Tips for Crating your Dog

Effective crate training starts by buying a crate large enough that the dog can stand, lie down and turn around comfortably. They should never be too small, but be careful not to buy one that is too large either.

Start by rewarding the dog, by giving them a treat or praise when they are getting into the crate, at first every time, then just occasionally.

Be Positive. Your dog will pick up on your attitude.

NEVER use the crate as punishment!

If your dog barks in the crate, make him be quiet before letting him out; DO NOT reward barking with freedom.

Set up the crate in a commonly used room and let the dog explore it while you show no concern.

Say “Go to bed”, “Kennel up”, “Crate-time”, “find the treat” or some other key phrase to describe the activity. When the dog goes into the crate, close the door briefly while petting and praising him through the crate. Praise more for being in, than for coming out.

Never act concerned about leaving him. When you’re ready to leave for longer than a few minutes, make sure he has water and his two favorite toys in the crate. Increase the time you keep him in the crate, then begin leaving the room for longer periods. Do not leave toys or chews in the crate that could potentially choke him.

Your dog will eventually become so used to his crate that he will often just go into it and lay down, sometimes just to get away from a noisy or stressful situation in another room. This training method teaches an acceptable behavior pattern in the owner’s absence. It does not mean that your dog must be confined to a crate every time you are gone for the rest of its life.

NOTE: A peaceful, crated dog will not chew your furniture, will not tear things up, will not soil carpets- will not do what a lonely, bored, and often scared dog will do when left on his own. A crated dog left for a reasonable amount of time will usually not have an accident, preferring to go outside of his “den”. (information used with permission from the IHS newsletter summer ’96)

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