Crate training is a great way to keep your house and new puppy safe in it’s home. It is also an essential tool for house training and building up bladder control.
It takes puppies and dogs a little while to get used to crate training but using a boredom buster toys and treats help ease the process.
Introducing the Crate
Think of the crate as a studio apartment for your puppy. A studio apartment can be the worst place in the world if you have nothing to do in it. However, the same space filled with a flat screen tv, wifi, video games and pizza arriving every hour suddenly becomes the best place in the entire world! Now our job as “real estate” agents for crates is to make the space as appealing to our K9 clients as possible. We can use our dogs food, boredom buster toys and chew toys to make the crate a fun place to be.
Make the Crate a Palace
Start off by feeding your dog in the crate without locking the door. Start creating positive associations with the crate. If every meal and fun treat comes from inside the crate, Fido is going to start loving the idea of going in there. We love using food stuffed Kongs, bully sticks and flossies with our dogs undergoing crate training.
Don’t Isolate your Dog
A lot of people will make the mistake of setting up a crate in the corner of a room or in a closed bedroom (away from the family)and be surprised when Fido fusses. Start off having the crate next to you while you are watching TV, at your desk and next to your bed. Once Fido loves the crate at that proximity, start building up more and more distance.
Build Up Muscle
Think of “crate training” as being similar to “weight training”. Just like you are not going to be able to lift a 100lb weight on your first attempt, your puppy will not be able to tolerate 5 hours in the crate first time. However if you practice often, slowly and within your dogs comfort zone you will make fast progress and your dog will start to love being in his crate.
If your dog barks, whines or scratches to get out, you have to ignore it. If you pay attention to these behaviors and let your pup out all you are doing is teaching Fido that barking, whining and scratching gets him out of the crate! You need to reduce the amount of time spent in the crate next time and make a mental note to not push your pup for as long when practising.
Always make the crate a positive place and avoid using it for punishment. Keep your expectations realistic and reward your dog when they have done a good job.
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