Crate training a puppy is a necessary action to take if you have a pet dog at home. Not every pet owner can stay at home and look after their little furry pals. This is why crate training a puppy is so important, because while you’re at work, you don’t have to worry. In addition, creating a crate training schedule also helps with potty training and teaching your pooch the rules of the house. Check out these tips on how you can crate train your puppy without the help of a professional trainer with you.
The Basics of Crate Training A Puppy
1. Pick the Right Crate.
Before crate training a puppy, you want to make sure that you have a crate on hand. What kind of crate should you get? Well, that depends on the size of your dog. It’s best to get a crate that provides just enough room for your hound to stand and walk around. However, it shouldn’t be too big. That way your dog will be discouraged from soiling one side and then sleeping on the other.
When it comes to crates, you can choose between plastic and metal dog crates. For home use, the wire, metal crate is highly recommended. These crates are often collapsible, which makes them easy to assemble and disassemble when you need to move them. Metal crates also offer better ventilation and visibility. They are also easier to clean. If you buy a metal crate, go for one with a divider, as you can use this when the puppy grows bigger too.
On the other hand, a plastic crate is a good option for puppies who will travel a lot. It provides more security and privacy for the dog when there’s too much activity going on around it. Just keep in mind that due to the lack of ventilation and visibility, this type of crate is not recommended for home use. Rather, use it only for transport purposes.
2. Introduce the Crate.
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One could say that a dog’s crate is a dog’s bedroom or safe haven. However, in order for your dog to realize that, you must first introduce the crate properly. Whatever you do, do not lock your dog inside it without telling them about the crate!
How do you introduce a crate exactly? For one, you can place the crate in a place where your dog always goes to. Next, add a toy inside. Putting their favorite toy is a good idea, as this will encourage them to go inside and play with it. Third, let them play and enjoy his time inside the crate. Do not close the door; this will give them the impression that you just tricked them into going inside, and you’re locking them in for good. Last, make the crate as comfortable as possible for your dog. Add a blanket or a small bed, so they realize that it’s actually a place to play and relax in.
3. Feed Them Inside the Crate.
Not all dogs will feel immediately comfortable, even if you put their favorite blanket or toy inside. However, don’t give up. There’s another trick in the book that they won’t be able to resist — food!
By now, your furry friend knows what a crate is, but they are still questioning its safety and overall purpose in their life. That means your new goal is to make your puppy feel comfortable in entering and leaving the crate, as well as spending more and more time inside it.
You can start leaving your dog’s food bowl inside the crate. Start by leaving their meals near the door just to get them comfortable. On the following day, move the food bowl a little bit inside the crate, so your pup will be forced to go inside. Continue this process until your dog is eating all the way inside the crate comfortably.
4. Gently Close the Crate.
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If your dog is now eating comfortably inside the crate, you can gently close the door, but the moment they are done eating, you have to open the door. For successive meals, you can extend their stay inside by a minute. This will help your pup practice patience when staying inside the crate.
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As you can see, the goal now is to lengthen the stay for your pup inside the crate. Now, this is where those toys will come in handy, as your dog will need to do something while waiting for you to open the door. Remember, boredom will be the ultimate challenge for a pup inside a crate, so make sure to keep them busy.
5. Give Them Alone Time in the Crate.
At first, be with your pup and then slowly work your way away from the room when your pup starts to get comfy in the crate. They should grasp the idea that being alone in the crate isn’t that bad. When you return, do not open the door immediately. Spend a couple of minutes with them before opening the door.
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Continue to increase the time your pooch spends inside the crate without supervision. When they are ready, you’ll be able to leave them in the crate while you’re at work or even overnight. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to teach your dog to stay in the crate alone without the whining.
6. Don’t Make it a Big Deal.
There’s really no reason to get all excited when you ask your pup to go inside the crate. If you show excitement, your dog will feed off of it, and that’s not really a good thing. Act normal and act casual when you let your dog inside the crate. If they stay there a long time, praise or reward them.
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Usually, when your dog spends hours inside the crate, they will be very excited to see you once you return home. Keep it low-key and do not encourage the excitement. Instead, just say hello, act normal, and let them out once they have calmed down.
Bonus Tip: Never do these things when crate training.
Crate training a puppy is not easy, but it is doable. To achieve success, you also need to know the things that you should never do during crate training.
One of these is to never leave your dog in the crate all day long. For one, you will force your puppy to soil their crate, and they really don’t want to do that! However, if you leave them there all day, they won’t have a choice.
Another thing you should never do when crate training a puppy is using the crate as punishment. Bear in mind that a crate is a dog’s happy and peaceful place, so they shouldn’t look at it as a place of discipline.
When crate training a puppy, you have to be very patient and consistent. Puppies are very young, and they are full of energy. The last thing they want is to stay in a crate and just wait to get out. This is why you have to make crate training a pleasant and fun experience for your pooch. Once you do, you and your pup will enjoy the crate for many years to come!
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