Crate training can help establish a structured, predictable routine and provide your dog with a safe space of its own. Crate training is an invaluable tool in creating a happy pet-owner relationship. Crate training is not as difficult as it may seem. Once you have the basics down, it can be surprisingly simple.
Getting started is often the most intimidating part, but don’t worry. Read on to learn about every step of crate training your canine companion. Follow these steps so that getting your dog comfortable using their new home doesn’t have to be stressful for either of you.
How to start crate training
Crate training can be an invaluable tool, and starting on the right foot is crucial. Remember to create a positive relationship between your dog and its crate. Here are some of the first steps you must take to get your pup crate trained.
Have fun with it
For all dogs, from tough Pitbull puppies to energetic Lab puppies, crate training needs to be fun and stress-free from the get-go.
With that in mind, introduce the crate gradually. Leave the crate door open, throw in some treats and toys, or let them investigate naturally and get comfortable with it. When they do get into the crate, reward them with lots of praise or treats so that they associate it with something positive and enjoyable.
Have meal time in the crate
As part of the training process, feed your dog inside the crate to encourage them to stay put and be comfortable in their own safe space. Doing this can help your pup create a positive association with the crate and form trust with its owners. Trust also helps avoid aggression later on if multiple pets are fed together or near each other.
Additionally, this approach makes clean-up much easier, as it keeps food contained and messes localized.
Practice crating your dog
Breaking up the duration of time spent in the crate can help your pet adapt over time. At the start of training, you should strive for periods between 10-15 minutes in a relaxed environment and gradually increase the time as your pup gets comfortable.
Short sessions will help them become accustomed to the crate and create positive associations, as they’ll remember it is a safe and comfortable space to relax. One helpful tip when practicing crating your dog is to make reachable goals and milestones. Whether it be crating your dog and leaving or reaching a set amount of time in the crate, setting goals will help you get there.
Overnight crate training can be a frustrating experience for both you and your dog. Your pup may whine in the crate as they settle into their new sleeping space. Understanding why your dog reacts like negatively is key to discouraging this behavior.
Sometimes the reason might be as simple as your dog’s need to take a bathroom break. Of course, if that’s the trigger, allowing for timely breaks throughout the night can help. However, if you’ve given your pup regular breaks and they continue to whine, chances are they’re hoping you’ll let them out of the crate.
In this case, you must wait to open the door until morning to avoid reinforcing this behavior. Having patience with your pup and rewarding desired behaviors during set times will be critical until they finally get used to overnight crating.
Crate training benefits
Any household can enjoy the benefits of crate training. Not only does it help keep your puppy safe and relaxed, but it also helps build trust and boundaries.
- Preventing destructive chewing
- Helping with separation anxiety
- Reducing the risk of accidents in the house
- Providing security to puppy or rescue dogs who may feel unsure or scared.
Crate training is not an overnight process, but your pup can learn the ropes quickly with patience and consistency.
Crate training supplies
All you need for crate training is a suitable crate, comfortable bedding, some toys, treats, and accurate measurements. Choosing the right size crate is essential as it needs to be big enough for your dog to turn around but not so large it can go to the other end and soil it.
Researching common questions about crates will help you pick the perfect one for your pup’s needs. The bedding should be easy to clean and have no loose stuffing that your dog could swallow or choke on.
Before you go
While crate training may seem exhausting when you first begin, several benefits outweigh the journey. Although crates may not seem like an obvious place to keep your dog, they offer security and a safe space allowing your pup to relax and wind down.
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