Dog-crate is an essential part of achieving this goal. The Crate provides a safe space for your dog.
Dogs are den animals by nature and enjoy small, enclosed spaces. Crates give dogs a sense of security, and when used from a young age, they can calm their anxiety.
Anna Flayton is a senior dog trainer at PUPS Pet Club, Chicago. We asked her for some advice on Crate training your dog.
Step 1: Select the right Crate for your dog
What is the best way to find the right Crate for your dog?
Flayton recommends kennel or airline-style dog crates for dogs who prefer to sleep in the dark. She recommends airline or kennel-style dog cages for dogs who like to sleep at night. She says it’s crucial not to buy a crate too large for your dog. She advises that you should buy the correct Crate based on your dog’s adult size. Then, get a divider to give them more room.
Step 2: Develop the Right Mindset for Crate training
Flayton says that the more dogs are able to associate the Crate as a place of relaxation, the more likely they will enjoy spending time in it. When you put your dog in the cage, they will want to get out again and play. If you put them in the Crate when they are calm, then they’ll likely see it as a resting place. Bring them in for 10-minute increments and then work up.
Step 3: Determine how your dog will be comfortable in their Crate
Some people create a comfortable environment by using a dog bed or towels. However, this may not be the best solution. It’s a matter of trial and error. She warns that, depending on your dog’s personality, it may be possible for them to tear apart a bed or use it as a poop pad. It’s okay for them to sleep on their crate mat. “Dogs prefer hard surfaces.”
Step 4: Reward your dog for going into the Crate
Positive association is the key. Flayton loves to give her dog a Kong toy that is filled with peanut butter and frozen. She says that the peanut butter in the KONG toy is a great way to keep the dog stimulated while they are inside the Crate. This helps the dog get used to spending more time in the Crate and also associates it with a fun activity.
Step 5: Monitor the time spent in the Crate
Your dog will need time to play, eat, and go to the bathroom outside of the Crate. The dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping place, but they may do so if they are left alone for too long.
Step 6: Play Crate Games with Your Dog
The Crate shouldn’t be viewed as a bad place by the dog. Incorporate the Crate in fun games that allow the dog to enter and exit the Crate as they please. Flayton loves to hide treats in the Crate or throw the ball inside when playing fetch.
Step 7: Do not let your dog “naked” inside the Crate
Clayton warns: “Dogs shouldn’t wear tags, collars, or any other type of tag or collar when they are in a crate.” If the tag is caught in the Crate, the dog may choke.
Step 8: Set Your Dog Up for Crate-Training Success
When you’re ready to allow your dog more time in the Crate for training, take small steps. Clayton warns that you don’t want a six-hour dinner. You can also use a remote camera for dogs to see what your dog is doing while you are away. “Are they nervous? Are they pacing around? “Or are they calm?” She asks. When you return, you can reward them.
Step 9: Be patient with crate training
Prepare yourself for a minimum of six months of crate training. Flayton says there will be ups and downs because dogs don’t learn linearly. But success will come. Even if you feel like you are banging your head against the wall if you remain calm and consistent with your method, your dog will eventually seek out the reward, and you will have the chance to reward them.