Why is crate training important?
You’ve gotten a new puppy. Congratulations. Everyone tells you that you need to teach the puppy to use a crate. Why? Crates and kennels are a handy way to confine your dog when you need to.
Perhaps you need to travel with your dog, or you need to leave the dog home alone for some amount of time, or the dog needs to be confined for some other reason.
Dogs don’t naturally think a crate is a great idea. So we have to train them to use a crate and it’s best if they learn to enjoy a crate.
How do you introduce the crate?
The best way to get a dog haps to go into his crate is to make the crate a place where good things happen. This can be accomplished by feeding the dog in the crate or by placing his favorite toys in the crate. Once the puppy will go freely into the crate, probably to get his food, you can close the door of the crate for a short amount of time.
Try feeding the puppy in the crate and closing the door while he is inside eating. Before he is finished, open up the crate door, so the puppy can exit when he’s finished. At each meal time, extend the amount of time you have the crate door closed. This will allow your puppy to slowly get used to having to stay in the crate longer and longer.
How do you get the dog to like their crate?
Once your puppy is familiar with the crate and being confined for short amounts of time, now you can begin extending the amount of time he remains in the crate. He is going to protest some along the way.
When the puppy is throwing a little puppy tantrum, the best thing you can do is wait until he has stopped crying or clawing at the door. Once he is quiet, let him out. Be sure to put something nice in the crate like food or his favorite toy to encourage him to go back into the crate.
You don’t want him to associate the crate with bad experiences. Once he is happily trotting in and out again, you can repeat the door closing process again, gradually increasing the time he is in the crate. Be sure to leave the crate door open at all times, so your puppy can wander in and out as he pleases.
When done correctly and gradually, most adult dogs end up enjoying their crates because they see them as comfy places to rest and get some yummy treats.