A new puppy needs a place to sleep that they feel comfortable! Here is a guide to crate training your dog.
Have you ever come home from work to find that your dog has chewed up your shoes, clothing, or furniture? Do you need to find a way to discipline your puppy without yelling at them?
Every year, people in the United States spend more than $60 billion on their pets. That includes training, vet visits, and food – not to mention pet deposits and doggy daycare.
Add in a few ruined $50 pairs of shoes and the cost of pet ownership can skyrocket. In this article, we’ll talk about crate training and its benefits for puppies and older rescue dogs.
Why Crating Dogs Isn’t Cruel
The first thing that every new pet owner needs to know is that some breeds are naturally more rambunctious than others.
Some smaller dogs like Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles are prone to anxiety, which can lead to unwanted chewing behaviors.
The great thing about crating dogs is that you can give your puppy a place to relax and unwind. If they’re mischievous, with a tendency to chew or urinate in the home, a crate is the perfect vacation destination.
Dogs are also reluctant to urinate in the same place they sleep, so having a comfy crate can help with the housebreaking process.
In general, it will take about two to three weeks to fully crate train your dog.
It’s not difficult to crate train puppies, but it does take some patience.
How to Crate Train a Puppy
When you’re ready to start crating dogs of any age, you need to make the crate a reward zone. You can start by giving your puppy treats near their crate, eventually tossing a few treats inside.
Let your puppy go into the crate by themselves and give them a treat when they do go in. You should pick a training word, which can be anything from “chill” to “go in.”
This helps your puppy start to associate your voice with a reward as well as a command.
Once your puppy is comfortable eating snacks in their crate, you can serve meals in there as well. Keep the door open but put the food as far back inside the crate as you can.
While they’re eating, it’s okay to close the crate door and give your verbal command again. If they whine or panic, just wait for them to calm down and open the door.
When your puppy is calm, teach them a “release command” to let them know it’s time to emerge from the crate. Again, this can be any word or phrase you choose.
Don’t put puppies in their crates for more than a few hours. Their tiny bladders just can’t wait that long to go outside.
What Size Crate Do You Need?
Finding the perfect crate is a process that will depend upon your dog’s temperament. You need a crate that’s just big enough for them to enter, turn around in, and lay down.
Ask your local animal shelter or doggy daycare if they have crates for rent. You’ll be able to experiment with the size and material until you find one that works.
For more information on dog breeds and crates, you can read more here.
Another thing to consider when you’re choosing crates is the material. If your dog is a biter, skip the fabric crates for one made out of plastic or metal.
Collapsible metal crates are easy to clean and sturdy enough for rides in the car. If your dog learns to associate comfort and security with their crate, you should have an easier time at the vet.
Plastic crates are also easy to clean, but try to get one that has side windows. The more your dog can monitor their surroundings, the happier they’ll be.
Managing Anxiety in Young Dogs
We’ve all been there: the first day in a new school or the first night in a new home can be a little bit overwhelming.
Your puppy is no different. They’re newly separated from their mother and not sure of themselves yet.
The good news is that you can help your dog relax in a few simple steps. First, make sure they get daily exercise. This will make them more willing to step into their crates at night.
Also, create time in your schedule for fun. Find an area of the house that you can block off with childproof gates and get down on the floor for a rousing game of tug-of-war.
Make sure that you’re giving your puppies toys that don’t resemble shoes or socks.
If your dog has prolonged anxiety, talk to your vet about giving them CBD oil. CBD oil is derived from cannabis plants but doesn’t have any “psychoactive” properties.
If you have a naturally high-strung breed of dog, CBD oil won’t change their personality. It may, however, make them a little more relaxed and ready to sleep at night.
If you can, put your puppy’s crate near your bed at night. Young pups need to go outside more frequently than older dogs, and you don’t want to miss the signals.
Get Started With Crate Training Your Puppy
To start crate training your puppy, put a soft blanket or bed inside. If your puppy isn’t housebroken yet, make sure you have a waterproof cover and a washable bed.
Above all, don’t force your puppy into their crate. Young dogs can be frustrating to manage, but you’ll thank yourself for putting in the effort to train them correctly.
Another way to entice your puppy into their relaxation zone is to have a few toys that you only give them when they’re in their crate. Once they start associating special toys or treats with their crate, they’ll go more willingly.
If you have an older dog, they may not take to the crate right away. If it’s becoming an issue, give them their own bed in a secluded area of your home.
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