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Become an expert! Learn about crate training a dog!

Golden-Labrador-in-a-crate advice
© Shutterstock

Crate training a dog gives him a sense of safety and security. The crate will become his haven. Learn how to crate train a dog with this amazing pet parent guide.

By Daniel Mar

Everyone knows that you can’t leave puppies alone at home! Whenever they feel an absolute freedom to do as they please, a lot of things can go wrong. Don’t be surprised if you find cushions tore wide open, your carpet scratched, or your favourite pair of shoes bitten. A great way to prevent this is to learn about crate training a dog. This method should be taught at an early age, but you can teach your dog at any time! In this article, you will learn all about it!

What is crate training a dog?

Crate training is the process of teaching your pet to feel comfortable in a dog crate. You might be surprised how there are some dog lovers that believe dogs automatically like to be inside a crate. Even though dogs are den animals, they still appreciate their freedom. So, you must know that there is a training process behind the successful use of crates. Pet parents with no preparation will put up with crate training for a couple of days. Yet, after seeing no results, they will give up. Truthfully, this is a real shame. At the end of the day, crate training a dog has huge benefits.

Why should you crate train your dog?

Crate training is not cruel. Unfortunately, there are some pet parents that actually believe this. Nonetheless, breeders and veterinarians recommend using a crate for your dog. Giving your puppy his own personal space can help him feel more secure and confident with himself. This method is also extremely effective for house training, especially when you’re not keeping an eye on them.

Choosing the best crate

First, choose a well-ventilated crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up, lie down, and turn around. If you begin training with a puppy, you also have to take into consideration that the crate will have to grow as he does. It is advisable to buy a crate for a full-grown dog and then use a divider to make the crate smaller for the time being. Finally, try to buy a crate made of hard materials like plastic or wood. This is important because your dog won’t be able to break it!

Where to place the crate?

It is advisable to put the crate exactly where you want it to be eventually. However, this should not be in a room that you hardly frequent. Most pet parents place it in the ‘family’ room, meaning the room where most of the family spend their time together. This is imperative because you need your dog to associate the crate with your presence. Plus, you don’t want the puppy to feel excluded when crated. Vets recommend placing the crate in the living room or the kitchen. This step is very important when crate training a dog.

Benefits of crate training a dog

crate training a dog Why is crate training a good thing? ©Shutterstock

The single most important benefit of crate training a dog is the prevention of behavioural problems. As you may know, dogs are creatures of habit. Once they start to do something (good or bad), they will continue to do it. Crate training is a good way to prevent the behaviours you don’t want.

Unsupervised and untrained puppies, when left loose in your house, can cause destruction. Sometimes, they can even put themselves in danger. By learning how to crate train a dog you will ensure the safety of your pet when inside the house.

Finally, crate training prevents anxiety. Usually, puppies feel overwhelmed when overseeing a big house. If they feel that they have a smaller place (crate) that needs protecting, it’s much more manageable.

How to crate train a dog?

You can follow the next steps to crate train your dog:

  1. Place the crate by following the instructions previously mentioned. Remember to leave the door open. This needs to face a high traffic area.

  2. If you are training a puppy, then layer the crate floor with puppy pads since he is still learning about pooping time.

  3. Also, add a soft blanket and toys.

  4. The first time that you want your dog to go in, leave a treat near the back of the crate. Treats encourage pups to enter the crate voluntarily.

  5. Likewise, make sure you begin crate training after an activity that tires the pup out.

  6. Pick a command to signal your dog that it is time to go into the crate. Use it every time he enters voluntarily the crate. Don’t forget to reward him.

  7. The first time you introduce the crate, stay nearby as he explores his new space. Give him lots of praise for going inside.

  8. Once he has explored and sniffed the crate, call him out and give him a treat for passing his first crate experience. It is crucial that dogs only associate a crate with positive experiences. Repeat steps 6 to 8 for a couple of days.

  9. You can make your dog feel more comfortable about going inside the crate by feeding him in it. This will create a bond between food and the crate. After a couple of days, begin to close the door gently behind him, and sit quietly outside it. Eventually, let him out, praise him and feed him a treat!

  10. Repeat step 9 each time, wait a minute or two longer to let the dog out of the crate. Continue to do this until the pup is comfortably relaxing in the crate for 30 minutes.

Don’t forget!

  • Don't leave a puppy in his crate all day. Remember that he needs several bathroom breaks, as well as play time.

  • Never use the crate as punishment.

  • Never lose your patience. You know that learning takes time.

Crate training a dog is very interesting and beneficial for you and your dog! Give it a try and see the results.