How to Crate Train a Dog

dog crate training
25 Jun, 2018

Crate training a dog involves teaching a dog to stay in a crate on command.

A dog crate is basically a portable kennel made of either plastic or metal. If the training is properly done, the crate should provide a safe place for a dog, a "den" if you will.

dog crate

Crate training a dog is a controversial subject at best. There are pros and cons for crate training. We will take a brief look at both sides of this issue and then discuss some points on how to crate train a dog.

Proponents of crate training insist that dogs are "den creatures" by nature, and it is natural for a dog to want to seek an enclosed place during certain periods of the day.

Critics of crate training insist that crate training is nothing more than "caging" a dog, which is cruelty. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. As with anything, crates can be overused and perceived as punishment by the dog.

Why would anyone want to crate train a dog in the first place? Crates for dogs are used for several purposes.

First, it is used to help housebreak a dog. Dogs do not urinate or defecate in their dens. Therefore, when house breaking a dog, the dog is kept in the crate during feeding time, or play time. 

Then the dog is taken outside and encouraged to relieve itself in a place the owner wants to designate as the "potty area."

This is basically the same as how to crate train a dog for potty training.

Crate training a dog also has other uses. When dogs spend time at a veterinary clinic, they are kept in cages.

If a dog already feels comfortable in its crate, it will suffer far less stress at the clinic, and less anxiety.

The same is true during transporting a dog for any reason, whether for the family vacation or moving. A crate should be used during the move to both keep the dog safe and comfortable.

There are several steps to crate training a dog. Of course it is easier to start when the dog is a puppy. However, a dog can learn to stay in a crate at any age. 

An older dog will just require more time and patience to unlearn old habits and learn the new one.

It is important to make the learning fun for the dog.

Another important thing is to have a potty training schedule. That way, your dog will adapt to the time and make it easier for you to predict when it will eliminate.

If done correctly, especially with the help of a proper trainer, you could potty train your dog in 5 to 7 days!

Treats and praise should be provided during the training process. This will give the dog a positive attitude about the process. Crates should never be used as punishment.

Never this, please.

Never a prison, please.

The crate itself should be comfortable and large enough for the dog to stand and turn around.

A puppy should only be left in the crate for three to four hours, and an adult dog should spend no more than about eight hours in the crate. It is very important to keep the crate clean.

When beginning the process of crate training a dog, keep several things in mind. First, the dog may whine and put up a fuss.

If this occurs, most professional canine trainers encourage the owner to ignore the fussing until the dog is quiet before letting the dog out. This will reinforce the correct behavior.

Praise and treat the dog when it behaves correctly.

Start slow. Don't crate your dog for several hours at the start. This will instill the wrong impression of the crate with the dog. You may have to start with only a few minutes at a time.

As said earlier, you can expedite the process with a qualified trainer

Just be sure and wait until the fussing has stopped before you let the dog out of the crate. Since dogs are social animals, it may be best if the crate is kept in the room where the most people are most of the time.

The most important thing is to have patience with your dog. A well-trained dog is a well-behaved dog and an enjoyable member of your family.