For a lot of different reasons, crating your dog is a good idea. It keeps your furry friend safe when you’re not home, it gives you peace of mind that it’s not going to destroy your home every time you leave the house and it gives your dog a place to call his or her own, which is important within a family setting. After all, we all tend to have our favorite room, our favorite chair, or somewhere to go when we need to take a break and hit the proverbial “reset” button. Your dog has the same needs, so you may want to accommodate your friend with that special place.
While all these are good reasons to introduce the crate to your dog, the question of how to crate train your dog is an important one for dog owners who want to take this step. Like everything else relating to your pooch, crate training your dog is a process, but one that can and will usually turn out successfully if you’re patient, have a plan in place, and follow that plan with some persistence. KONG Box has been working with dog owners for nearly 50 years, and we’d like to offer some ideas below on how to crate train your dog quickly and successfully.
1. Pick the Right Crate
The first thing you need to do when it comes to figuring out how to crate train your dog is to make sure you pick the appropriate crate. After all, your favorite chair wouldn’t be your favorite chair if it was uncomfortable and you didn’t enjoy spending time in it. While there is no uniform rule in this regard, what you should do is look for one that is large enough for your dog to stand and turn around inside, as your friend will not want to be crammed into a small space. You should also choose one that features a secure door, as a swinging gate that bumps your dog will not make it want to spend time inside of it.
2. Introducing Your Crate
After you choose your crate and you bring it home for your dog to use, you need to begin the process of “selling” that crate to your furry friend. The overall theme of this step in crate training is to give your dog a positive emotional association with its crate. This is absolutely essential when it comes to figuring out how to crate train your dog. Specifically, you should put a comfortable blanket or something soft inside of the crate so your dog will want to spend time in it. You should also place it somewhere in the home that’s going to be near family, such as in the family/living room or in some other area where your dog will be around people who are relaxed and happy.
3. Use Your Dog’s Favorite Thing – Food
There’s an old saying that the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That definitely holds true with dogs, as food is their master in many ways. You really can’t put a plan together on how to crate train your dog without food in most situations. You can lure your dog into the crate by placing some treats near the entrance of it. If it eats those treats and seems comfortable, then put some towards the back end of it. If that goes well, you can even start serving meals in the crate, as all of this will, as mentioned above, create a positive association with spending time in the crate. Once again, this will work in your favor and allow you to move towards the next stage in the progression.
4. Start With Short Time Periods
If these first few steps have gone well, then congratulations, as you are doing well with understanding how to crate train your dog. Now it’s time to start getting your dog used to spending actual time in the crate, including time alone. If your dog is comfortable, start closing the door when your friend is inside so it gets used to that mode. Leave your dog in there for a few minutes, and if all goes well, leave him or her in there a bit longer the next day. Eventually, you can work your way up to having your dog sleep in the crate, and that’s an enormous step. By now, you should also have a command that’s used to signal to your dog that it’s time to get in the crate, and whatever word or phrase you use, make sure it’s consistent. You’re now getting closer to a fully crate trained dog!
5. Start Leaving the House
Finally, you’re ready for what is usually the last step in how to crate train your dog, which is to start leaving the house when he or she is inside of it. The best way to do this is to use the same strategy as you did for sleeping in it. Specifically, put your dog in the crate and then leave the home for a few minutes, and the next day leave for a little bit longer. Eventually, you will hopefully be able to work your way up to a timeframe that allows you to go to work or leave for at least a few hours before you need to come home and let your friend out to answer nature or to at least move around a bit.
Finally, if you’re looking for something to alleviate stress while your dog is in the crate, you should turn to KONG Club for monthly toys and treats that support crate training and access to Vets and Pet Coaches who will help you build your crate training plan.
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