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Crate Training


What is a crate?

There are basically two types of crates available: a wire cage with a pull out tray or a plastic carrier. The plastic carrier is usually used for airline or road travel. A crate can be a great training aid. Dogs enjoy their crates because it provides a sense of security and a secure place to lie down where they can feel safe. Crate training offers many benefits like helping with housebreaking and destructive chewing.

How big should the crate be?

A crate must be large enough for the dog to lie down with her legs extended, stand up comfortably, and turn around in a complete circle. If you get a puppy and anticipate it to be large when it grows, buy a crate large enough for when he is fully grown. The crate can be made smaller by stuffing a box in the back or by purchasing a divider sold specifically for crates. It is important that the crate is not too large or the puppy may potty in one end and sleep in the other.

Where should the crate be kept?

The crate should be placed in the kitchen, living room, or well-traveled area in a quiet corner. This way, the dog will feel comfortable and not be isolated from the family. A blanket can be draped over the sides or front to make the dog feel secure and signify “quiet time.” To calculate how often a puppy needs to potty, refer to the “potty training” drop down tab from the Dog Handbook. For young puppies, the crate should be kept in the bedroom at night so the puppy can be taken out as needed.

What do I put inside the crate?

A blanket or rug can be placed in the bottom. Be careful that your dog does not chew and/or swallow the bedding material. Always provide toys such as a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and treats, Nylabones, or other chew toys.

How can I get my dog inside the crate?

Use treats to coax your dog inside. Never force her in! Never punish your dog and then put her in the crate or she will associate the crate with being punished and render the training ineffective.

Once your dog will walk into the crate, shut the door for a few minutes and praise her. Gradually increase the time she stays in the crate by five minute increments, working up to thirty minutes. It is important to ignore all barking and whining while the dog is in the crate. Even reprimanding her is providing attention and reinforces behavior. Instead, wait until she is quiet, then let her out of the crate.

When using a crate to house train your puppy, always take her out the same door to the same place in the yard. Within half a second of potting, give lots of treats and praise to let your puppy know he did a very god thing. This method of rewarding lets her know that she she did was correct and will reinforce the proper behavior.

When should my dog be in the crate?

Your dog should be put in the crate at different times throughout the day when you are home. He will think he is being punished if he only goes inside the crate when you leave. Puppies should always go int he crate when the owner is not around to supervise her. This will reduce the risk of accidents in the house. When you are leaving, your dog should be in the crate about ten to fifteen minutes before you leave the house.

If there are children in the household, your dog can go int he crate when it becomes too busy. This is a good time to teach children that the dog needs quiet time and should be left alone when int he crate. Always remember that a crate should be a supplement to, not a substitute for, your love and attention.

What if my dog doesn’t like to be in the crate?

Be patient! As your dog gets used to the crate, she will feel more secure. Teach a cue word such as “kennel up” or “crate.” Before long, your dog will know exactly what to do when she hears the cue word. Don’t forget to praise her when she goes in the crate on command!