Crate Training Your Dog
Choosing a Crate
Crates come in different styles. The most common types are the pressed
fiberglass models and the open-wire cages. Both are available in pet supply
stores. Fiberglass crates are the most sturdy. Many of the wire cages fold into
the shape of a suitcase for easy transport. Make sure your crate is large enough
to be comfortable for your dog at all stages of her life. She should be able
to fully stand up, lie down, and chew on a toy without being cramped.
Familiarize your Dog with the Crate
Whatever the age of your dog, it's important to introduce her to the crate
- Put the crate in an area of your home where you and others are around.
You may want to keep it in the kitchen during the day and in your bedroom
at night. To make your dog's first experience with the crate as pleasant
as possible, put a soft blanket or towel (preferably one that smells like
you) on the floor of the crate. Then throw a toy and some food treats
inside. DO NOT use force to make your dog go into the crate. Instead let
her explore and find the goodies. When she enters the cage, praise her,
and let her come and go as she pleases. Play this game for several minutes.
If your dog takes to this game, close the door for a few seconds after she
goes in. Increase the amount of time the door is closed, but stays close to
the crate while you offer praise and treats.
- Now that you've familiarized her with the crate concept, gradually get
her used to being in the cage for longer periods of time. Start feeding
your dog her meals in the crate with the door closed. Leave the room while
your dog is eating and later when she is just resting. When your dog shows
no opposition (that could take several days), leave the house: First, go
out for only 5 minutes, then gradually increase your time away to 30
minutes. If your dog can stay in the crate for half an hour without getting
agitated, she should be comfortable for hours.
- Don't over do it! Try to use the crate for short times, both when you're
home and when you're out. You should not confine your dog for more than 4
hours at a time, and no longer than a total of 10 hours in any given day.
Always give your dog a special treat and praise when you crate it.
Remember, crated dogs need a lot of exercise and playtime