This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission that helps to support this site. It does not affect the price you pay. You can read my full affiliate disclosure by clicking here.
Wondering how to crate train a dog or get your puppy used to his or her new den? Read on for some do’s and don’ts, to get this important step for your dog right.
As pet parents, we always want to provide the best living conditions for our dogs. After all, they are a big part of our family. We want our dogs to be healthy and well behaved―we want them to feel loved, needed, secure, safe, and comfortable.
In order to achieve all of that, we must properly care for our dogs. Care doesn’t just mean to give them food, water, shelter, exercise, vaccines, training, and praise. Along with those important things, care means to protect our dogs and give them their own space. Dogs crave human interaction and affection, but they are inherently den animals. They must have their own place for downtime, possessions, privacy, and space. Crates are perfect for this and you’ll find a huge selection at Chewy.com and Amazon.com. You can also find out more about Diggs™ Revol, the Almost Perfect Dog Crate here.
It will take time and effort for good crate training but the results are well worth it. Dogs need their own space―their own quiet-time den. And, portable crates are awesome for safe and humane travel, even for short trips to the store. But, always use the crate as a safe and comfy dog den. Never use it as a “lockup” to punish the dog for any reason. You want the dog to love and respect the crate as a good den, not a place to loath or associate with punishment.
How to Crate Train a Dog
The proper size and use of dog crates is key to correct dog training and safety as well as your best friend’s comfort and your peace of mind. Please read on to learn more about crate training your dog.
The Right Size and Type of Crate
Size does matter so buy wisely―there are a lot of crate types and sizes. The newly designed Revol Crate, available here, is absolutely perfect for doggie comfort and easy setup.
Certainly, you will want to fit the crate well to your home and transport needs. But, more importantly, be sure it’s right for the dog’s breed and expected adult size. If you have a young pup, then get a crate that’ll be the right size when he or she is fully grown. If, at first, the crate seems like too much room for a puppy then remember that puppies grow quickly! In the meantime, you can easily reduce the interior size with a makeshift divider made of cardboard or some other non-hazardous material.
Comfort is King
Your dog needs to be comfortable and relaxed anytime he or she is in the crate. Rescue dogs may associate a hard, wire crate with the noisy metal shelter kennels. In this case, a soft-sided crate might be a better choice. The more comfortable the dog is when in the crate, the quicker he or she will relax and enjoy their new den.
Remember, a dog crate is a den not a jail, so you want your dog to accept and enjoy its crate time. It should always be a comfy, safe place where the dog can relax or sleep. The crate should never be used as a negative place for discipline or punishment.
Also, your dog should not be crated while wearing a collar. The collar hardware or tags can be a choking hazard if they snag on some part of the crate. Even if you move quickly to save the dog, it will be freaked out and may refuse to ever enter the crate again.
Treat But Don’t Feed the Dog
Puppies adapt easily to crates and want only to please you. But, you need to pay attention. Don’t leave the pup in the crate for long periods. And, never feed your dog its full meal in the crate. Treats like peanut butter hidden in a Kong toy are okay and will engage the dog for a long time. Older dogs usually don’t pee or poop in their crates but with full tummies or bladders, any dog can have an “oops moment”, especially young pups.
Crate Train in Baby Steps
15 to 30 minutes of crate time during the day with breaks to play, explore, and potty will work for most pups. Older dogs can be crated for longer periods (2-3 hours) but must have some exercise, feeding, and potty time outside of the crate. Key to untrained pups and rescues is to reinforce that outside means potty and that inside the crate means rest and quiet time.
Have Patience and Good Sense
Some puppies and untrained rescue dogs can take weeks or months to properly crate train. Accidents will happen and some things may get chewed up. Accept that and never lose your temper. If you scold and frighten your dog―and use the crate to punish the dog―then all hope for proper crate training will be lost. Moreover, the dog will not respect you and will never be your best friend―it will simply be afraid of you.
I hope you’ve gained some pointers and enjoyed this article on how to crate train a dog.
If you want more info on life with a new puppy, download our puppy proofing checklist here.