Crate Training

Crate training
Crate training your dog is a safe and humane way to contain your pet and eliminate unwanted behaviors while you are unable to watch your pet. When you crate train your pet properly, it will help you with housebreaking and  help to relieve anxiety and reduce barking  by providing a safe place for your pet.  A dog who is crate trained early will also be much more relaxed and calm, if it is necessary to travel or board later in life.

When determining if your dog will be confined to a crate or a room in your home, it is important to determine how long you will be absent. If you will be away for a really long time and you are not able to come home to let your dog out,  it may be advisable to confine your pet to a puppy-proofed room in your home with a convenient place to defecate. If you are away only a short time, it is advisable to confine the animal to a crate. If properly trained, your pet will soon see the cage as a safe haven much like a den.
When choosing to buy a crate, consider the size of your pet, personality, and your travel plans in the future. Your crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lay down comfortably. It should have a place for fresh water and food and adequate ventilation. If your pet is sociable and wants to see the world around them, then a mesh crate or a designer den may be a wonderful choice. However, if travel plans in the future of your family, then maybe a sturdy airline approved plastic crate would be a better option.


The first step in crate training your puppy is to teach your pet that crate is a safe haven for him. To do this you should avoid using the crate as a form of punishment and instead associate it with quiet, relaxing and enjoyable experiences. But it is good to remember that it is not a punishment but can be a  useful tool to eliminate certain destructive behaviors.

Begin by letting your puppy to explore the crate on his own. Make the crate a warm and welcoming place by putting his favorite pet bed inside and placing tasty treats or new toys. After a day of adequate exploration and he’s willing to go in and out of the crate on his own, take the dog out to eliminate and exercise.

After returning indoors, put him in the crate with food, water and some new toys. Shut the door and leave the room. Remain close enough to hear the puppy, but out of sight. If he is tired after the recent exercise, then the short nap in the box.

Vocalization and escape exploration is normal when your pet is first confined to his crate. Wait a few minutes, until the puppy has stopped vocalizing before releasing him. Do not let your puppy out when he barks or cry because it reinforces the behavior and links barking with being out of the cage. If your puppy will not stop barking, then some external behavior modification may be necessary to distract the pup and make it stop. A squirt bottle or shaker can be used for the startle response.

When you let your pet out of the box do not get excited or offer too much praise. To be released from the crate should not be treated as a reward, rather that  going in the cage should be praised and rewarded. Practice leaving your pet in the crate for short periods many times during the next few days. At bedtime, your pet should also be placed in the crate after taken outside for elimination and exercise.

As the puppy becomes more comfortable in her new crate, gradually increase the time the puppy is kept confined. Keep in mind how long your pet can hold his bladder and never let it be kept in a crate for longer than this time. As your pet gets older and the time spent in her new crate can be increased, hopefully he will like his space as a safe haven and a place to find new and exciting treats and toys.
Dr Debra Garrison

Dr. Debra Garrison
Dr. Debra Garrison
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