When you look at a crate, you don’t immediately think of a home for your dog. It looks more like a 18th century torture device. Why would you want to stuff them into a box when they can run freely throughout the house and sleep wherever they want?
The thing is, that is exactly where they want to sleep. You are looking at it from your perspective and not from your dogs. Crates to you might seem like a tight confined space that you go when you’re in trouble. But to your dog crate it is a den: the epitome of safety, security and downright comfort. Building their own personal den is a natural instinct that every dog possess, no matter the breed, size, or temperament.
Learning how to crate train your dog can be achieved by following the next simple steps.
Benefits of Using a Crate
Once you learn how to crate train your dog and they get accustomed to the new crate, you will realize how many different roles it can serve:
- Crates make for great babysitters, keeping them out of trouble when you’re too busy to give them the attention that they craves
- Crates serve as the perfect tool for housetraining and getting your dog on a potty schedule
- If you have to leave your dog at the veterinarian or a kennel, having him used to a crate makes it so much easier and leaves your dog less stressed while you’re out of town
- In case the unforeseen happens and your dog is injured, crates provide the best spot to give them some much needed bed rest
- Some dogs get a little too excited when you’re driving, so a crate in the car can keep them restrained
- When you go on vacation your dog may be stressed out since he’s not in his usual environment, by bringing in the crate with him he feels more at home
- Crates give your dog their own special place away from the kids, which I am sure we all need some times
How to Pick the Best Crate for Your Dog
When picking a new crate, you want your dog to be able to turn around, stand up, and line down comfortably. Depending on how you plan to use the crate, for example if you travel often, you’ll want to get a crate that is portable and lightweight but will also provide comfort. An important addition to your crate is a pad or soft pillow that will increase your dogs likeliness to stay in the crate and remain there. Machine washable is a major bonus.
Where Should You Put Your Dog’s Crate
The most important thing is to figure out where your dog spends the majority of his time, which is often where the family spends most of its time. This room is where you want to keep your crate, with a few exceptions.
You don’t want to pick a place where he won’t have ready access to it or will get in the way. This will stress your dog out and won’t be able to use it for the purpose of a den.
For traveling, without a doubt, the best way to transport your dog is to place a crate in your car. If your dog is not restrained it can be a danger to you and to himself. you never really know what can happen on the road and the last thing you want is to have your dog flying around the cabin.
Sometimes crates are too large for certain cars, so the best way to go about it is to get a special harness designed to act as a seat belt. This will allow your dog to be restrained in the rear seat and still being able to sit or lie down. If you have an SUV and want to give your dog a little bit more space, there are dog barriers that enclose the cargo area so that you are still protected from your dog jumping on your lap but he is able to move around more
How to Crate Train Your Dog
As we mentioned earlier, the crate is your dogs home. It’s where they feel comfortable and get some peace and quiet.
The best way to crate train your dog is to make sure they feel at home in their crate by giving them a nice treat and some encouragement. To start, place the treat inside of the crate, let them walk in, then close the door. Tell them what a good dog they are and then immediately let them out again.
Do this several times over the half hour, each time making sure to leave them in there just a little bit longer, while still making sure to give him a treat and say good boy. Next step is to do the same thing but actually leave the room. Again do this for longer and longer periods of time.
We prefer to also feed our dog meals in the crate because it gives an extra level of reinforcement. First place the bowl in front of it and let me. The next meal or day, put it just inside of the crate.
Each time you feed the dog place the bowl further and further inside of the crate until he is comfortably inside eating away. Eventually you will be able to feed him while he’s in the crate shut the door and leave the room no problem.
You can also use this time to teach your dog how to go to the “Crate” on command.
As you place meal inside of the crate say the word “Crate”. If you’re doing this for every meal, he will quickly realize what it means and go there on command.
It’s also a good idea to put something in the crate that will keep him busy and have fun. We prefer Kong dog toy that you can stuff treats into and make them work for it.