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A Guide to Crate Training a Puppy

Friday April 7th 2017

Crate training is an extremely worthwhile tool for any dog owner and can help with crucial teaching areas such as potty-training, transportation and teaching them general house rules. A crate is also extremely beneficial as it can serve as a safe place for your dog to call their own.

Step One: A casual introduction

The best way to introduce your dog to their new crate is to start by placing it in a room which your dog often resides, fill it with a few toys and even a blanket, then leave the door to the crate open; hopefully your dog will naturally explore the area without your encouragement but if not, try placing a small treat inside to give them a bit more motivation.

The most important factor here is patience. Getting your dog used to a new space like this will take time but it is far better to wait than force them to spend time in there against their will. Always keep in mind that this crate should be a place which they consider their own safe haven and this is something which will only happen with time.

Step Two: Feeding in the crate

The next step towards getting your dog comfortable in the crate is attempting to feed them inside it. Place their food bowl towards the back of the crate in order to encourage them to fully enter. If your dog is reluctant to eat their food within the crate, start by leaving their bowl just outside, then gradually move it in and towards the back over the course of several meals.

Once your dog has got used to eating within the crate, try closing the door whilst they eat. If they seem to be comfortable with this, try leaving the door closed for a few minutes after they have finished eating and keep extending this period by a couple of minutes until they are happy to stay in there for at least ten minutes after eating.

Step Three: Gradually increasing the time spent in the crate

Once you know your dog can happily spend time in their crate with the door closed without becoming distressed it’s time to begin extending the periods of time in which you keep them in there. Each time you return to the crate, it’s vital that you don’t make a fuss over letting them out. You want to create the idea that being in the crate is a completely normal activity for them which means avoiding the encouragement of any excited behaviour they might be showing when you return.

Step Four: Leaving them in their crate whilst you leave the house

For some dog owners, one aim of crate training might be to be the ability to leave your dog in their crate whilst you pop out to run an errand or two. Once your dog has been left in their crates for extended periods whilst you’re also in the house, you should be safe to go out for a short period whilst they’re in their crate. Before you try this, make sure your dog is not showing any signs of anxiety or stress whilst they’re in their crate for extended periods of time.

If you are looking to leave your dog in their crate when you leave the house make sure you continue crate training when you’re also with them; this is important so that your dog doesn’t begin to associate their crate with being left alone at home.