How To Crate Train A Dog: Step By Step
One of the secrets to kennel training success is giving your dog plenty of time to feel comfortable inside the crate before closing the door and leaving them alone for the first time. The goal is for your pup to have a positive association with being inside, so that the crate feels like a safe and comfortable resting spotand you cant rush that feeling. So remember: The steps below arent meant to be done all in one day. Spend as much time as you need on each step to ensure that your dog feels content and stress-free. Thats how you lay the foundation for a lifetime of looking forward to their crate.
Ready to dive into crate training? Heres how its done.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stay In His Crate At Night
If you want your puppy to sleep peacefully at night, set up a routine so he or she doesnt wake up to any noises. As they get ready for bedtime, include a dinner about an hour before and some chewing on whats needed to help with decompression, take several potty breaks to ensure theyre running on empty, then sleep peacefully in their crate.
Never React To Or Reward The Crying
This is worth repeating:
PRO TIP: Never, ever, ever, ever react to or reward crying when your puppy is in his crate.
The worst thing you can do and the most common mistake people make is to worsen the problem by going to their crying puppy, to reassure them, and maybe even let them out of the crate just to get a moments peace.
If your puppy whines at night and you go to them, they quickly learn that all the noise works and will in the future try the same trick, even if they have to go on for hours.
And dont scold or punish your puppy either.
Theyre only acting naturally so punishing them is immensely unfair.
Furthermore, ANY attention is exactly what theyre looking for and negative attention will suffice. To them, its better than nothing.
So going to them and telling them off, even shouting at them from a distance is actually rewarding their behavior and will encourage the behavior to continue in the future.
The only way to deal with crying and whining is to completely ignore it.
Having said this though, you will have to go to your puppy at least once during the night
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Importance Of Crate Training
There are various reasons to crate train your dog and to use their crate for hours at a time. One of these reasons is that doing so helps them fulfill their needs. In many ways, it provides your dog with a space to protect themselves and give themselves a space where they feel safe. Dogs have a tendency to seek out smaller spaces and create a den, especially when dealing with stressful situations, and the use of a crate can help satisfy this need.
Another benefit to using crates for your precious doggie is that these are great tools to get them accustomed to the rules of the house or housebreaking them. Whats great about dogs is that they do not like to dirty up where they sleep, so staying in their crate further reinforces this by helping them hold their bladder and bowels while in their safe space.
Whats more, this also helps you protect your home and enforce household safety as well. Not only can you get the peace of mind that you deserve knowing that your things remain in place and that nothing is destroyed, but you can also breathe easy knowing that your dog remains safe even when you are not there to keep an eye on them.
Of course, it also goes without saying that crates will make you and your dogs life easier when you are on the go. Whether youre traveling or simply visiting the vet, crates will lend a more seamless way of transporting your dog rather than having them loose in the car or at the vets.
How To Use A Crate
Once your dog is relaxed spending time in their crate, you can use it for longer periods such as overnight or while you are out. If you can, give them a puzzle or enrichment feeder to keep them occupied or a toy that is safe to leave them alone with. These will help your dog avoid boredom.
If you want your dog to spend the night in their crate, be as consistent as possible. If sometimes you use a crate and sometimes dont, this can be confusing for your dog and could even make them anxious at bedtime if they cant predict whats going to happen. Sticking to a routine will help them keep calm as they know what to expect.
If you use a crate to travel with your dogs, make sure it will protect them in the event of an accident.
While you should never use the crate as punishment, it can be valuable to use it as a time-out. If your dog is getting too excited or getting anxious in a situation around the house, you can ask them to go to their crate and leave them with a toy or puzzle to play with until they have calmed down or the situation they are reacting to has ended.
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Dont Shut The Crate Door
Dont- whatever you do- throw the food into the crate then slam the door shut behind your dog- it will only scare them and set their training back. The first few times your dog goes into the crate, dont shut the door at all. Once your dog is going into the crate willingly and often, you can start to push the door to, but dont lock it. Build up to closing the crate door slowly over a week or two of daily practice.
What Is A Crate
A dog crate is simply an enclosure made either from plastic, wire, metal, or even fabric that is large and comfortable enough for your dog to stand it. It usually comes with a door to help safely keep the dog or to help transport your pet.
In many ways, a crate is considered a safe and secure place where your fur baby can find solace or retreat in times of need. These kennels or crates are typically used for a shorter amount of time.
Apart from training your dog, crates provide your pet with a safe space they can use for safety and security, for recovery purposes, and can be used as traveling companions.
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The Get In Your Bed Cue
After a few days of tossing treats in the puppys crate, you can start teaching her to go into the crate herself. Before you start this step, the puppy should already run into the crate to retrieve treats when you toss them in. When she does, toss the cookie in the crate and as shes running inside, say Get in your bed and praise her when she does.
Repeat this about 5 times, for 10 sessions, until she races into the crate to get her treat. Then, youll want to make it a bit more challenging.
Instead of throwing the cookie in first, say Get in your bed. And wait until your puppy goes in the crate before you give her the treat. If she doesnt, wait if she still doesnt go in, end the session.
Try another session in a bit and go back to throwing the cookie in first, then you can try the cue again. When she goes into her crate on cue, give her several cookies and make a huge deal out of her. Do it a couple more times, then end the session.
Always leave your puppy wanting more.
Slowly Build Up The Time Theyre In There
Once youve got the door closed behind your pooch, the next step is to start increasing the amount of time your dog is in the crate for. At first, its best to stay with them. Open the crate within a minute or two, and certainly before your dog starts to get upset, so that they leave calm and happy. Slowly build up the amount of time they are in the crate for before you open the door, then start to leave them alone in the crate. It might help to distract them with a treat or chew the first few times you leave so they barely notice you go.
