Advantages Of Crate Training Your Dog | DogLife360
advantages of crate training shows a happy dog in a crate

Advantages Of Crate Training Your Dog

To crate or not to crate? That is a question lots of dog owners ask. The advantages of crate training your dog are many. If trained correctly the crate can be like your dog’s den. It can become a safe haven for them to go when they need alone time, feel anxious or stressed and give them a safe space to relax or sleep.

 

Crating can help your dog settle into a new environment and can assist while travelling with your pup. Another advantage is that it helps with potty training a puppy as dogs don’t usually soil where they sleep. 

Here are some guidelines to consider before you start to use a crate for your dog,

 

a dog at a show in a cage, good reason to train them for the crate

How to crate train your dog

Choosing the right crate

Size matters

The size of the crate is important. It must be large enough for your pup to stand up comfortably, move around in and lie down in its full length. There must be enough space for their bedding, a water and food bowl and extra space to move around.

If you buy a crate when you first get your puppy, remember to take into consideration the size your pup will grow into. You don’t want to buy a crate you have to replace when your pup is fully grown.

 

Choose the right material

There are crates on the market made from metal, plastic or fabric. Choose the right type of material for your needs. Take into consideration that your pup might be able to chew their way through a fabric cage. If you plan on using the crate for travelling with your pup, a steel-framed cage might be a better option.

 

Pug in a small crate

Location, location, location

Find the right spot for the crate. Ideally, it should be in a quiet spot, away from the heavy traffic areas. You want your pup to feel it is a safe space where they can go when feeling anxious or sleepy. Also, make sure that it is not in an area that gets direct sunlight or in a draft.

 

It’s all up to the right training

Once you have selected the right crate for your dog, it is time to train them to get used to the crate. There are two very important factors to remember when crate training your pup:

1. Think positive

The whole experience must be a positive experience for your pup. They must never view the crate as a punishment. They must feel that it is a safe haven for them.

2. Patience is a virtue

Training and learning new behaviours does not happen overnight. Exercise patience and you will be rewarded. 

dog looks unsure about being in this crate

It is best to start crate training when your dog is a puppy but older dogs can also be trained to use a crate by following the same basic training as for puppies. There are of course more than one way to train your pup to get used to a crate but here are some basic guidelines for training your puppy:

 

Step one: Introducing the crate

It is best to get the crate ready while your pooch is in a different room so as not to alarm them. If you are going to use a crate from the first time you bring your puppy home, make sure the crate is ready when you arrive home with your fur baby. Make sure the door to the crate is securely open. Once all is ready, bring your dog into the room. They might be naturally curious and go and investigate the new addition to the room on their own. Give praise and rewards if they go into the crate so they can feel they are doing something good.  

If your dog appears to not feel comfortable going near or inside the crate, try to lure them closer with small treats. Once they are more comfortable being around the crate, place some treats or toys inside the crate to lure them in further.

It is important to keep the door to the crate open at this stage. You do not want to spook your pup by closing the door too soon.  They must know that they can go in and out at any time during the first step of the training.

Add some of their favourite toys into the crate to keep them entertained and feel at home. You can even start feeding them their meals inside the crate.

 

doggie with a teddy in a crate

Step two: Closing the door

Once your dog is comfortable going into the crate, spending time in the crate and enjoying their meal in the crate you can start closing the door for short periods. Do not yet lock the door and stay near the crate. If your dog shows any signs of stress or anxiety when you close the door, open it immediately. In this case, you will need to spend a bit more time with the door open. 

After a few days of closing the door for periods of time, you can gradually extend the time you keep the door closed. A good idea is to give them a chew that takes longer to finish or a stuffed Kong to keep them occupied longer.  

When your pooch is happy to stay in the crate with the door closed for longer periods of time, you can start locking the crate.

 

how to train a dog to be in a crate - doggie with door closed in a crate

Step three: Step away

The next step will be to feed your pooch in the crate, lock the door and step out of the room for short periods. Do not leave them alone in the room for too long in the beginning. They need to get used to not seeing you but you do not want to let them experience any negative emotions.

You can gradually leave the room for longer periods as they get more used to staying in the crate.

 

Step four: Staying after feeding

Once your dog is comfortable eating in the crate with the door locked and you out of the room, you can start leaving them in the crate for longer periods outside of feeding time. Once they are comfortable with this you can start to leave the house. 

Remember to always take your dog outside for a toilet break before closing them in the crate for long periods and always make sure that there is water in the crate. It is also good to let them have time for exercise and playtime before leaving them in the crate for longer periods of time.

pug in a crate

How long is too long?

A puppy should not be left alone for longer than four hours at a time. Adult dogs can be left for up to eight hours provided that they have had lots of out of crate time, enough exercise and toilet time before being crated.

 

 

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