We all want a well-behaved dog that doesn’t tear things up and goes to the bathroom outside — and dog crate training is an important part of that. It creates a safe environment for your dog that teaches them responsibility and independence.
Choose the Right Crate for Your Dog
“You want to get one that’s durable, comfortable, and flexible with whatever training you’re doing. For dogs that prefer to sleep in the dark, she recommends kennel or airline crates (which are more enclosed), while wire crates work best for other dogs. It’s important, she notes, that you don’t buy a crate that is too big for your dog. Depending on how big your dog is going to get, buy the right crate for their adult size. Then get a divider so you can build the space and grant them more and more space.
Give the Dog a Treat After They Go Into the Crate
Once again, positive association rules. One of Flayton’s favorite tricks is giving the dog a KONG toy filled with peanut butter that she’s put in the freezer. “When they’re hanging out in the crate, they have something that stimulates them, but they have to work down the frozen peanut butter,” she says. It gets the dog used to being in the crate for a longer period of time, while also associating it with an enjoyable activity.
Keep an Eye on the Time
Your dog needs time outside the crate to play, eat, and use the bathroom. Dogs don’t want to soil where they sleep, but if there’s too long of a stretch without a walk, they might end up doing so.
Play Crate Games
The dog shouldn’t see the crate as a negative place. To ensure this, incorporate the crate into fun games where the pup goes in and out of the open crate at their own will.
Keep Your Dog “Naked”
Dogs should never, ever have collars or tags or anything on when they’re in the crate, If the tag gets caught in the crate the dog could strangle.
Set Your Dog Up for Success
Once you are ready to give your dog more time inside the crate, do it in small steps. You don’t want to go out to dinner for six hours, maybe just go get a cup of coffee and come back. She also advises using a recording device to determine what your dog does while you’re gone. Are they anxious? Are they pacing? Or are they calm? Then you know — and when you come back, you can reward them.
Prepare yourself for at least six months of training. There will be ups and downs since dogs aren’t linear learners, but success will come. Even when it feels like you’re banging your head against a wall, as long as you stay calm and consistent in your methodology, your dog will eventually look for the reward and you’ll have the opportunity to reward them. These are important tips for crate training a new born puppy.