Crate Training 101
A crate for dogs is a personal den where he can find peace and solitude, knowing he is safe and secure. Crate training uses his natural instincts being a den animal, as a place to hide from danger, somewhere to sleep and even to raise a family.
The primary uses for crate training are mainly for housebreaking, as dogs don’t like to soil and eliminate in their dens. It’s also great to use for transporting your dog safely and even to limit the area of your home while he learns the rules.
How do I begin the process of crate training? This isn’t going to be a magical overnight solution and if not done correctly the dog can become frustrated.
First rule of thumb. Don’t use it for punishment as the dog will be fearful of it and won’t want to enter it. Try not to leave the dog in there for long periods of time, at least not day and night. He needs to have some exercise and human interactions during the day. Under six months, puppies should not be required to stay in the crate for more than four hours at a time. They can’t hold the bladder and bowels for too long. Continue to crate train your dog until he can be trusted and by now he should be able to go into it voluntarily.
Training for the crate can take weeks or months depending on your dog’s temperament. Always associate it with something pleasant and the training should be in small steps and try not to go to fast with the crate training.
Introduce him to his crate. Let the door open and let him explore it. Put in in a area where the family spends a lot of time in the room. Encourage him to go in by placing treats outside the crate and leading into it. If he doesn’t want the treats try a favorite toy, I would not advise you to leave in it while you are away. Over time, lengthen the span of time that he is in the crate. Use certain words to associate with the crate such as “kennel” or “house”. When he can stay in there for more than 30 minutes it is time to leave him while you run some errands. At night when it is bedtime, use your regular command and don’t forget the treat. You may want to put the crate in your bedroom as you don’t want them to associate the crate with social isolation. Same goes for older dogs.
If used properly, a crate is an effective short-term tool for managing and training your dog. Just remember to be patient.
Here is a video about puppy crate training too. Good Luck!