The Importance of Crate Training

Narrated from: Dog Training

Many people don’t understand why crate training is so very important so let’s take a look at all the reasons a crate is such a necessity for you and for your dog. It’s also very important to have a crate that is a good fit for your pup, so we’ll go over that as well. First and foremost, never think of the crate as a place to punish your dog. That’s not what it’s for at all. Many people carry the misconception that the crate is some place to put the dog after he’s gotten into trouble, and still others feel it is cruel; neither of which are true.

Pay attention to the size of your dog. He or she should be able to stand without lowering his head, and he should be able to turn around without running in to the sides. If you get a puppy and you’re not sure just how big he will become, then look for a crate with a divider. You will need the space to be just big enough for food and water at one end and a place to eliminate at the other. Dogs prefer not to use the potty where they eat or sleep. As your puppy grows to adulthood you will be able to remove the divider to give him more room. If, for instance you get a Great Dane puppy, you will certainly need the largest possible crate with a divider!

The type of crate you get is also very important. While airlines prefer you have a closed plastic carrier type of crate, most dogs prefer the wire open crate style. Thinking about where the crate will need to be and the size of your dog, you shouldn’t have much difficulty selecting the right one for your dog. Most often the crates purchased from the store include a list of breeds their crates will contain so even if you have a mixed pup you can determine the correct size based on the breeds involved in the mix.

To teach your dog to go into his crate, open the door with your dog nearby, say the word “crate” or “kennel” (which ever you prefer), and toss a treat into the back of the crate. Most puppies and dogs will eagerly chase the treat into the crate. If you have adopted an older dog, he may have more difficulty catching on to the idea. Let him sniff the treat and then toss it in more slowly. It is very important that you do not shut the door at this point! Allow him to enter and exit at his will, without feeling like he’s been trapped. Use your key word every time he enters his crate. You may need to practice this several times to allow your dog to understand. Praise him when he goes into the crate. It is also a good idea to feed your dog in his crate so he relates to it as a good place!

The crate is to contain the dog when you can’t watch him, but it’s also for him to feel safe and comfortable. Once he is comfortable with his crate, you are likely to find him in there on his own when there is something going on in the house that he wants to get away from. Many dogs are overwhelmed when you have guests or even when you run the vacuum cleaner. The crate is his safe place!

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