Crate training is a tool that is good for so many uses, the most common ones being house training, supervision purposes, and to give a puppy a place that he feels safe. Many people understand the concept of crate training but are unaware of how it is done. Then there are some people who have the concept of crate training backwards –although it is a common misconception/mistake that people make, a crate is absolutely not for punishment. A dog should believe his crate to be his “safe place” and it should never be used as a punishment for doing something wrong (ie: never punish and throw him in it when he does badly).
When you first bring home the crate, leave the door open and allow your puppy to become familiar with it. Do not simply buy a crate and lock your puppy in it for hours at a time. This will only confuse him and terrify him of his crate. Slowly allow him to become accustomed to it being around for a day. Next, start feeding him in the crate, this will show him that the crate is a positive object and not a negative one.
Make the crate as comfortable as possible and continue to feed the puppy in it. Another great idea is to buy your puppy’s favorite treat and some chew toys and hide them all around the blankets in the crate. This will show the puppy that the crate is obviously a very positive place and it will also stimulate his brain, which for a dog is a very positive experience.
Continue to leave the door open for a couple days and allow him to grasp that the crate is just a place where happy things happen. Once he is moving in and out of it with no issues, you can begin by closing the door in very small intervals (a few minutes at a time). Don’t ever let the puppy get to the point where is stressed trying to get out of the crate. When he is calm with the door closed, reward him by pushing treats and chew toys into the crate for him. If he is anxious, just open the door but do not speak soothingly to him or give him treats – both of these are rewards and by rewarding him at this point, you are showing him that being anxious and scared is the right thing to do. Ensure that nothing bad happens to him in his crate and that any children in the home are taught to allow him his space when he goes inside it.
Gradually increase the time intervals that your puppy is crated under your supervision. You never want to leave him in his crate while you’re gone until you know that he will behave well. It would be awful if he was stressed out the whole time you were away; this would be a very negative experience for him. Keep in mind that you cannot leave a puppy under six months in a crate for your entire work day –his bladder just won’t handle it until he is mature.
Over time, if you follow these guidelines, your puppy will learn to trust that his crate is a positive place to be and he will tolerate being in it for longer periods of time or until you come home. Many dogs get into their crates during the day as a relaxing place to lie down. If your puppy does this, you can be sure he is definitely on the path to being positively crate trained. Although crate training isn’t a concept generally grasped overnight, if it is done correctly your puppy will enjoy his crate and it will successfully become a valuable tool for you as well.
Kady Stansbury is the dash of artistic temperament that makes any site a success. She is a certified dog trainer with more than 5 years of experience in her kitty. She is also a tremendous writer who has over the years developed a formidable reputation and is much sought after as a Dog Blogger. She has successfully conducted one on one sessions where her students have learnt the basic commands of dog training lightning fast.
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