The Need For Crate Training Your Dog or Puppy
Crate training a puppy or dog helps to reduce some of the dog behavior problems like destructive chewing, separation anxiety, digging holes and biting. A crate is like a home to your dog, a safe place where the dog eats and sleeps without being exposed to any dangerous items at home. Additionally, a crate also serves as a place to be in when you’re not there to supervise your dog. All dogs or puppies that are not fully housebroken should not be left to wander alone at home.
Crate training is one of the most effective methods to house train your dog to eliminate outdoors as dogs naturally are very clean animals and they will avoid soiling the place where they eat and sleep.
Steps to Crate Training Your Dog or Puppy
Be careful when you first introduce your dog or puppy to the crate, make sure to do it gently and slowly so that he will associate the crate with a secure and comfortable place to be in.
- Placing the Crate. It is best to place the crate near you when you’re homes, such as the hallway or kitchen. This prevents your puppy from feeling lonely and isolated while he’s in the crate.
- Crate Training Young Puppies. Young puppies under 4 months old should not be left in the crate for long periods of time and puppies under 9 weeks old should not be crated at all as they have yet to develop their bladder control system at this stage. Make sure to take them out of the crate frequently as they will eliminate more frequently than older dogs.
- Positive Reinforcement Method. While your puppy is investigating his new crate, do drop some of his favorite dog treats in the crate to create a positive association between your puppy and the crate.
- Praise Your Dog / Puppy. When you first introduce your puppy or dog to the crate, make sure to praise him profusely whenever he enters the crate. Never scold or force your puppy into the crate. This will only create a negative association between your puppy and the crate.
- Playing Games with Your Dog / Puppy. Occasionally, you can use the crate to play some enjoyable games with your puppy. Drop some pieces of dog treats or toys in the crate. Then, call your puppy with an encouraging and enthusiastic tone and direct the puppy to the crate. Whenever your puppy enters the crate and finds the treat, praise him enthusiastically. Do not shut the door. Your puppy should be let free while playing this game.
- Crate Training With Your Dog. To prevent your dog or puppy from feeling isolated while he’s in the crate, crate training is at best when it is done while you’re at home with your dog or puppy. This will help him to get used to your absence while you’re away from the room.
Dealing With Accidents
If your puppy eliminates in the crate, never punish or scold your puppy. Instead, clean up the area thoroughly with pet or dog odor neutralizer to eliminate the urine odor.
Dealing with Barking and Whining
If you choose to crate train your puppy, be prepared for some long nights. Barking or whining may be due to your puppy is trying to get out of the crate. Other possibilities include: Your puppy has been crated too soon, suffering from separation anxiety, lack of attention, socializing and exercise. However, if your puppy does cry continuously, do not give in easily. Be firm to your puppy or he will never learn.
Note: The purpose of using a crate is to provide a place for your dog to relax and sleep, therefore, you should not use it for punishing your dog or puppy. The puppy might resent going into the crate next time.
There are some circumstances in which you must not crate your dog or puppy:
- If your puppy is too young – under 10 weeks old
- If your dog is sick
- If your dog has not eliminated before crating him
- If your dog is under exercised or lack of attention
- If the weather is too hot
Recommended Crate Training Equipment:
In crate training, of course, you can’t go without a dog crate. Consider these 2 factors when choosing a crate for your dog:
- Size. Make sure to choose a crate large enough for your dog to stand comfortably without his back touching the top of the crate. However, do not get one that is too large that your dog can use one end of the crate to for his potty purposes.
- Safety. It is important to choose a crate that is safe for your dog to be in. For instance, your dog may accidentally swallow dangerous items such as wood particles or some sharp objects.
Dog Treats and Toys
Provide your dog with his favorite dog treats and dog toys to encourage him to stay in the crate and teach him to understand that he can still have fun while he’s being crated. Dog treats and dog toys available in pet stores come in different types such as dog chew bones, rawhide bones, dog biscuits, Kong toys and etc.
Dog urine odor cleaner/remover
Do purchase dog urine odor cleaner/remover to clean the soiled area in the crate. These dog urine odor cleaner/remover are widely available in pet stores today and it works wonder for removing your dog’s urine and feces scent.