First of all, crate training your dog is not cruel! In fact, crate training is just normal dog training like how you teach your dog to use the toilet for keeping your house clean. It’s beneficial for both the dogs and the owners. Not only it helps your dog from house-breaking, but also it helps your dog stay safe – such as avoid being hit by a car when he carelessly runs outside.
After you learn how to crate train your dog successfully, your dog will find the crate as his home – a safe den that he owns.
Now, scroll down for the crate training 101 for your dog!
What is crate training?
Crate training your dog is not a method of punishment when the dog did something wrong. A crate is where your dog having his down time or simply just rest. Crate training is about teaching your dog and helping him understand that a crate is his “private room”, his “safe den” to live/sleep in. It’s just like a baby has a crib or a kid having his own room.
When you can start crate training for dogs?
Before talking about how to crate train a dog, you need to know when your dog is ready for dog training with crate. A too young puppy (under 9 weeks old) should never be crate trained since they need much affection and stimulation from the owner and need to be taken care of frequently. Plus, your dog is too young for a crate when he can’t control his elimination. You should wait til your dog is over 4 months old to start crate training.
Note: Only crate train your dog when he is in a good heath condition and the weather is not too hot.
How to choose a crate for your dog?
The dog crates nowadays are not only made from metal/wooden stuff. Crates come in different styles, sizes, colors and materials to fit your need. You can buy a crate from pet-supply store or make one your own.
Size. The crate’s size depends on your dog’s size. If you are having crate training for a puppy, always consider the size of the dog when he grows up (or if you want to change the crate later, you can buy smaller crate for your puppy, it’s up to you).
Always choose a crate which has enough room for an adult dog to stand up, lie down and turn around in a small circle comfortably. If you buy an adult-size crate for a puppy, remember to block off its excess space or use a divider. A too-bi g crate will end up confusing for dogs and he might treat a portion of the crate as his toilet.
Materials. Which crate to choose for your dog? It will depend heavily on your condition and how much you want to spend on the crate.
Kennel crates are enclosed hard plastic crates with a wire door. It’s portable so it’s suitable for carrying around, even when you travel on an airplane. So consider this crate type if you want to travel with your dog often. Plus, this type of crate allows your dog to enjoy his cozy, dark and “safe feeling” space.
Wire mesh crates are made from wire and it lets your dog see the outside via all sides. Although this type of crate is not expensive at all, its “see-through” sides might make your dog feel less secure and hence the meaning of a “safe den” to him is not practical. You can make it up by cover the crate with a or use sturdy metal crates.
Where should you place your dog’s crate?
Anywhere you think it’s comfortable for both you and your dog. It must be a place where is not too far from the house or is easily accessible. Don’t put the crate in places where it can be easily hit or moved or flipped over, especially when crate training a puppy.
Many people put the crate in their living room or near their bed so the dog won’t feel lonely when staying in the crate. Crate training is best accomplished while you share the same room with your dog.
Step by step guide for crate training your dog
Whether you want to learn about crate training your dog during the day or how to create train your dog at night, always remember to keep the crate training a comfortable experience for your dog. Don’t make him feel scared or anxious about using the crate.
So, how to make your dog love the crate?
Prepare your dog’s crate
Start by lining the crate with a blanket and your dog’s favorite toys. You can prepare treats in the crate to encourage your dog to go in. Don’t use fragmented, inedible or too big treat in the crate. You should also attach a hamster-type water dispenser in the crate if your dog is going stay here longer than 2 hours.
Introduce the crate to your dog
The answer to this question – how to crate train your dog fast is – always be patient and encouraging when training your dog.
When you start your dog training, introduce the crate to him several times a day. Drop small pieces of your dog’s favorite treat – it can be dog biscuits for example – in the crate. Or you can feed your dog inside the crate. This way, he’ll learn his new pace with positive associations. If he still hesitate to go in, you can try treating or feeding him in front of the crate first. After that, gradually move inside. Never force your dog to go inside by pushing or pulling him.
Whenever your dog shows his positive associations such as coming inside the crate, pet him or reward him with another treat, tell him that he’s doing great.
Increase the crate time gradually
After your dog become comfortable staying inside the crate for about 10 minutes or so, you can start to confine it to the crate for a longer time.
Like teaching a baby, your dog needs a routine for crate every day. Define the daily “crate time” for your dog. Give signals (commands) for crate time so your dog can understand. As your dog follows your command and goes inside the crate, praise or treat him for that. You can sit next to the crate for a few minutes before leaving and reward your pet for staying calm.
Other tips for successful crate training for your dog
How to crate train your dog at night
Many people find their dogs whining or barking at night when they are put in a crate. To avoid this, there a few things you should take note.
Only start crate training your dog overnight when he is happy with staying inside the crate during the day. Make sure your dog has his comforter or toys with it. Find a comfortable place for your dog’s crate to help your dog feel more settled.
If you crate train a puppy or young dog overnight, you might need to take it out at least once for toilet breaks. For grown up dogs, remember to eliminate them before crate time.
How to crate train a puppy
Crate training a puppy is similar to adult dogs with the steps above. However, you need to take care of them more and keep these in mind:
- Never crate train a too young puppy (under 4 months old).
- Don’t let your puppy stay inside the crate for too long (over 2 hours). Puppies need more social interaction and leaving them alone for too long might make them feel being neglected.
- Always prepare cold water in the crate for puppies, especially in warm weather.
- Make sure your puppy is eliminated before crate training
- Make sure the crate is not too big for your puppy
How to stop your dog from eliminating in the crate?
Rarely a dog pee or poop in its crate if you follow the instruction above, including:
- Never put a too young puppy who can’t control his bladder yet inside the crate
- Never let your dog inside the crate for too long
- Always get your dog eliminated before crate time
If your dog still pee or poop inside the crate during crate time, consider these tips:
- Check if your dog has a proper diet: Is it fed too much or not enough?
- Check if your dog has gaseous or loose stools
- Check if your dog drank too much water before crate time
- Check if your dog is suffering from illness or an infection or not (diarrhea, worm, vomiting… in this case, don’t let them be in the crate)
- Check if your dog is over-anxious when being left alone
- Try fully potty train your dog first before crate training
How to stop your dog from whining or barking when crate training at night?
Whining and barking is a way your dog shows that he is not comfortable. Take your dog out to a potty to see if he wants to eliminate. Or, if your dog is staying away from you he might want a longer time with you before you leave. Spend more time sitting quietly next to his crate when your dog is inside. Some dogs want to stay close to you even when you sleep so putting their crate in your room is a solution.
Never leave your dog in the crate for a long time during day time and confine him there overnight. Your dog is a social creature and he needs enough activity as well as free time outside the crate.
In the least desirable case, if you think everything is perfect yet your dog keeps on whining, just deal with it. Maybe your dog just needs some time to get used to his new cozy place.
Have a wonderful and friendly crate time with your dog!