If you’re a pet parent, crate training your dog is one way of providing them with a safe resting place in case you need to transport them or if you want to deny them access to the rest of the house until they master the rules.
But, the topic of crate training your pup has been faced with potential confusion and misconception that has put the minds of most pet parents at ease. Some sources argue that dogs are “den animals” that can survive in crates while others mention that it’s cruel to confine them in crates.
The truth of the matter is that dogs are den animals that can adapt to crates quite easily. However, it shouldn’t be used as a punishment but instead, you should do it with positive intentions. After all, even wild dogs spend most of their time in dens especially when they’re pregnant, nursing their pups or when they’re old and injured.
So, with that said, this post will discuss six tips that can really help any enthusiast pet parent looking to crate train his/her dog.
- Start by Choosing a Perfect Crate
Since you’re not intending to punish your dog, you need to look for a crate that is big enough to house your dog without making it feel confined. Measure the dimensions to make sure that your dog can stand up and turn around easily.
It should be wide enough to fit a food and water bowl as well as a blanket to make your dog feel secure and loved. Crates come in different materials such as plastic, metallic, or fabric made. While plastic and metal made crates are secure, fabric crates are quite risky as your dog can tear up the fabric and break lose especially when it’s anxious.
- Establish a Positive Mindset
You don’t need to be violent for your dog to understand your intentions. Instead, developing a positive association with the crate will let your dog calmly know your intentions. You can try putting your dog’s best toys and treats inside the crate then leave the door open to see whether he/she is interested.
Try placing the food bowl closer to the opening to create a relaxed mindset then push it further into the crate gradually. Praise your dog with some treats whenever you note some improvements just to motivate them. Finally, when your dog is comfortable eating and resting inside the crate, you can now lock the door.
- Gradually Increase the Time
Crate training your dog isn’t just a walk in the park. Although your pup might like it the first time, it doesn’t mean that they can get comfortable overnight. You need to gradually increase the time they’re spending in the crate.
You can start by closing the door for 15 seconds, then 30 seconds, 50 seconds, one minute and so on. However, if you notice signs of fear or anxiety, release the dog from the crate then start all over again. If you’re using the best indoor dog kennels for heavy dogs, then adding a mat and a blanket can really help as they create a cozy environment for your dog to rest on.
Also, don’t forget to “spoil” your pup with toys, treats and food puzzles as they too can help to ease anxiety and help them to calm down.
- Keep Your Pup “Naked”
When you’re crate training your dog, avoid locking them in with their collars or tags on. This is a safety concern that can risk the life of your dog if you’re not careful. If the collar is too tight, it may cause skin irritation, general discomforts, and neck damage.
When it’s lose, your dog can chew it. Here, the main risk comes in if it swallows a part of the collar leading to chocking. Also, your dog can injure or break its limb in case it gets caught on the collar when scratching. Your dog can also suffer from strangulation if the collar gets caught on the mesh.
- Step Away From the Crate
Once you’ve seen notable improvements with your dog, you can now set him/her up for success by stepping away from the vicinity. By this, we don’t advise you to go out for dinner for nine hours then come back.
Instead, you should go out for about 15 minutes to freshen up. During this time, you can try recording your dog to examine its behavior when it’s left alone. Is it anxious, pacing, or calm? At least this will give you an idea of what to expect.
- Finally, be Patient in the process of Crate Training Your Dog
Lastly, dogs are not linear learners so you’ll need to be very persistent and consistent in your methodology if you’re looking for success. Prepare for anything between 3 to 6 months for your dog to completely master the crate. Always note any improvement your dog makes and don’t forget to reward them with treats.
So, there you have it all. As you can see, crate training your dog requires a lot of patience and positive reinforcement to achieve success. While it might be easy for some dogs, some breeds have high anxiety that might prolong this process to a few months before they can freely accept the new rules.
However, one thing is key when crate training your pup—you need to give them lots and lots of rewards, toys and food puzzles to make them feel appreciated.
Once your dog maters everything, handling them can be very easy as you can transport them with ease, protect your stuff within the house, and protect them against injuries and toxicity in case they’re left alone in the house.