Dog Crate Training – 5 Easy Steps to Success
“Dog crates are not jails…They are excellent tools to assist you with basic dog training…”
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Dog crate training is a foreign concept for many new dog owners. Owning a dog is a great joy, but when you start out with a puppy or a dog that has not been trained, learning about crate training is a worthy investment of your time.
Below is a list of crate training steps to help you get started. These steps will not only give you peace of mind that your dog will mind and be house broken in no time, they will also allow your dog to feel safe and secure in their new surroundings.
Dog Crate Training - Step 1
The first thing you need to do is learn about dog crates and buy, borrow or build one that is the correct size for your pooch. You do not want to get one that allows your dog to roam inside. For instance, you do not want a large crate for a small dog. This will defeat the purpose of crate training and waste your time.
Dog crates are not jails for dogs. They are excellent tools to assist you with basic dog training concepts (off my soap box now). Your dog needs to have enough room to stand up and turn around inside. Any more room and your dog will have room to do his or her business (poop or pee in the crate, but you knew that!).
Dog Crate Training - Step 2
You will likely need to have some sort of treat you can use to coax your dog into the crate. Pieces of dog food will often work for this task. The idea is to get your dog used to the crate so that he or she is not scared when it comes time for them to spend some time in the crate.
Before locking your dog inside the crate, you need to leave the door open and let your pooch go in and out of the crate by him or herself. This will teach them that the dog crate is a safe place and nothing to be feared. You want to do this for a little while before you actually lock the dog in the crate.
Dog Crate Training - Step 3
Start slowly. Put your puppy in the crate for short periods of time when you are not playing with him, letting him outside for potty breaks or feeding him. The reason crate training a dog is so effective is that dogs do not like to soil the area where they sleep.
Dog crates should be used when you cannot be with your pup at all times. This will help your dog learn to only go potty outside unless it’s an emergency.
Dog Crate Training - Step 4
Try to locate the crate in an area of your home where there is activity. Why? You do not want your pooch to feel like he or she is being punished. Many people also choose to keep dog crates by their bedside when they retire for the night. This allows you to hear when your loving companion has to go out. Whining, scratching, barking, etc., are all ways your dog may deliver the “I have to go” message.
Dog Crate Training – Step 5
Keep your dog on a set schedule so they will get used to a routine and develop good habits. It is always good to take your pup out after meals and as soon as you return from being away. This will help your dog learn the proper times to go potty.
Three More Thoughts on Dog Crates
Here are two safety considerations and one suggestion. Limit the number of toys you put in the crate, remove your dog’s collar when they are in the crate, and wait until your puppy is over 9 weeks of age before using a crate.
The toys and the collar can create a potential hazard for your new pup when they are in the crate, and the age recommendation will allow your puppy’s bladder develop to a point where they can “hold it” for longer periods of time. There are varying points of view on these ideas, but they are worth your consideration.
Crate training a dog is one of the most basic dog training techniques. When dog crates are properly used, they will help you teach your dog good habits and make your life a lot easier. Picture yourself chasing your puppy around the house cleaning up after their messes and this extra training step may become a lot more important to you.
Have fun and enjoy your new best friend!