Crate training a dog is a great way to keep your pup safe in certain situations. It can also create a safe space for your furry friend. If you need to know how to crate train a dog, then keep reading.
Why Crate Training A Dog Is Important
Some people believe that crate training is inhumane for a dog, but it’s not. If used correctly, keeping your dog in a crate has many benefits.
It’s also a learning experience for your canine companion.
For example, crate training can also help house train your dog. Dogs don’t want to soil their sleeping area, so when they’re in a crate while you’re out of the house, it’ll help train their bladder.
In addition, a crate can be a safe space for your pup. For instance, if there’s too much noise in the house or you have company, your doggo can retreat to their crate if they need a break.
Crate training is also a good idea to keep your dog safe while out of the house. If you still have a puppy (or your adult dog is energetic), the crate will keep them contained.
Not only will your furniture be safe, but your dog won’t be able to get into anything they’re not supposed to.
Crates are typically portable, so bringing your pup into the car, on vacation with you, or bringing them to the groomers or vet will be easy.
On the other hand, if your pup is recovering from surgery, a crate will keep them contained and safe. In addition, if you have other animals in the house, they won’t be able to bother your pup if they’re inside their crate resting.
In a nutshell, crates have many benefits for you and your dog.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind
However, it can become too easy for some to misuse crate training. Therefore, remember that a crate should never be used as a punishment.
For example, if you lock your dog inside its crate when the company comes over to avoid jumping or begging for food, your dog will get the wrong idea about its crate.
Instead, they should be trained not to jump or beg. Crates aren’t a tool to avoid unwanted behavior.
Also, a crate should be a comfortable and safe space for your dog. So, be sure to add a pillow and blankets to the space. A water dish should also be included inside the crate with a toy or two.
Of course, if you have a chewer that quickly destroys their toys or blankets, you’ll need to devise creative ways to keep their crate comfortable.
Finally, a crate doesn’t have to be for forever. As your dog gets older and is more well-behaved, you can leave the crate door open for them to go in and out of it as they please.
If you still need them confined to an area when you’re out of the house, you can keep the crate open in a closed-off room.
That way, your doggo can have more freedom to stretch their legs. Yet, they won’t be able to get into anything you don’t want them to.
Choosing The Right Crate For Your Dog
Before you begin crate training, you’ll need a crate. There are many different types and sizes of crates on the market. You’ll need to research them and choose the right one for your dog.
Sometimes, you may end up with multiple crates to try out.
Some types of crates are:
Some crates can collapse, so they’re portable, while others aren’t.
Plastic crates are often used to transport your dog places. For example, in the car, on a train, or even on an airplane.
Fabric crates are softer and held together with metal legs. So if your doggo is afraid of their crate at first, a softer fabric one might be the way to go. The more comfortable it is, the less intimidating it may be.
Finally, there are metal crates that are relatively bare. They look like a cage but can be spruced up with some blankets and toys.
These crates will get the job done if you train your dog well enough to enjoy their crate.
Once you have the type picked out, you need to buy it in the appropriate size.
Your dog’s crate should be big enough for them to stand in and turn around. If you buy a crate when your doggo is a puppy, you’ll need to upgrade as your dog grows.
On the other hand, you can buy a large crate to start with and let your puppy grow into it.
How To Crate Train A Dog
Once you have the crate and your pup, it’s time to get your furry friend used to their new space. First, place the crate in a spot of the home that your dog frequents, so it’s a familiar area.
Then, the training can begin.
Step One: Introduce Your Dog To The Crate
Once everything is set up, you can introduce your dog to the crate. Bring them to where the crate sits and talk to them in a happy, encouraging tone.
Your dog will sniff the crate and inspect it, which is good.
You can add your dog’s favorite blanket or pillow into the crate. Let your dog watch you put it in there so they know where their blanket is.
You can coax your dog to go into the crate with a treat. If they don’t, that’s okay. However, don’t force them into the crate if they’re sniffing around it, and don’t seem afraid.
When your dog does enter the crate, praise them well and continue to give them treats inside the crate.
Step Two: Feed Them Inside The Crate
You don’t need to provide their meals inside the crate all the time. But this is an excellent way to show your dog that the crate is a safe space for them.
