How to crate train your puppy? This is a question that many dog parents have on their minds. They want to know the best way to crate train a puppy so they know how to leave the house or leave them alone inside the crate for a period of time.
Crate training is important so your puppy doesn’t develop separation anxiety and learns to be independent when the circumstance asks for it.
Choosing a crate
There are many different sizes and types of crates. There are many different measurements of crates. Crates also come in different material such as wire dog crates, plastic, fabric, wooden crates.
There are some advantages and disadvantages to each crate type:
- There are some crates that are durable and last longer than others.
- Some have a difference in their appearance and their price.
The crate must be of perfect size. It must not be too large or too small for your puppy. If it is too small, your puppy will not know how to move and it will be cruel for them.
If it is too large, your puppy doesn’t feel like it’s a den that they are supposed to keep clean. The crate will give out more space that your dog will use as a toilet.
How to make the crate comfortable?
Make sure your puppy’s crate is put in a comfortable place it becomes a safe place for your dog.
Some tips to make your puppy’s crate safe
- Put your puppy’s crate in a room where you spend time in such as a living room so your dog doesn’t feel isolated.
- Keep crate out of sunlight and heat sources so your dog doesn’t become overheated.
- Place soft bedding inside of the crate.
- Also, place two chew toys inside so your puppy becomes occupied and develop good chew habits.
How to crate train your puppy
1.) Introduce your dog to the crate
The first step in how to crate train your puppy is to bring your puppy to the crate and talk to them in a happy and calm voice. By doing so, you ensure that your dog becomes comfortable and doesn’t become scared.
The second step in introducing your puppy to the crate is to encourage your them to enter the crate. This happens by dropping food treats near the door and then inside the crate so you lure your dog to enter.
The third step is to continue putting treats inside the crate until your puppy will go inside the crate calmly.
2.) Create positive associations with the crate
In this step, you will need to create positive associations between the crate and your dog. This happens by feeding your dog their regular meals near the crate at first.
However, if your puppy has willingness to enter the crate calmly, put their meals inside the crate. Each time, moving the dish a little back further inside the crate.
You can also put treats and toys inside the crate so your puppy associates the crate as a positive place. In this step , it is important to not close the door rather leave it open so your dog doesn’t get afraid.
How to lure your dog inside the crate using treats:
1.) Let the crate door open and never close it.
2.) Show the treats to your puppy and then put them inside the crate. As they get inside, say the cue “crate up”.
3.) When they go inside the crate, praise them a lot and give them another treat.
4.) Move away from the crate and leave the door open. While your puppy decides to exist, use the word “out now” to reinforce the cue on your dog when they leave.
5.) After they leave, don’t treat them because you want to reinforce the idea that good things such as treats happen inside the crate . This will make them more likely to stay in the crate.
3.) Decide on cue words that you will use
There are two cues to teach your puppy. The first is to ask your puppy to enter their crate and the second to ask them to leave the crate.
It is important to teach your dog cues for 3 main reasons:
1.) There will be times that you want to put things inside the crate and not let your puppy get out of the crate. There will be a cue to let your dog stay inside the crate.
2.) When you release your dog to get outside of the crate, you don’t want them to bolt out of the crate and bump into you. So using a cue will make your dog learn how to calmly get out.
3.) There are also times where you will need to let your dog get out of the crate when they are totally relaxed but don’t need to be inside the crate. There is a cue used to get your dog out.
Cues such as “crate up” means that you are asking your puppy to get inside. While cues like “out now” means to leave the crate.
4.) Teach your dog to sit and lie down in their crate
To teach your puppy the “sit” and “lie down” command inside the crate, You got to first teach them these commands outside the crate so when your dog is inside the crate, you can use them.
When your dog is inside the crate, ask them to sit and when they do, reward them and praise them a lot. Then ask them to lie down and praise and reward them too.
Repeat this exercise a few times a day while asking your puppy to lie and sit down for longer time. You got to change the duration so your dog keeps guessing when they will get the treat.
5.) Closing the door
In this step, close the door when your puppy is inside and you know for sure that they are relaxed and calm; they need to feel secure in their crate.
Again, for this step to succeed, you must first cue your dog inside the crate. Then ask them to lie down or sit. When they do lie down or sit, gently close the door. It is important to not close the door quickly.
After that, praise and treat your dog for doing a job well done. Then after a time, open the crate’s door and cue them to leave their crate.
For training sessions, do a few repetitions each day. The ideal time to for your puppy to sit or lie down while the door is closed is one minute. Thus , you should train your puppy to stay inside for one minute before moving to the next step.
6.) Extend your dog’s alone time in the crate
The final step in crate training a puppy is to start extending the time that your puppy stays inside the crate. You can achieve this by slowly leaving the room for some time then returning.
Another way is to ignore them by keeping them preoccupied with chew toys and treats and paying little attention to them. Also, you can occasionally check on them and give them a treat and praise.
Step by step, your puppy will learn to stay alone by themselves and not suffer from separation anxiety. You can then go out and leave the house; however , you got to do so gradually.
First , before you leave, put them in a crate for 20 minutes to see how your puppy will act. Then get them out of the crate and leave the house. It’s important to not be emotional in goodbyes so your dog doesn’t get scared.
Continue crating your puppy for a while while you are at home. Then, do so when you leave the house.
Here’s a video summarizing the steps of crate training a puppy
In conclusion, how to crate train a puppy takes consistency and patience. You must also be gentle and follow certain steps while your puppy doesn’t feel pressured. This happens by making positively reinforcing your puppy to like staying inside the crate.
To know more about bell training a puppy, check Best Guide for Bell Training Puppy