The Crate Training Process
Crate traing can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament, and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training. The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast.
Step 1 : Introducing Your Dog to the Crate
- Place the crate in an area of you house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Pur a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is opend and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten him.
- To encourage you dog to enter the crate, drop some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, that's okay, don't force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until you dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isn't interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.
Step 2 : Feeding Your Dog His Meals in the Crate
- After intoducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding him his regular meals in the crate.
- Once the dog is eating his meals comfortably in the crate you can close the door while he is eating. The first time you do this open the crate for as soon as he has finished his meal then extend the time.
- If your puppy whines to get out of the crate it is imperative that you don't remove him until he stops whinning.
Step 3 : Conditioning Your Dog to the Crate for Longer Time Periods
- After your dog is eating his regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you're home. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Once he enters the crate praise him, and give him the treat, and close the door behind him. Sit near the crate quietly and then go to another room for a few moments, then return and release him from the crate.
- Repeat this several times a day increasing the time left in the crate each time. Once this is achieved you can begin to leave the puppy in the crate overnight.
Step 4 : Crating Your Dog at Night
- Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initallly it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate furing the night and by having him close by you will be able to hear your puppy when he whines to go outside to the toilet.
Step 5 : Crating Your Dog When Left Alone
- After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using you regular command and a treat. You might also want ot leave him with a few safe toys in the crate. You'll want to vary at what point in your "getting ready to leave" routine you put your dog in the crate. Although he shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere for five to twenty minutes prior to leaving.
- Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact. Praise you dog briefly, give him a treat for entering the crate, and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward you dog for excited behaviour by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key to avoid increasing his anxiety over when you will return.