Crate Training

Start with Proper Crate training

A crate is not to be used as a canine jail cell, but is a safe room of his own.

Dogs instinctively like to den and a crate will become a room of his own where he will feel safe and can relax when stressed.
It will also make house training easier and will save you and your dog a lot of unnecessary grief and carpet cleanings.

In my opinion, If you can prevent problem behaviors your lives will be much easier. Of course, you won’t ever want to crate your dog all day or all night, or he will consider it a jail cell.


Potty Training Puppies and Older Dogs

My puppies always slept in a crate. As soon as they wake up I tell them “Outside! Let’s go Potty!”  and out we go. We always make it an event. We even use this method with older Foster Dogs. Then we stay with them until they do something and Praise, Praise, Praise!  Good Potty!

Yea, It sound foolish but it works, and to this day when I say “Outside! Lets go Potty!”  my 8 year old Lab comes a running and squeezes out a few drops even if she doesn’t need to. She is offering a behavior that she knows will get her a verbal “Good Dog” a “Great Big Ear Scratch” or even sometimes a “Cookie”.

Spending 2 to 3 months using this simple but constant training with all of my dogs has always been worth the effort considering we will have 10 to 14 years together.


Crates and chewing

Crates can be useful tools to keep teething puppies, chewing adolescents, and bored dogs from destroying your house.  Especially when you can’t be there to supervise her chewing, give her an appropriate chew toy in her crate.  This will encourage your dogs to develop appropriate chewing habits and hopefully associate chewing with being in the crate, and less destructive with your household items when left out of the crate.

Remember, Chewing is NORMAL for a dog!

She needs to be taught what she is allowed to chew and what she shouldn’t chew on.


Introducing the crate – general guidelines

The following steps will help your dog learn that the crate is a happy safe place for them. It may only take a few hours or several days to help her get comfortable with the crate and want to go in on her own.

It’s not always easy but if you are consistent, your dog should quickly learn that the crate is a nice place to be.

Once you have successfully trained your dog to accept the crate, you can leave the crate open in your house. You may even find that your dog will choose go into the crate and lie down when she wants some alone time.

1. I normally set up the crate in my living room before the dog even arrives at my house, and leave the door open.

2. Sitting on the floor in front of the crate but not crowding it, toss a treat into the crate and just leave it until the dog feels safe to go in and get it.  Do NOT Close the crate door yet.

First your dog needs to get acclimated with the crate just being there. Don’t scare her or force her in, you don’t know what conditions she was kept in before she got to the shelter, and some dogs have been crate abused.

3. Start Feeding your dog in the OPEN crate. If she is hesitant to go completely in, move the food bowl just inside the door so only her head needs to be in the crate. Some dogs will just jump in for the food but others will require small steps and more patience.

4. Once your dog is in the crate and comfortable eating or getting a treat try gently close the door behind him.  When he is finished, let him out and try repeating.

IF YOUR DOG PANICS – Open the crate, let him out and wait till he is calm.

Then try again later, keeping the door OPEN. Watch your dog’s attitude to determine when you can try closing the door again.

5. Try adding a Chew Toy to the crate training and let them Chew in the crate for 2-10 minutes at first.

Then let him out and repeat with another treat or chew toy later.  As he gets more comfortable, you can increase the time in the crate to 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour as long as he is enjoying the chew toy.

 Remember you are TRAINING your dog to be comfortable in a crate. This basic training will last the dog’s life, so please be patient and don’t push him too hard or fast.

Here is a link to Guide to Crate Training  written by the  Association of Pet Dog Trainers that I found interesting.

 Petfinder link  The Benefits of Crate Training

Edited by:  Mark Kmieciak volunteer with Friends of Rowlett Animals