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How to crate train your dog?

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

When you need to leave the house for a moment, the crate can be a useful tool to keep your dog and furniture safe. Besides that, the crate can also be used as a safe place when your dog feels the need to retreat or rest for a moment.

A few tips before we start

You should never use the crate as a means of punishment. This way your dog could get a negative feeling around the crate, which will of course result in him not willing to get into the crate.

Don’t leave your dog in the crate for too long. Depending on the age of your dog, he might be unable to hold his bladder for longer periods of time. If you won’t take him outside in time, he could soil his crate. Which, for one, will not make you happy because of the stench, but is also very unpleasant for your dog. A puppy instinctively wants to keep its sleeping area clean. As soon as a puppy can walk around, they start leaving the nest to defecate. Whenever they are unable to, it’s not comfortable at all.

Also make sure to give your dog enough exercise. This way you will avoid excessive chewing or barking whenever crated. If he has already had the opportunity to get rid of his energy, he will be more likely to calm down in the crate.

How to start crate training?

First off, make sure your crate is big enough for your puppy/dog. He should be able to move around comfortably in the crate. When house training a puppy, the crate shouldn’t be too big either. Although a puppy instinctively avoids soiling his sleeping area, when the crate is really big, he might use one side to defecate himself and the other for sleeping.

Make sure your dog gets a positive experience with the crate, don’t force him to go inside. Just lure him in the crate with a treat. Rewarding him whenever he enters. After a few successes, you can start closing the crate when he goes inside. At first, just for a second, but you can start building up time each on each successful try. When your dog is comfortable in the crate, start by increasing the distance between you and the crate when your dog is inside. This way he learns it’s not bad if you leave when he’s in the crate because you will always return.

Whenever you have walked your dog or played around with him and he’s tired, you can place him in the crate. Close the door and remain close to the crate. If your dog is really tired and feels safe, he will fall asleep. By tiring out your dog at first, this will be much easier. Whenever he wakes up, you just open up the crate and give your dog some time to go potty.

A few rules to keep in mind

  1. Build up slowly. Don’t leave your dog alone for hours at a time the first time you train this. Start with a few minutes and build up slowly. Before you know, your dog will be able to remain in the crate in peace.

  2. Feed your dog in his crate. This way the crate will become a positive and safe environment. If your dog would be resource guarding, this might not be the best solution.

  3. Don’t let anyone disturb your dog in his crate. This should be a place where he can find some rest without worrying about the rest of the world.

Give your dog time to get used to the crate, don't get frustrated as this won't fasten the process or help the dog. Just remain calm and give it time.

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