How to Crate Train Your Dog
Dog crates are perfect for dogs of all ages and breeds.
They provide a secure space that your dog will learn to feel safe and comfortable in, giving them a place to retreat to in a busy home. They are also ideal for ensuring safe transport, whether it’s a quick trip to the park or a longer journey for a holiday.
Getting the Right Crate
A crate should be large enough for your dog to be able to stand, move around and settle comfortably. If you have puppy, consider its breed carefully as crates can be an expensive investment and you won’t want to buy another when he grows up.
Placing your Crate
When you get your crate home, it’s best to set it up while your dog isn’t around, as they will have moving parts that can be quite loud. The noises could scare your dog, especially if he’s only a puppy, and you wouldn’t want him to create the wrong associations with his new bed.
You need to find the perfect place for your crate so that your dog will be happy to stay in it. It shouldn’t be too close to a radiator or heater, and you should ensure it’s not in a draught to keep the temperature consistent and comfortable.
Choose somewhere quiet so your pet can rest undisturbed, so not near a door or passageway, but close enough to the family so he doesn’t become concerned or anxious at being excluded. Remember your dog is part of your family now and he will want to be close to his new pack.
Use bedding that he has slept in before, as the familiar smells will help him settle much more quickly. You could also place a blanket over the top, so the crate becomes more like a den.
Training your Dog
The most important thing to remember when training your dog is patience. The more time you spend helping him get used to the new space, the less likely it will be that he will respond negatively.
Never force or shove your dog into the crate – he should go in happy and freely to keep him calm.
Begin by closely the door for very short periods and staying with him. Five or ten minutes to start with will reinforce the fact that he is safe and that you won’t leave him locked up. It may be difficult at first, but don’t let him out the first time he cries, instead do your best to comfort the dog through the cage door and reward him with treats when he’s calm and settled. You can then build up to longer periods, remembering to let him out at least once an hour to go to the loo – the last thing you want is for him to have an accident in his new bed!
It’s natural that your dog will want to keep his sleeping area clean, so short term use of a crate with regular toilet breaks will help to reinforce the behaviour of only using puppy pads or outdoor areas for toileting.
By the time you begin to leave him unsupervised, he should feel safe and secure, which means you won’t stress him unnecessarily when you leave him home alone.
Travel with your Pet
The first time your dog travels by car, it’s natural that he may experience a lot of stress, but your crate can be the perfect solution. By placing it in the car securely, your dog will have a familiar place to settle down for the journey.
Always start with short trips, and go to a happy place like the park or a friend’s house. If your dog only travels when he goes to the vets or kennels, he may begin to associate travel with these places and will become anxious or difficult to transport. If these places do make your pet unhappy, take him for a short walk around before getting back in the car, so he is calm and relaxed before being travelling.
The team at Green Lane Farm understand how stressful staying in a new place can be for your pet, but if you can keep him calm on the journey over to us, we’ll help to ensure his stay is as comfortable and happy as possible – you can even bring your crate, so your dog feels safe in his surroundings while he’s in our care.