Chip Tips: Crate Training
Our fourth topic in our “Chip Tips” puppy training series is Crate Training!
Why crate train your dog in the first place? For many dogs, a crate is their den. This can be an area for them to sleep, eat, or just have some quiet time of their own to relax away from the commotion of a household. Having your dog in a crate gives you peace of mind when your puppy is unsupervised; you know they are safe and are not destroying your house or getting into something that could harm them. It can also help with house training, as most puppies naturally do not want to soil in their den area. Being crate trained also comes in handy as a safe way to transport your dog. Your dog may also need to stay in a crate at the vet clinic or a kennel. Having a dog that is crate trained has many benefits!
When crate training your puppy, ensure that you NEVER let her out when she is fussing. Give her time to calm down and be quiet before letting her out. Otherwise, you are rewarding that behavior and she will soon learn if she makes a fuss you will let her out. Get your puppy used to her crate by making it a very positive thing. Get your puppy to sit in front of the crate, with the door closed. Show your puppy her toy stuffed with treats and then put it in the crate and close the door. When the puppy tries to get in for the treat, open the door and let her in. Close the door behind her while she’s getting rewarded with the treat. Do frequent, short positive sessions in the crate, before building up the length of time she is in there. You don’t ever want to use the crate as punishment, otherwise your puppy will soon become reluctant to enter it.
Remember that your puppy can not be expected to go all day in a crate without needing to go to the bathroom. There may be some accidents along the way, too. You can minimize the chance of this by ensuring that she has had ample opportunity to use the bathroom before going in it. Ideally, your puppy will have also had adequate exercise beforehand, so she will be tired and want to relax or sleep in her crate.
There are several types of crates available, depending on your preference. Buy a crate that will be suitable for your puppy’s adult size, and block off part of it until you need all the space. If you give your puppy too big of a crate she may be more likely to use one end of it to soil in.
What did you find helped with crate training your puppy? We would love to hear your tips!