Crate training your dog is a practical and efficient way to house train your dog and protect the home at the same time.
Why Crate Training? The purpose of crate training your dog is to teach your dog to go into its crate (a rectangular enclosure which acts as a substitute for a den) on command for safety, obedience and general behaviour control. Dogs like crates, the same way dogs like going under tables, on sofas, or on beds. The crate also provides your dog with a place where it is comfortable and secure.
Dogs generally do not like to soil their resting area. Therefore a crate is highly effective in house training your dog. Crate training your dog is also useful when you travel with your dog as a crate can be used to transport your pet dog safely.
Overall, it is an effective training method used successfully by many dog owners and trainers alike.
Choosing a Crate Select a crate and make sure that it provides enough space, comfort and security for your dog. The size of the crate should be big enough for your dog to be able to stand up and move around. However, it should not be too big otherwise it might use one corner as a toilet.
If you have a puppy, it is more logical and economical to buy an adjustable crate that will accommodate him/her later as an adult dog.
Crate Training Your Dog Before proceeding with crate training your dog, place a crate pad, bed of some sort, a bowl of water and your dog’s favourite toy in it. Secure the crate's door open so it won't hit and frighten him/her accidentally.
Dogs are social animals so place the crate where your dog can see you or the family members frequently but is in a nice quiet corner so it can have some peace and quiet if required. Do not place it somewhere isolated.
Introducing Your Dog to the Crate Start by playing with your dog near the crate. Entice your dog into the crate by placing its favourite snack or toy within it. You could even feed your dog's dinner in the crate. When your dog enters the crate, be sure to reward it further with praise and gentle patting. This will help associate positive feelings towards the crate. Repeat the process for the next few days until it is accustom to and uses the crate without any prompting.
Key to Successfully Crate Training A Dog Successfully crate training a dog is to associate it with all things positive with the crate, even when it is alone in it. Never send a dog back to its crate as a form of punishment for any misbehaviour. A dog's association with its crate must always be positive.
Benefits of Crate Training Your Dog
The crate offers your dog a sense of security, privacy and comfort.
With a successful crate-trained dog, you can be reassured that your dog won't destroy items in your house, cause any accidents or develop bad habits whilst you are out.
House training your dog will be much easier and quicker by using the crate to motivate your dog to wait until being taken outside, since all canines naturally avoid soiling their own den.
Travelling with your dog will also be much easier and safer as they will be secure and unable to distract you whilst you are driving.
Potential Problems To Avoid When Crate Training
If used incorrectly, your dog might become anxious and fearful if you put them in the crate for long periods of time.
Your dog might whine during the night, as he might feel alone, scared or ignored. If you are unhappy about leaving him to whine for long periods of time, you could move your dog's crate into your bedroom where he/she can see you. This way you can also hear your dog if he/she needs to go out. However, this all depends on which approach you are taking on crate training at night - the "leave him to cry" approach (where his toilet facilities have been catered for) or the "get up and let him out to toilet" approach.
You have to make sure that your dog doesn’t get bored whilst it is confined in the crate in the day so ensure it has a number of toys and chews to play with. In addition, ensure you combine their time in the crate with good walks and other physical activities to mentally and physically challenge them.
Whilst it takes time, dedication and patience to follow through with the crate training process to ensure that your dog completely understands the meaning and usage of the crate, it will condition your dog to have the behaviours that you desire.
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