Crate Training Made Easy
Crate training for dogs can be made not only possible, but relatively easy, by relying on the animal’s natural instincts. It is important that you choose the right type of crate before you start training the dog. And by right type I mean right size. A modern or luxury dog crate will do little more than look good sitting in your living room if it isn’t the right size for your pet.
Regarding sizing, dogs smaller than 10 lbs. will need smaller crates of between 18 and 22”. Dogs weighing between 11 and 40” will require a 24-30” size crate, while a dog weighing between 41 and 65 lbs. will require a crate size of 36-42”. The larger dogs weighing between 65 and 100 lbs. will require a crate size of 48”. A dog weighing more than 100 lbs. will definitely require a crate size of at least 54”.
1. Introduce your dog to the crate
Introduce your dog to the crate as soon as possible. Take her closer to the crate and let her explore it for as long as she can. In order to increase the dog’s chances of getting used to the crate, you should consider the following;
• Put her favorite toy inside the crate.
• Fill a Kong toy with the dog’s favorite food.
Make sure you entice the dog by taking the favorite toy or food to the door where the crate is located and gradually move the treat towards the center of the crate. Repeat these steps until your dog no longer requires a treat to use the crate.
2. Feed your dog inside the crate
Once your puppy begins exploring her crate regularly then you should move to this step. Place the food bowl at the center of the crate, making it easier for her to eat, even when half of her body is outside the crate. Each day, you should move her food deeper inside the crate and when the dog starts stepping inside the crate, you can push the food bowl to the back of the crate. Close the crate door behind, once the dog gets used to this.
3. Add a command
You may want to add a verbal cue, in order to command the dog to enter the crate. Effective verbal cues include “In your crate”, “Crate up”, and “Go to bed”. To make these commands work better, make sure you place a threat inside or close to the crate before you issue the command. Repeat these steps at least once in a day, until your dog learns to move to the crate even without your command.
4. Extend your dog’s time in the crate
One of the best possible ways of increasing the time your dog stays in her crate is to increase gradually the total time the door to the crate remains shot. You should increase total time in the crate from 10 to 15 seconds, and then to 30 seconds and so on. You need to help your dog get used to this exercise, by splitting the exercise into 2-3 sessions a day. Keep in mind that certain conditions such as hot spots on dogs can create discomfort as regards the use of crates, hence they may move outside of the crate or lick and chew on hotspots wound when you don’t add toys or crates.
5. Leave the room
Once your dog has learned to stay in her crate with the door closed, you should consider leaving the room after some 20-30 minutes. You may want to increase the time duration you stay away from the dog, from one training session to the other. Make sure you give the dog some time to settle down before leaving her in the crate (you should consider waiting up to 10 minutes before leaving the dog in the crate).
6. Learn to night crate your dog
Perhaps the night time is the best time to start training your dog on crating. Even if you teach your dog to crate in the morning or afternoon, she will eventually learn to rest in the crate, in the evening. Make sure you command the puppy at bedtime to go into the crate, while her favorite toy is waiting, then shut the door and leave the room.
In conclusion, crate training can be made easy if you have the right amount of dedication, patience and love. And remember, never use the crate to punish your dog for bad behavior, she wouldn’t see such punishment as a training. Good luck.