Best Way to Crate Train a Dog

best way to crate train a dog

Everything You Need to Know About Crate Training

There has always been a stigma when it comes to putting your dog in a crate. Dog owners refuse to crate their dogs as it can be viewed cruel and miss the point entirely of how crates can be helpful with your dog’s demeanor.

If done correctly, a crate can be your dog’s haven. It can provide your dog with a sense of security if you are not around, and most importantly, crate training can help with your dog’s behavior.

It is important to keep in mind that positive reinforcement is key to a successful crate training. Rewarding your dog and establishing a routine will eventually make your dog look forward to his/her crate and will consider it their home within your home.

To help you out, we have here for you the best way to crate train a dog.

Best Way to Crate Train A Dog - 6 Easy Steps!

The first thing that you have to possess as a dog owner who’s about to venture into dog crate training is patience. Lots and lots of patience.

You, reading this article, are doing the right thing by choosing to educate yourself in crate training. Most people don’t realize that by simply shoving your dog in one of the crates will not make the dog treat the crate as a home but as an actual prison.

Without proper training, you will only cause anxiety to your dog whenever you put them in one as they will feel punished or banished.

Now before we jump into step 1, in preparation, you have to introduce your dog to it’s crate. Here’s a quick and easy to follow video on how to successfully introduce your dog to it’s crate. Give them enough time to get to know the crate and make your dog understand that it’s safe.

Once you are satisfied with the amount of time you have given your dog and if you think they’re ready, it’s now time to take the first step.

Step 1: Out of Your Dog's System

At this point, your dog should have been properly introduced to the crate. First, you have to allow your dog to go potty, eat, and drink. Also give your dog enough time to play outside of the crate and have a lot of exercise. This way, they won’t have any pent up desire to play.

Step 2: Condition Your Dog's Positively Mind Towards The Crate

If your dog has his own blanket, place it in the crate to create a feeling of coziness and familiarity. Adding his/her toys will also add to the feeling that it is indeed safe to enter. Once you’ve placed his favorite items inside, leave the door open and do not push your dog to enter.

Give it time and let them explore, never rush your dog. Another way to catch their attention if they have not entered yet or if they got distracted, get their favorite treat and toss it in. Getting and eating the treat inside creates a positive association to the crate.

Once their in, use your keyword for affirmation to let them know that they are doing a good job. Then, reward them with a treat to lock in the affirmation.

After doing this numerous times, you can now start feeding your canine friend whilst inside their crate. If you sense trembling or any signs of your dog being afraid of the crate and is still reluctant to enter, you can put their bowl of food closer and closer to the crate.

Again, you will need a lot of patience as you will have to slowly move the bowl until your dog is finally eating inside. Once successfully done, you can gently close the door while your dog is eating and open the door as soon as they finished. The key here is to not close the door abruptly or forcefully to avoid causing your dog to panic and waste all the progress you’ve made.

Step 3: Leave Your Dog in A Closed Crate

While it may not happen the first time, the goal is to be able to leave your puppy in a closed crate for 15 minutes without stress.

Place your puppy in the crate (or ask your puppy to enter the crate) with their favorite toy or a food puzzle they love and close the door for about 15 seconds. Then let your puppy out of the crate and make a “5-second trade” for treats (give your puppy treats for 5 seconds) while you place their toy or food puzzle out of their reach.

Hang out near the crate for about 10 seconds and repeat. Build up to longer durations until they are comfortable being closed in the crate for 15 minutes. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

Progress slowly and do not leave your dog’s side.

You’ll know you’re doing it right if your dog stays happily engaged with their toy or food puzzle, rather than whimpering or acting anxious.

If your puppy struggles to meet the goals, try increasing the value of their toy or food puzzle (fill it with their favorite treats!) and/or make the time shorter.

Throw in easy durations between the longer durations (i.e., 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 20 seconds, one minute, etc.).

To make the first step easier and less scary for your puppy, close the crate door most of the way, but keep your hand inside. Hold onto their toy or food puzzle while they play with it, and praise and talk to them in a comforting voice. Do this until your puppy is comfortable playing even when your hand is out of the crate.

Step 4: Get Farther Away from The Crate

After successfully repeating and completing the 3rd step, now you have to combine it with you leaving him inside the crate at a considerable amount of distance.

While the gate is closed, walk a few steps away, go back only of it’s time to open the crate. Do this repeatedly, with rewards in between, until you are able to be completely out of your dog’s sight without whining.

Step 5: Increase The Duration of Your Absence

Now that you can leave the room without your dog whining or being aggressive, it’s now time to leave your dog in a crate for longer periods of time. Start small so that your dog is not shocked with the change. Start being absent for 15 seconds and gradually increase the time of your absence.

Final Thoughts

Crate training your dog requires a lot of patience and time. After you have repeatedly followed the 5 steps we have listed, you can now introduce other challenges to your training. You can start leaving your dog while inside the crate longer and try to avoid using toys or treats in motivating your dog to enter.

Just remember that the early stages of the training, esp step 2, can be quite challenging. If your dog is really not having any of it, let them out and don’t make them suffer inside the crate.

You can always restart your training without hurting your dog’s trust towards you. The ultimate goal here is to give your dog a place they can love, consider their safe place, and have their own zone in your house.

John Stamus

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