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Avoid Using It As Punishment
One of the worst things you can do when attempting crate training is to use the crate as a means of punishment. If your dog pees or poops in the home, dont toss him in his crate. Never yell at your pup while placing him in his bedroom and dont yell at him when he starts to whine. Doing these things will cause him to see the crate as a bad place to be, which is the opposite of want you want.
Puppy Gets Completely In Crate
- Puppy gets completely into the crate, all four paws inside.
- Its a good idea to start teaching a cue word for going into the crate from this point forward.
- Say crate up as they get in and click and treat so they start to learn the cue word early.
- Of course, this is the cue youll use when youd like them to go to the crate at any time once theyre trained. So start using it now and start using it often.
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Normalize The Travel Crate
Many pet owners have found success by placing toys and treats inside the crate to encourage exploration. You may also choose to feed your pet in the cratestart by placing the food bowl just inside of it at normal meal times and then gradually put the bowl farther and farther inside on subsequent days. Before you know it your pup will be casually moving in and out of the kennel and choosing to hang out there for naps and playtime on their own.
Add Distractions While Puppys In Crate
Now puppy can remain calmly in the crate with the door closed, you need to start adding distractions.
No puppy likes being confined when theres a commotion going on that they should be involved in, so you need to train them to be calm when distracted.
- As always, start slowly and build up the difficulty.
- Perhaps start with reading and rustling a newspaper whilst theyre in the crate.
- Move up to sorting out your DVD collection.
- Eat a meal and watch TV with them crated.
- Vacuum the carpets.
- Play catch with a friend.
Start with small distractions and build up to more noise and more motion slowly.
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How To Crate Train A Puppy: Day Night Even If You Work
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This is the 6th article in my 8 part definitive guide to crate training.
Weve been through lots of theory and discussion in the previous articles, now its time to start putting it all into practice.
In this article, I show you exactly how to crate train a puppy and take them from never having seen a crate to being happy spending time in there and even seeking it out on their own as their preferred place of rest.
We will be working with your puppys natural curiosity and denning instincts to achieve this goal, the methods described using zero force or coercion along the way.
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Crate Training Your Puppy Or Adult Dog: Everything You Need To Know
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Wondering about the best way to crate train your puppy or adult dog? Or if you should even bother?
Perhaps youre worried that it might be cruel to confine your dog to a crate? . Or maybe youre unsure of all the benefits of crate training?
If youre at all curious about crate training a dog, regardless of their age, youve come to the right place. This article will answer all your questions and walk you through a stress-free process of crate training.
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How Do I Help My Dog Adjust To Spending Time Alone
After a period of being with your dog all the time, such as holidays or during lockdown, it can be a great wrench for both you and your dog to have to be apart. You will need to start preparing before the big day comes if you can. It may be that your dog came to you during your time away from work so now its time for them to learn it is okay to be alone.
How To Crate Train A Puppy
The best way to crate train a puppy is to use a clicker and high-value food rewards for crate training, the clicker is a little device that emits a sound when you click it to tell your puppy theyve done something we want and will get a reward.
A high-value treat being cooked meats not just kibble. Give this to your puppy when he enters the crate. When your dog sits in the crate, feed the treat by placing it in the crate and do not give it to your puppy hand to mouth.
If they leave the crate, they do not get the treat, they must stay in the crate to receive the treat. After having your puppy lie down in the crate, its a good idea to feed your puppy all their meals in the crate now.
If you dont have a clicker, you can use praise but try to make it a single quick punchy word to really mark when the good behavior occurs.
A simple GOOD! or YES!. Two words cannot be spoken quick enough for precision so rule out good boy or anything similar as a marker.
PRO TIP: When we dont have a clicker we use the marker word YES!. However, weve found that our puppies learn quicker when using a clicker which is inexpensive and easy to use.
QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Any clicker will do some are louder and some are softer however what we do recommend is getting a clicker with a wrist strap like this simple dog training clicker.
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When Is My Puppy Ready To Sleep Out Of The Crate
Letting your pup sleep in a dog bed at night instead of the crate should only happen once hes fully housebroken for several weeks or months.
Some owners are letting their dog sleep in the crate until he or she reaches one year of age, just to be sure you dont have any setbacks.
Personally, Ive transitioned my Rottweiler to her bed when she was around 4 to 5 months old and it worked wonderfully .
For a successful transition, you should pay attention to your dogs destructive inclinations and see how he generally behaves around the house.
He should also understand the difference between bedtime and playtime .
So dont engage your dog in any play right before bed or in the bedroom.
Introduce the appropriate behavior patterns first.
If his dog bed will be placed beside your bed and you dont want your dog to jump up your own bed during the night then you will have to establish that rule first to avoid annoying disturbances.
Create A Positive Association With The Crate
The ultimate goal is for your dog to view their crate as a wonderful place to hang out. You can do this by pairing your dog’s choice of going into the crate and settling in the crate with great things happening to them.
Here’s an example of my puppy Fozzie Bear during one of his first crate meals to begin to build this positive association:
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Only Let Your Dog Out When Theyre Quiet And Calm
If you progress through the training steps too quickly, your dog may become distressed. Its important not to let your dog out of the crate when theyre stressed, whining, or crying, as this will allow them to think that having a tantrum works. Instead, wait until they are quiet and calm, then let them out from the crate. Next time you practice with the crate, go back a step so that you remove them from the crate before they become upset.