Many first-time dog owners are reluctant to crate train their puppies because they think it is cruel.  The fact is that dogs are naturally inclined to be in a “den”. Providing a crate and properly training and using it will provide your dog with a safe place.

Why Crate Training is Important

There are many benefits to crate training your dog.  

Housebreaking - Dogs don’t like to relieve themselves where they sleep, by properly crate training your puppy you can help speed the housebreaking process.

Provides a Safe place – when things get chaotic in your home a crate can provide safe retreat for your dog. Whether you have a houseful of guests or there is a thunderstorm or some other event that is stressing your dog, the crate will be comforting for your dog.

Travel – training your dog to travel is important. Like any behavior, your dog needs to be conditioned. Leaving a dog unrestrained dog in a car is dangerous to both the dog and the occupants of the car. If you have room in your car a crate is great for traveling. It will provide both safety and comfort for your dog.

What Crate Training is NOT for

Crate training should never be used for punishment. A good way to eliminate unwanted behavior is to refocus attention away from the undesired behavior and toward a desired behavior.  For example, if your dog is chewing on your shoe, take the shoe away and replace it with a chew toy.  A crate CAN be used for a cool down period. There are times when a dog may lose focus and need to settle down for a bit, a create is good place to refocus attention.

A crate should never be used for prolonged times of confinement.  Puppies cannot go longer than a few hours without relieving themselves.  No dog should ever be in a create for more than 8 hours.

Choosing the Right Crate

There are a few basic types of dog crates. Plastic crates are more for travel and we do not recommend them for crate training. Fabric crates are convenient and light, but we only recommend them for well trained dogs. Our choice for an everyday crate is a wire crate.

The right size crate is important. A crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up comfortably turn around. It should not be too large that there is room for them to go potty in the crate. The wire crates we carry come with cage dividers, so you can adjust the amount of space your puppy has.

The only accessories you need for your crate is some type of blanket or pad. We do not recommend putting toys in a crate, especially for young puppies, as they could be a choking hazard.

Training Your Dog to Use the Crate

Choose a location in your home that is convenient yet nor cumbersome. You do not want people tripping over the crate while the dog is in it but you also do not want the dog to feel isolated.

Start out slow. Put your dog’s bed inside the crate and throw in some treats. It is a good idea to teach some word association along with the treats. Keep it short and simple.  Plenty of praise is needed. You are making this a positive experience.

Keep the time in crate very short at first.  When releasing the puppy from the crate take him outside immediately. Gradually build up to longer times in the crate.

Don’t give in to whining or barking. The first few nights may be very hard. Do not let your dog get a desired action by barking or whining. You are reinforcing that behavior and it will be harder to break later. You do need to know the difference between your dog simply wanting release and when they need to go potty. If you think your dog needs to go, take him outside and then put him in the crate again.

Good Lick with your new family member and if you need any help,  please feel free to call us. We are here to help.