If you've ever seen wolf documentaries, these canines usually take shelter in a den or cave, raise a family, or is basically like a home to them.
Its a place where they can sleep safe and sound without becoming another animal's meal. Basically, what crate training does is to replicate that setting and be placed within your home.
Crate Training your Dog
Every animal needs its own ‘me’ time when it longs for peace and rest. The animals living in the forest choose caves, trees, or secluded place to spend some time alone.
Humans choose to go to hill stations or places where the human population is very less. Such places give them much-needed rest and provide ample energy to get back to their regular life.
What about pets?
Do dogs also crave for such space?
What should we do to provide such space for dogs?
Dogs mostly spend their life with humans who some time get busy so much that they forget to tend to their dogs.
The dog finds it difficult to cope with human behavior and craves to spend time on its own. The notion that a dog always likes to play is a wrong conception.
It also its lean days and may want to just lay down and spend time in peace, a place where your dog can go and rest quietly for whatever duration it wants.
A dog crate provides such a facility. Crate training your dog would make it feel comfortable in its own space.
What is a crate and why should you crate train your dog?
A crate is a cage-like structure made from metal, plastic, or fabric. Though it looks like a cage, it is never used as one for dogs.
They come in various designs, shapes, and sizes. Plastic crates, collapsible metal pens, and fabric on the collapsible rigid frame are some varieties. They are easily available in all the pet stores.
Crate training your dog to ensure that it gets its own space whenever it wants to wind up. You can convert a crate into a feeding, sleeping, and resting place for your dogs.
A crate comes in handy when you are house training your dog. A dog never dirties its own place so you can easily house train your dog using the crate.
As an added bonus, you can also use a crate to transport the dog.
How to Crate Train a Puppy or a Dog?
Crate training for a puppy ensures that it learns all the house rules when still small.
When it grows up into a full-fledged dog, it would become thoroughly discipline in every aspect.
Crate dog training should be carried out as soon as you bring the dog to your home.
Let us see how to crate train a dog.
Welcoming the Dog into the Crate
Introducing the crate to your dog is an important part of crate training.
The crate should be positioned in such a place where you and your family members spend maximum time.
Cushion the crate’s floor with a soft cloth, towel, or blanket. Keep the door open and secure it so that it shouldn’t scare away your dog by flapping or hitting the frame when your dog nears the crate.
Allow the dog to get familiar with the crate. It may take some time but you should never try to hasten the process.
Some dogs readily adjust to the crate and start sleeping in the crate. For others, you have to lure them by throwing some treats or toys inside the crate. Repeat the process until your dog starts feeling safe about the crate.
Keeping the Food inside the Crate
Food attracts any dog without a doubt. Start feeding your dog near the crate after you introduce your dog to it.
Gradually start keeping the food bowl inside the crate.
Remember, never immediately place the food at the far end of the crate. Start with the edge of the crate and slowly increase the distance.
The next step is to close the door while your dog feeds on the food. In the beginning, open the door as soon as your dog finishes eating food. Gradually increase the duration even after your dog finishes with food.
Your dog may whine, yelp, or even bark in the beginning. Don’t open the door immediately. Be near the dog and ensure that the crate is not a cage to enclose it.
Repeat the process a few times until your dog gets the hang of the crate.
Nudging your Dog to spend more Time in the Crate
After training the dog to eat in the crate, you should start preparing the ground for the long haul.
Teach your dog a command, which means it should enter the crate. Use treats to teach the command if your dog doesn’t obey you.
Lock the door and sit beside the crate while your dog is inside the crate. In the beginning, engage with your dog by talking or playing. Then sit quietly for some period without making any movement.
Once your dog starts spending more than 10 minutes, leave the dog alone in the crate for a short duration.
Gradually increase the time until it starts spending 3o minutes or more in the crate alone.
This may take days or weeks but you should have patience.
HOWEVER, a word of caution: please DON'T LOCK YOUR PUPPY IN THE CRATE FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME.
The short term confinement is specifically meant for you to prevent your puppy from eliminating when confined.
If you have to be away from your puppy for a short time (i.e. convenience store trip), that's fine.
But please do not lock your dog inside the crate for a long time.
This could cause your dog to think that its punishment to be locked inside.
Going out leaving your Dog in the Crate
Now that your dog spends more than 30 minutes in the crate without being scared or anxious, you can start leaving it in the crate for a longer duration.
As always, start with a short period and keep increasing the duration. Don’t forget to keep food or treats if you are exceeding the feeding time of your dog.
Do remember to give some toys to your dog so that it remains engaged in your absence. Never crate for a long duration before you leave.
Once you put your dog in the crate, don’t spend too much time with it just lock the door and go.
Once you return home, don’t show immediate excitement or respond to your dog’s enthusiasm to see you. Be calm and let the dog out of the crate.
This ensures that your dog doesn’t get anxious every time you leave it in the crate.
Making your Dog to Sleep in the Crate
The final step in crate training is to train your dog to sleep in the crate at night. In the beginning, keep the crate in your bedroom with the dog inside.
If you have a puppy, you should take extra care as they wake up often to relieve. Keeping the crate in your bedroom allows you to monitor the dog’s behavior.
Once your dog starts to sleep comfortably in the crate, move it to the preferred place.
Give them time to adapt to your rules, and they'll be fine!
For those still having some issues with crate training, have a look at our training and let us help you with crate training your dog.