How To Crate Train a Puppy

Why Crate Train? House Training And More

There are a number of reasons why crate training is a good idea. Firstly, it is the easiest way to toilet train your puppy. Secondly, crate training provides you with a safe, secure area to manage your puppy, teaching them to be alone and to cope alone. Crates can be secured in your car to make transporting your dog safe. At some stage in your puppy’s life they will need to stay with a friend, relative, groomer or overnight in the vets. Crate training prepares them for these eventualities and will prevent them from feeling stressed when a crate must be used. Many adult dogs receive injury or require surgery that requires weeks of post-surgery crate rest. Dogs who have never been crate trained find this very stressful and this stress can impede on their recovery which is another good reason to crate train early. Crates are designed to be used inside your home.

Crate training allows you to provide your dog’s den and safe house when they need to be away from you. Finally a crate will provide a safe place to secure your puppy when unsupervised keeping your puppy and belongings safe!

The key is to introduce the crate as a fun zone. Once inside puppy receives lots of nice things including praise from you. Your puppy should be fed from a KONG when inside the crate and always receive praise for willingly entering the crate. Creating a need for your puppy to want to enter the crate will help with the crate training process.

Selecting The Crate

Purchase a good quality tough crate. Dog crates are available in different forms. Airline crates are generally plastic with a door at the front and are sturdy. Collapsible wire dog crates are excellent for crate training as they fold flat and can be easily set up and put away.

Crate size matters. You puppy needs to be able to lie down comfortably, stand, turn around and stretch out in their crate. If you have a large breed puppy ensure that you also acquire a crate divider. If the space inside the crate is too large your puppy may relieve on one side of the crate and sleep in the other side.

Introducing The Crate

Every puppy is different and the time they will take to get used to the crate will vary depending on their previous learned experiences so be patient. All introductions to the crate must be done under supervision. Your puppy should not experience stress or anxiety when left in the crate. Puppy’s collar should be removed so as to prevent them getting caught in the sides of the crate.

At first create an interest in the crate by placing something of high value inside. Dog treats work well especially smelly treats such as small piece of chicken or a filled KONG dog toy. Show the puppy the treat as it is being placed inside the crate and then close the door with the puppy outside looking in. Once the puppy shows an interest in getting into the treat inside the crate, open the door and praises the puppy as they enter and allow them to get the reward. Play this game regularly and a positive association with the crate will be made.

Feed your puppy in the crate and praise the puppy when they enter the crate of their own choice. Always pay them with attention or a small treat which can be a portion of their dinner when they are in their crate. You may use a lot of their food allocation as rewards for crate training and other good behaviour. At this stage your puppy should be comfortable to be inside the crate with the door open.

Once your puppy is happy to be inside the crate you can proceed with teaching the puppy to be comfortable with being inside with the door closed. Start by closing the door for short periods of time. The use of a stuffed KONG toy can help as your puppy will become interested in the KONG and the licking action will soothe and relax your puppy. Increase the time that the door stays shut over time always reinforcing settled behaviour with praise or a treat. Over time your puppy will be comfortable to sleep in their crate at night.

Make sure the crate is comfortable with soft warm bedding in the winter and cool bedding in the summer. Bedding should always be clean and fresh. Crates should not be used for excessive periods of time. Each time your puppy gets into the crate use the words ‘into bed’ and over time you will be able to ask your puppy to go ‘into bed’ and they will be happy to do so.


About The Author Dog

Dog Training Ireland was founded to help dog’s live fullfilling lives in the human world. At Dog Training Ireland emphasis is on ethical training based on sound canine training and behaviour study. DTI staff are qualified and certified by reputable recognised industry standard colleges and bodies such as Bishop Burton College, the APDT UK (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) the CCPDT (Council for Professional Dog Trainers), COAPE (Centre of Applied Pet Ethology). All Dog Training Ireland Trainers have at least 2 years of training, hold national certificates, diplomas and some are studying at Masters Level. Click here for more info.


Related Products

Savic Dog Crate The Savic Dog Crate is a collapsible zinc dog crate. It is the perfect solution to crate train your puppy, give him a home within your home and for transportation. Click here for more on the Savic Dog Crate

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