Introduction to Crate Training a Dog
To introduce your dog to crate training you need to provide your pet dog or puppy with a dog crate or a pen enclosure, of the correct size for your breed of dog that will provide your dog’s natural instincts to have its own “lair” or den as in prehistorical times when all dogs were wild, before domestication.
These days with domesticated dogs we are providing our dog’s natural instincts to mess its private dwelling and sleeping environment. It also helps to calm the dag by giving it a safe place away from the dangers in the home such as electrical cables which it might chew on and be electrocuted. It also keeps it away from the kitchen or bathroom or wherever you keep your poisonous cleaning liquids. The crate or cage for crate training can also become a portable dog house or kennel used in other rooms or when you go on vacation with your dog. It is also a convenient mode of safely transporting your dog on the journey to your holiday if you are going by car.
Never use your crate as a means of punishment. I remember as a child, being sent to bed as a punishment and I began to resent going to bed even when tired.
To give your dog a place to sleep throughout its lifetime gives your dog a sense of security and is pleasurable for it. All of the crates I recommend have removable doors and these can sometimes be stored under the crate, at least you will be able to find them when you need them. The crate does not have to be an eyesore either as it can be “camouflaged” by keeping it under a table or even make a table out of it which saves a lot of space in a smaller room.
How to Prepare Your Crate for Crate Training.
If your dog’s crate training pen is the type that has a separate floor which can be detached from the side walls, just get your dog lay on the floor of the crate without erecting the walls and roof of the pen. I always put a thick piece of felt underneath the floor, between the ground and the underside of crate floor to give some insulation and to stop the rattling noises. This procedure of just using the floor can also be done with some puppies but I tend to omit this part of the training for them but with some puppies it is necessary. You will have to allow for trial and error I am afraid. I then put on one wall for the next hour once your dog has become used to making its home on just the floor of the crate. Again you could put all of the walls up in one go but try one first is my motto. Eventually as the dog gets accustomed to its new changing environment you can add the roof. Do not be in a hurry but usually this is only a one day task in total.
Put Toys and Treats Inside the Crate
I always start by putting my dog’s favorite toy inside the crate or pen for crate training but away from the entrance so the dog entirely enters the cage. Some of my dog’s favorite toys are Kong Marvin Moose and Tuff Whistle Ball.
Yor dog’s favorite toys should always be bigger than the can swallow, better to if they are indestructible. Any loose parts need to be removed or cut off to be safe. I use those small rodent type water feeders for very small puppies to drink from this ensures they are adequately hydrated throughout their confinement if confined for any length of time.
For the dog’s bedding I use old towels or old blankets. I get these from garage sales and charity shops are also a good place to get cheap items, it’s also a good cause and recycling is something I encourage. If your dog messes on the bedding remove the bedding and wash and let the dog sleep on the hard floor for a while. Some dogs prefer to sleep on a hard “bed” just like some humans.
When you are at home try to arrange the placement of the crate so that you have complete view of the dog in the crate. This will ensure the dogs can see you too and it will encourage the dog or puppy that it is safe to go into and stay in the crate when you are around. It can even be in another room as long as you are in full view of the dog.
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy for Crate Training
As an introduction to crate training, crate your dog or puppy in its dog crate, and with simplicity, please follow these simple instructions:
To begin with crate training, at the start, always without fail, praise your dog or puppy when it enters the cage to make it think this is a good place to be. It will be thinking “Heh every time I come in here my owner praises me! I think I’ll come in here more often”, this will also make the crate training much more enjoyable for your dog. Never try to force your dog into something it clearly feels uneasy with. Encourage them with praise and titbits, a reward and they will naturally always want to do it to get the praise or titbit. Never ever force your dog into the crate as this will only instill in its mind that this could be a punishment. No exceptions even if you want to get to bed, you have to have patience if you are to succeed in crate training and in encouraging your dog to feel comfortable with the new environment. Just drop a tasty morsel of something into the crate and that should do the trick. I also do this in the beginning throughout the day and it quickly encourages the dog to go and possibly stay in the cage waiting for the next tasty treat. Also at the beginning convince the dog to eat just outside the entrance to the cage and then as the days go by work the plate further into the crate until after a few days the food is eaten at the far side of the cage from the entrance. It does not take long to convince them.
Put your dog into the dog crate periodically at the beginning of your period of initial crate train exercise whilst at home. This really speeds up the time taken to crate train your dog as it does not fret, it can see you are staying close by and will settle down in the dog crate. This convinces the dog you are not leaving it in isolation.
Bladder and sphincter control in small puppies is none existent so do not even try to crate train your dog if it is under a couple of months old as it will surely mess the crate. This could be a difficult trait to extinguish.
Always remove collars or use a safety-collar for crate training, the type that will break away if it gets caught onto something in the dog cage. You may need to use this type of collar if you need your puppy tagged with an identification tag.
Be sure to exercise your dog before retiring it to the crate so that it can “empty” itself of urine and do its business. Never use a dog crate that is too large for the breed of dog you have as it may encourage it to soil in the cage as the space it has is large therefore it will think that part of it is not in its territory. If your dag does soil in its dog cage when crate training then this is the first check to make.
If your dog or puppy make a mess in the crate while you are out and it has been your fault because you have left it unattended for too long, do not punish it. Just clean the mess up and forget it, live with it as it was your fault. You could use one of those sprays that eliminates the smell too.
Do not let any children play in or near your dog’s crate as it is the dog’s private place and not a play area. The dog may feel threatened so keep the kids well away.
The cost of buying a crate can be cheaper than your dog destroying or damaging your furniture so it is a worthwhile investment and will pay for itself in time, but the real cost is preserving the life of your dog ensuring it is safely in its own space and not on any danger in other parts of the home.
I wish you good luck in crate training your dog and if you have any questions about crate training or helpful tips then please drop me a line for inclusion on this website.