Crate training a puppy should always be a gradual process and dog owners should avoid rushing at all costs. Another key thing is not to force your dog to stay in the crate and to ensure the introduction to the crate is a positive sequence of events.
Crate training your puppy
Crate training a puppy begins with looking for ways to get your pup to go in and out of the crate in a relaxed manner:
- Using food – you can throw food in to the crate a short distance to begin with, gradually increasing the distance so that your puppy goes further into the crate. If you notice any natural sniffing around the crate, this is a good way for them to settle down
- Using toys – you can also throw toys such as a ball into the crate to keep your pup occupied and happy
Once your puppy seems comfortable going in and out of the crate, shut the door and put the latch over for a short period of time when they next enter. By familiarising your pup with the sound of the door closing, this will help the crate training process. Once the door is shut, give your dog a treat through the crate and then bring them out with no delay.
Some dogs, particularly young dogs, may struggle with feeling enclosed in the crate. So, it’s always important to build this up gradually and combine the time going into the crate with a positive experience. For example:
Building up time in the crate
Always keep an eye on timings when crate training your puppy. Gradually build the time spent in the crate up from 10 minutes to 15 minutes and so on. Once you find that your dog can relax in the crate for longer periods, you can use it to your advantage.
For instance, you can keep your pup in the crate should you go out for a short period, they can sleep in the crate during the day or night, and if you ever need some quiet time, the crate provides you with a safe place to keep your puppy. Do remember to take the collar off if your dog is unsupervised in the crate to ensure they won’t get caught on the crate.
Another advantage of getting your dog to feel relaxed in the crate is that it can help speed up toilet training. Dogs will very rarely relieve themselves in their spaces; therefore once your pup feels relaxed with the crate door shut, you’re making great strides to their further development and training.