Crate Training is a benefit not just to you and your home, but to your dog. Crate training allows you house train your dog easily and also familiarize them with their new home, and helps you manage their behavior both when you’re home and when you’re not. If your dog knows to retreat to his or her crate when scared (such as during a storm or during fireworks), then you may save yourself the trouble of cleaning up the path of destruction that usually comes with a frightened dog who doesn’t know what to do. This is especially important if you’re not home to comfort or calm the dog when this happens. Through crate training, your dog will learn to treat his or her dog crate as a safe haven, and will even learn to keep the crate orderly and comfortable, recognizing it as a sanctuary for peace and rest.
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Crate Training – The Basics
One of the fundamental rules of crate training is that your dog never associates a dog crate with punishment or reprimand, but rather as a place of safety and reward. Putting your dog through several short sessions is recommended rather than one long session where you, or your dog, could get frustrated, and that’s bad for crate training.
The first step in effective crate training is to introduce your dog to the crate with an enthusiastic and positive approach. Getting the dog excited about the crate will help build a positive association with the dog crate. Food and treats can be used as incentive but it is very important that you remain patient and never force your dog to enter the crate. Once your dog becomes familiar with the crate, leave the door open and praise and encourage your dog every time it enters the dog crate on its own. You can also say a word such as “bed” or “kennel” every time your dog enters the crate so that he or she will eventually recognize the word and enter the crate on your command. Dogs respond very well to repetitive conditioning with positive reinforcement, so following this step is a fairly easy way for you to establish a connection between the command “kennel” or “bed” and having your dog obey the order and go straight to the dog crate.
Placing your dog’s favorite toy and bedding into the dog crate will also help your dog identify the crate as its home.
If you are house training your dog, it is important that you take your dog outside as soon as you let him or her out of the crate. Reward your dog as soon as it does its business in an acceptable area and also use a keyword for “toilet time” so your dog knows exactly what to do in the future.
Repeating these steps continually until your dog is comfortable with the routine will ensure the success of crate training, and your dog will learn to love its dog crate!