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Crate Train your puppy in 4 Easy Steps


An important part of your pups upbringing is familiarizing them with a crate and training them to be comfortable in it. While some people unknowingly associate crate training with imprisoning your pup or restricting your dog’s freedom, this is not the case! When practiced the right way, crate training can be a wonderful way to acquaint your dog with your home, getting them accustomed to a new environment, and ensure their safety at night and when you’re not around. Crate training allows your dog to find an area where they feel comfortable and secure when they’re in a new and unfamiliar setting. When they are given crate training at a young age, it helps them later to tackle anxiety and feelings of fear. Undergoing this training will be beneficial for your dog, because they’ll have a way to tackle feelings of anxiety and fear later. Crate training essentially makes them feel comfortable within the enclosed space of the crate, allowing them to have a haven of sorts. For you and your home too, crate training is extremely helpful. It allows you to prevent damage to your house and belongings until your puppy learns what’s off limits and what isn’t.


Choosing a Crate

Plastic, metal, or collapsible crates are available. You should select one depending on the size of your dog. The crate should be large enough for them to stand up and turn around in, but not too big as the pup might use a corner as his toilet when nobody is around. Make sure the crate you choose is durable, comfortable and flexible.

The Training Process

If you’re wondering what the timeline is like for your pup to be completely used to the crate, and trained as expected - there is none. Every dog is different, making it very unpredictable and mostly dependent on your dog’s age, temperament, behavior, and past experiences. 

The training should be conducted in a series of small steps. Don’t try to expose our dog to too much, too soon! This might leave them feeling overwhelmed or intimidated.

Step One - Introducing them to the crate

Place the crate in a part of the house which is usually occupied and bustling with family members. Add a soft towel or blanket to the crate. Get your dog near the crate, and talk to them in a happy, comforting tone. Make sure the door of the crate is wide opened so that it can’t hit them. Try and encourage your dog to step inside the crate on their own. This can be achieved by placing their favorite treats near the crate. If this doesn’t work, use their favorite toy. The very first step of the process might take several minutes or even days. Don’t let this dissuade you, be consistent and eventually your dog will comply. Be very careful to not be forceful or harsh, as this can lead to your dog perceiving the crate negatively. 

Step 2- Feeding them in the crate

After introducing your dog to the crate, start feeding them their meals near the crate. This will make them view the crate in a positive light. If your dog is willingly entering the crate when you begin this step, you can place the feeding bowl at the back of the crate. If they are still seeming hesitant or scared, put the bowl only as far as the dog will go without getting too anxious. With every meal time, push the bowl further inside the crate.

Once your dog seems relaxed and comfortable standing and eating their meals inside the crate, you can start to shut the door of the crate. Initially, reopen the door as soon as they finish eating. With each successive feeding, take slightly longer to open the door, until they can stay in the crate comfortably for about 10 minutes after eating. An important tip is not to let them out until they stop whining or crying. If you let them out once they begin to whine or cry, they’ll think that the way to escape the clutches of their wicked crate is to cry.

Step 3- Getting them accustomed to the crate for longer

Once your dog seems completely at ease while eating their regular meals in the crate, you can try and keep them inside the crate for short periods of time while you’re at home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Now use a command to try and get them to enter. Use positive reinforcement to encourage them to get inside the crate. Once they’ve entered, praise and reward them, then shut the crate door.

Initially, sit near the crate quietly for a few minutes, without interacting with your dog. If the next few minutes go by calmly without them causing any commotion, then you should go into another room for a few minutes. After being out of sight for a few minutes, return to the crate once more. Repeat this process several times a day. With each successive repetition, increase the time for which you are out of sight for your dog. Once your dog can stay alone in the crate for 30 minutes or more, without unleashing their destructive potential or howling the house down of course, you can begin to leave them in the crate for short time periods. 

Step 4- Using the crate

Once your dog can spend 30 minutes in the crate without getting frightened or nervous, you can begin leaving him in the crate for short spans of time while you leave the house. Use your usual command and treats to get them inside the crate. Leave them with a few toys to help them feel safe. Make sure that you don’t have a long, overly emotional departure with your dog, as sad as you might feel at the prospect of not seeing them for just an hour or so. Crate them a few minutes before you leave. Continue to crate your dog for short periods of time even while you’re home, so that it instils the idea that you will return. 

When you’re crating your dog at night, initially you should place the crate in your bedroom or close by in a hallway. This is so that your pup does not associate the crate with isolation and separation, and so that you can hear them if they call out to go to the toilet. 

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