Gone are the days where dogs are allowed free roam of the neighborhood. Instead of learning the rules of the world by exploring like their wolf ancestors, dogs today are best taught how to behave properly with the help of a crate while keeping them safe.
- The Proper Size
The crate should be just big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Any bigger and a young dog may have enough room to turn a corner of the crate into a makeshift potty, killing any motivation he may have to learning how to do his business outdoors.
- Make It Inviting
A crate to a dog is his beloved den. Make it a happy place for the dog by placing comfy blankets, some safe chew toys in it, and a bowl of fresh water. When not in use while the pup is left home alone, keep the door open so your dog can come and go as he pleases.
- Keep It Positive
Never use the dog’s crate as a punishment.
To the dog, the crate should be a safe haven, a place where he feels comfortable to be in when he’s home alone. If he is shoved in there as a punishment, the crate will begin to have a negative connotation in his mind, breaking free of the notion that it should be his safe den.
Having a crate will limit your dog’s access to the rest of the home while he learns the house rules, such as not jumping up on the furniture or breaking into the bathroom to chew up the toilet paper while you’re away. It will allow your dog to realize that it’s okay to be home alone and wait patiently for your return.
A dog thrives on pleasing his family. It’s important to always praise your pup whenever he goes near or in the crate himself. Many times a simple, “Good Crate!” with a cheery tone will earn you a tail wag and a better chance of your pup repeating the behavior. Your pup will also learn the verbal cue associated with his crate.
Crate training could take only a few weeks to a few months depending on your pup’s overall personality, energy level, and separation anxiety. Patience is needed for both the health and happiness of your dog and yourself. Getting frustrated with your pup will in turn make your dog frustrated and confused about what is going on. Patience is the key to properly introduce your dog to his crate and to help your dog enjoy his crate when you’re not around.
Nowadays, my pup loves to sleep in her crate for her afternoon nap, and when the family is going out, all we have to say is, “In your crate,” for Chip to understand that she is staying home. She gets comfortable in her crate and waits until we return. She behaves so well that we don’t even lock her in the crate any longer when we leave. Crate training will ensure that your dog has a happy, safe haven while learning valuable behavior for a wonderful canine companion.