If they can eat there, it must be a good area.
Do not put their food dish in the back of the crate, though. Instead, only place it as far as your dog is willing to enter.
Do this for a couple of nights until your dogs willingly go deeper into the crate to get their food.
As always, continue praising your pup when they enter their crate.
Step Three: Close The Door
Once your dog is in their crate and eating its meals consistently, you can try to close the door.
In some cases, your might not notice you shut them in. But, on the other hand, some dogs might panic.
To be safe, open the door immediately after your dog finishes their meal. Then, you can increase the time the door is closed for the next few nights.
Listen to your dog, though. If they begin to whine after a certain time, you might have left them there for too long.
This part of the training process is gradual, and you’ll need a lot of patience while your dog gets used to its crate.
Step Four: Practice Longer Crate Times
Each night, you can close the door as soon as your dog enters and leave it closed for more than 30 seconds or so.
Praise your dog and give them treats as they enter their crate. Then you can sit and wait for a few minutes.
After a while, you can try to leave the room for a few minutes. Practice this a bit longer each night until your dog is used to their crate.
When your pup can sit quietly in their crate for about 30 minutes when you’re not in the room, you can safely leave them in their crate while out of the house.
Step Five: Leaving The House
At this point, you can leave the house with your dog resting in its crate. Now is the time to continue teaching the command, “get in your crate,” before you leave the house.
When they successfully obey and get into the crate upon this command, praise them and give them a treat. Then, you can leave the house.
At first, you may only be able to step outside for a few minutes to see how your dog reacts. However, you can do that by leaving the room for longer periods when you leave the house.
In the beginning, do not leave your dog home alone in their crate for too long. A 30-minute interval is a great place to start.
Soon enough, your dog will get used to its crate to the point that it’ll go in on its own during the day. Also, you can tell them to get into their crate and not have to give them a treat for listening. It’ll be second nature for them.
Question Corner: FAQs About How To Crate Train A Dog
If you need to learn more about crate training a dog, then read through the frequently asked questions answered below.
What Do I Do If My Dog Whines In Their Crate?
Sometimes, your dog whines to get let out of the crate to test you. This could be because they’re uncomfortable and confused early in the training process. Or they may need to go to the bathroom. So, you’ll need to use your best judgment.
What If My Dog Has Separation Anxiety?
Using a crate as a remedy for separate anxiety will not work. Your dog won’t be able to destroy the furniture while you’re gone, but they may chew the bars of their crate and hurt themselves. If separation anxiety is a problem, seek help from a professional dog trainer to combat the issue.
When Should I Put My Dog In Their Crate?
You can put them in their crate when you leave the house or at night to sleep in. As your dog matures, you can leave the door open when you go out and at night. You should never put your dog in a crate as a punishment.
How Long Should My Dog Be In Their Crate?
Dogs should never be in a crate for long periods. The younger they are, the shorter they’ll be able to stay in their crate. This is because they may not be able to hold their bladder for too long and have too much energy. Dogs three months and older can be in their crate for about four hours but no longer. Adults can handle up to six hours.
How Long Does Crate Training Take?
How long will depend on your consistency and patience. It also depends on your dog’s age, breed, and personality. Some dogs are more accessible to train than others.
When Should I Begin Crate Training?
As with most training, training younger dogs is easier than adults. So, if you have a puppy, crate train them as soon as possible. Even if you get an adult dog, beginning the process immediately is ideal.
Where Should I Keep My Dog’s Crate?
You can keep your dog’s crate in a room in which your dog enjoys hanging out. For example, if they’re often in the living room, then the crate should go in the living room. Remember, a crate is your dog’s safe space.
Crate Training A Dog Is A Good Idea
As with all training, crate training is a process. It takes time. Some dogs may catch on quicker than others. However, crate training is a good idea to keep your dog safe and to give them a comfortable space they can call their own.
Rachel Poli is a content writer and author, but her real job is being a stay-at-home pet mom. Her zoo currently consists of a dog, a cat, two turtles, and two fish tanks. She’s also an avid pet sitter for a few local families, caring for various animals.
After realizing how little information there is for pet sitters on the internet, Rachel decided to start her own animal website. She strives to educate pet parents and pet sitters about the overall care of our furry friends.