Author: Haley Gibbs
Crate training dogs is a wonderful idea for reasons that many people may find surprising: as a dog’s natural instinct is to find a quiet, safe, and comfortable place to be when everything around them becomes overwhelming, a crate can act as their refuge, and it should not be used as a form of punishment. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about crate training your dog.
When a dog is crate trained properly, it can greatly benefit not only your pup but you as well. By using a crate, you can create your dog’s special “home” for them that they know they’ll always be safe and taken care of in. Something to note is that if a crate is used incorrectly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. Crates should never be used as punishment and should come along with positive reinforcements only.
Crate training is also a key tool that will prevent your dog from chewing on household furniture and belongings, assist with housetraining, and it also provides a safer way to move your dog in a car.
Puppies can benefit greatly from crate training. Pups want to keep their sleeping areas clean, so it helps them learn to not to go to the bathroom in the house and helps you teach them how to ask to go outside. It also keeps them safe in one location so they don’t have unsupervised, free reign of the house.
Senior dogs who may be dealing with health issues or just old age enjoy having a crate to go to when they need to rest and heal, as they take more frequent naps. It’s also easier if they are already crate trained so they don’t have to learn new rules later in life.
Because crates are meant to act as a sanctuary for dogs, they also support dogs in feeling less separation anxiety when their owners need to leave them at home for a period of time.
Things to Know
It’s important to choose a crate that works with your dog’s individual size that allows your dog to stand, turn, and lie down comfortably. Don’t forget to choose a comfortable crate mat, and you can also include a favorite toy and soft blanket for snuggles.
Dogs should not stay in a crate for too long. If your dog is crated all day and all night, it won’t get enough exercise or interaction with their owner which can lead to your dog becoming depressed. Just as you wouldn’t want to stay in one room for an extended period of time, your dog shouldn’t stay in their crate for extended periods, either.
How to Crate Train
Crate training can take a while—days or even weeks! Patience is always key when training your dog.
Introduce your dog to the crate:
First, keep your dog’s crate in a place where the rest of the family spends time. Keep the door open with either a bed or a cozy blanket that your dog can go in and explore when they are ready. If your dog doesn’t explore, take them to the crate and use a soothing, happy voice to encourage your dog to enter it by using small treats. Don’t force them inside, but use low-calorie treats or their dog food to increase their desire to enter.
Create positive reinforcement:
Use your dog’s meal times to associate the crate with a positive experience by feeding them near or inside of the crate. When your dog is standing comfortably in the crate, close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door once they've finished eating. Continue doing this and adding more time each exposure until they’re in the crate for about 10 minutes following each meal.
Confine them for short periods:
Entice and call your dog over to the crate and give them a treat. Start training them to enter the crate with a command using treats to encourage them to enter. When your dog enters the crate, give them lots of happy praise while you close the door. Stay near them quietly for a short amount of time, around five to ten minutes, and gradually increase that time and go into another room. Keep repeating this process and adding more time. Once they’re comfortable with this and can stay in the crate quietly for 30 minutes or so when you’re mostly out of sight, go ahead and start leaving them crated when you’re gone for short periods of time or try letting them sleep in their crate during the night.
Crating your dog at night:
Put your dog in their crate at night just as you would when you leave. At first, it’s a good idea to keep the crate nearby at night for two reasons—so they don’t associate it with social isolation and so you can hear when a puppy needs to go to the bathroom at night, as most young pups can’t hold it for more than a few hours at a time. You can also place a blanket over the crate so your dog feels extra safe and secure and if your dog is unsettled, place the clothes you wore during the day outside the crate so they can still smell you and feel more comfortable.
Remember to not make your departure from and arrival to the crate emotional or prolonged: keep it very simple. When leaving, give your dog a quick praise, offer them a treat, and then leave quietly. When you enter after being gone, don’t make it a big deal so as not to overexcite them and remain composed when letting them out.
When your dog whines in their crate, you’ll need to decide if your dog just wants to be let out or if they need to go to the bathroom. Your dog should never be rewarded by being let out when it whines unless they need to go to the bathroom. When they whine, ignore them until they stop. If they don’t stop, let them out to go to the bathroom. They shouldn’t be allowed to explore or play—instead, take them outside and then have them go back into their crate once they’re finished doing their business.
Instead of using a crate solely to sleep in at night, keep the crate door open so your dog can go in when they want to throughout the day. When your dog does this, it's a good indicator that your dog needs some quiet alone time, and they should be left alone if they go in it willingly. If you have kids in the house, make sure they know not to bother your dog while they’re in their crate.
As your dog learns to use their crate correctly, you can offer them Natural Farm’s all-natural treats, chews, and bones as a healthy reward for their positive behavior and improvements. Just be sure not to leave your dog alone or unsupervised inside their crate with their chews or toys as they can be unsafe for your pup if chewed improperly.
Natural Farm is an all-natural dog treat company with a variety of chews your dog will love. Visit our store page to view our entire collection!
About Natural Farm
In 2018, after years of searching for high-quality, natural dog treat products, we decided to bring them to the market ourselves. That’s how Natural Farm was born—we wanted to present the industry with what it lacked the most: natural dog chews, treats, and bones, sustainably sourced from local suppliers and produced in our own human-grade, FDA- and USDA-approved facilities, where every product is lab tested for quality and contamination.
Natural Farm is committed to pets, people, and the planet. We give back to communities and pets in need, support reforestation efforts and nonprofits, and our products are packaged using recycled materials.
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