Using a kennel will help your dog feel safe, and is also an ideal way to potty train. Even so, getting your dog to go in a crate is often more difficult than it sounds. It doesn’t have to be when you follow these easy tips for crate training your canine.
Choose the Right Crate
The perfect dog crate furniture will be just large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in. Any bigger than that and your canine will not have the sense of security he needs. Your kennel should also be sturdy enough that it will not fall in on your dog or be easy for him to get out of.
Introduce your Dog Slowly
Never try to force your dog into the crate. Instead, let him explore it casually at his own leisure. Place toys, dog beds, or a soft blanket inside the crate. This will hopefully encourage him to venture inside.
If your dog hesitates, use treats as a reward. Drop a morsel just inside the door and then praise him when he goes to get it. Do this periodically throughout the day, dropping treats a little further back each time as your dog becomes more comfortable. Use a command such as “kennel” each time so your dog associates going inside the crate with a verbal command.
Feeding Inside the Crate
Once your dog has become accustomed to getting treats inside the crate, it is now time to start feeding him meals. Place his food bowl just inside the kennel and allow him to eat.
At this point, not every dog will feel comfortable placing his head inside the crate to eat. Accordingly, some dogs will grab their food bowls and pull them outside. If your dog does this, then he is not quite ready to eat inside the kennel yet. In that case, you should place the bowl just outside the kennel door until he feels comfortable, then move it back inside.
When your dog first starts eating meals inside the crate, leave the door open. As he becomes more accustomed to it, you can then start closing the door behind him. After that, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Increasing the Time Inside the Kennel
So your dog is eating meals inside the kennel with the door closed. Now you can increase the amount of time he spends inside the crate after meals. Start with just a few minutes and gradually work your way up to around ten minutes or so.
Next, try getting your dog to go into the kennel at other times. Offer a treat and use your predetermined command. Once the dog goes inside, close the door and leave him there for a few minutes.
Leaving your Dog while in the Kennel
Up until this point, you should be within eyesight of your dog whenever he is in his crate. But now you are ready to start leaving him for short periods of time. Try walking out of the room and then returning. Gradually increase the amount of time you are gone until your dog feels comfortable being in the kennel alone. Once your dog can stay unattended for around 30 minutes or so, you can then put him in the crate while you leave the house.
Things to Remember
To enjoy successful crate training, keep these things in mind:
• Patience is important. Crate training can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
• There is no timeline to follow. Progress to the next phase only when your dog is ready to handle it.
• Never use the crate as punishment. Your dog should have positive associations of his kennel; otherwise, he will not want to use it.
Crate training is beneficial for both you and your dog. Follow these tips and you too can successfully crate train any canine.