Your dog’s crate training can require considerable time and energy, which can be effective in a number of scenarios. Whether you have a young dog or puppy, you can use the cage to control his entrance to the house until he knows all the laws of the house, including what he can and can not chew on, and where he can and can not relieve himself.
A cage is also a discreet way to keep your dog inside a vehicle, as well as a means to transport him to areas where he might not be able to run freely. If you teach your dog correctly to use the crate, he will think of it as his safe spot, and will be able to spend time there if necessary.
Keep reading to find out how to effectively train your dog to stay happy in a crate!
#1: Pick the right crate
Crates can be made of plastic or have collapsible, metal frames. They come in different sizes and can be found at most pet supplies stores. When you pick your dog’s crate, make sure it’s roomy enough for him to stand up and move around in.
#2: Start the training process
Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on the age, temperament and previous experience of your dog. When practicing in the crate, it is important to keep two things in mind. Firstly, keep the crate connected to positive experiences for your animal and second, make sure you’re not being cruel to your dog.
#3: Introduce your dog to the crate gently
Place the crate in a part of your house where the family spends a great deal of time, like the family room. Place a warm towel or pillow inside the crate. Take the dog up the cage and talk to him in a positive tone of speech. Ensure that the crate door is kept open, so that it does not brush against your dog and scare him.
To motivate your dog to get into the crate, drop some treats right near it, then just inside the door, and eventually, inside the crate. If at first he fails to go all the way in, that’s all right. Don’t be disheartened. Continue to throw treats into the crate and before you know it, your dog will walk into the crate to get food.
#4: Start feeding your dog inside the crate
To get your pet even more accustomed to being in his crate, start placing his food inside. He might be hesitant to eat there at first. However, keep repeating this behavior and sit with him when he goes to eat. Eventually, your affection and the promise of food will draw him into the crate!
#5: Keep your dog inside the crate for longer periods
Once your dog starts eating his meals inside the crate, you can start leaving him inside for longer periods of time. Do this while you’re home so he doesn’t suffer undue stress or anxiety. Encourage him by pointing inside the crate. Praise him, give him the treat and lock the door until he gets in. Then, soothe him by sitting outside. Gradually, get up and leave but make sure he can still see you. This way, he will start to associate the crate with a positive sentiment.
Once you’ve done this, you can start leaving your pet in the crate when you leave the house, too. This is pretty useful because he will feel safe and sheltered inside and won’t make a fuss when you have to go. However, make sure you do all of this in a gradual way so as not to traumatize the animal.
Potential Issues and Problems
While crate training is great if done well, you can run up against a few roadblocks:
- Your dog can get frustrated being stuck inside the crate. Any dog can feel stuck and irritated if not trained correctly. For example, if your dog is crated all day when you’re at work, and then crated all night again, he’s spending too much time in a room too small. He will certainly act out
- Your dog can start exhibiting undesirable behaviors such as whining or wheedling. You need to ensure you give him enough attention throughout the day so that he doesn’t feel the need to whine and seek attention at times when it’s not possible to give
- Your dog can suffer some severe separation anxiety. A crate can deter your pet from becoming aggressive, but he may hurt himself trying to escape. Problems of separation disorder can only be addressed by counterconditioning and desensitization techniques.