies are born naturally den animals. They would prefer a warm, safe and cozy crate of their own. Because the crate is their den, they will not soil it and they will think nothing of staying in there when they are sleeping. This is why you should start crate training a puppy as soon as you bring him home.
Because your puppy is not born understanding how to behave, crate training is a process of teaching him what is OK and what is Not. You use patience and consistency to help your puppy develop into an obedience dog.
Crate training is best started at a young age as your puppy should be given time to get familiar with a new place. The crate should be introduced in short increments phase and never be forced on your pet.
Puppies that suffer from separation anxiety, may cry, whine, howl, bark and destroy your house in an attempt to get out of the house. Some puppies will not only bark and chew through the house, but also jump through windows and attack neighbors or small animals. They may also become aggressive towards the owner and towards other dogs. Crate training can reduce these behaviors.
The concept of a crate can be confusing, but in reality it is not. A crate is really a large metal cage, typically made of stainless steel or aluminum. It can be divided into three sections, the upper section with a door and a ventilation panel for proper ventilation, the middle section with doors for entry and exit, and the lower section which is like a cage.
The crate should be big enough for your dog and it should be secure and safe. If the crate is too small, your puppy will not feel secure or safe and may feel the need to escape. On the other hand, if the crate is too big, your dog may not be able to move around as easily and may feel depressed and discouraged him from entering the crate.
A crate is also a safe way to “contain” your puppy when you are unable to keep an eye on him. Dogs that are roaming freely in the house can get into trouble and sometimes injury. If you are at work all day, you may be wondering when you are back home, is there going to be a big dog mess that you had to clean up. If your dog is in a crate, this would not be the case.
To start crate training, you must lure your dog into the crate using a treat. Start by tossing a treat about 20 feet away from the crate. Let your dog go after it. As he goes into the crate, praise him. Give him a treat and say “Get in your den.”
Do this five times a day until he goes into the crate on his own. If he does not go into the crate on his own after five straight days of training, then put the treat in the crate instead of using it as a lure.
After your dog has willingly walked into the crate to get the treat, don’t close the door yet. You don’t want to begin “punishing” him now that he’s in the crate. Instead, wait until your dog is not paying attention to you and you starts to close the door.
If he whines, crying, barks, or howls, open the door, saying “Okay!” or “Good!” in a happy voice. Let him out of the crate and praise him again.
Putting a blanket in the crate is a good idea. It helps your puppy feel more comfortable because he will be familiar with the blanket. Take him outside at regular intervals, at least once an hour.
Watch your puppy’s behavior. If he is sniffing around, he may need to go to the bathroom. Take him outside immediately. Reward your puppy when he goes to the bathroom outside.
Most puppies are ready to go to sleep when they are emotionally and physically tired. Be aware that if your puppy isn’t ready to go to sleep, you might want to skip the crate training and taking him for a short walk. Talk to him in a soft voice and pet him for a few minutes before putting him back to his crate. He will accept that the crate is a safe, comfortable place to spend some quiet time by himself.
There are many benefits to crate training a puppy or dog. For instance, your puppy may not have the self control to sit and wait while waiting to be allowed outside. If that is the case, he will have to be in the crate and wait, which will help to train him physically and emotionally.
In the home, the crate will give your dog a secure place to hang out. There are no chances of him running out the door and into the street. If you are outside, you will certainly never have to worry about him getting loose and running out into the street or running into your neighbor’s yard. It will also be a good way to keep your dog from being stolen (as many dogs are stolen at this time of year).
It is important to take the time to create a positive association with a crate. The crate should always be associated as a place of safety and comfort which your puppy can feel at ease. Prior begin crate training your puppy, you need to make it clear that being in the crate is a privilege and not a punishment.