A wonderfully effective and painless method to housetrain your dog is to use dog crate training. Dog crate training is simple and effective because it uses the innate desire of your dog to maintain a clean den. Using dog crate training in combination with a strict schedule of regular obedience training will help to ensure speedy success in your dog house training efforts.
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Even though it may seem to you that a crate is nothing more than a way of imprisoning your dog, dogs actually love crates. A crate is like a dog’s den, providing your dog with warmth, security, safety and comfort. Crates serve as a safe, comfy haven and sanctuary for dogs, and are therefor very powerful tools for obedience training. Below is a list of just some of the many benefits of owning a dog crate:
1. The crate can be used like a babysitter, placing your dog in it when you are busy and can’t watch it carefully. This will give you piece of mind that your dog is safe and not causing havoc, and will give your dog a chance to relax. Please note that it is not a good idea to leave your dog alone in the crate for over 6 hours because he/she may become distressed.
2. Utilizing crates is the perfect way to get your dog used to a regular house training timetable.
3. Crates serve as the ideal overnight bed for puppies who are young and not yet housebroken, or too full of mischief to be left to roam around by themselves during the night.
4. You can use the crate as a place to feed your dog if he becomes distracted easily.
5. Over the course of a dog’s life a stay in the hospital is inevitable. If your dog goes to the hospital, he will likely have his own crate to live in. Using a crate at home will mean that your dog is used to being crated. This will help to lower your dogs stress levels during a stay at the vets. Unnecessary stress can slow your dog’s recovery, so getting your dog used to a crate early on is very beneficial.
6. When you need your dog to be quiet, a crate is definitely a big help. A crate provides a great timeout area for an overly excited or noisy animal.
7. Allowing a dog to roam free in a car while you drive is very dangerous, no matter how close the distance is. Keeping your dog in a crate will protect both you and your dog from harm while driving.
8. When you go away on vacation, a crate can act like a familiar home for your dog. You will be able to keep your dog in the hotel room without having to worry if your dog is busy destroying the room. Having a familiar den while on vacation will also help to keep your dog from getting overexcited or stressed. This will result in far better behavior from your dog while you are away on vacation.
9. A dog’s crate provides a quiet haven where it can find sanctuary from the buzz of household activity. Whenever they want to take a nap or take some time out, make sure your dogs crate is available to them.
10. Dogs naturally won’t do their business where they sleep, so the use of a crate can encourage bladder control and therefore greatly aid dog toilet training.
Choosing a crate – Making the right choice for you and your dog
Crates tend to come in various sizes, materials, and shades, and selecting the appropriate one for your dog can be rather difficult. Some crates have more strength than other crates, while some are far easier to put together and collapse making them more portable. The most commonly available crates are made from plastic, mesh fabric or wire grate. Many of the top selling crates have been designed for portability and are extremely easy to put together. To simplify the crate selection process, here are the most important actors to consider:
Crates made of plastic are conventionally used for traveling although they are also fine for day-to-day home use as well. If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, purchasing this type of dog crate will give you and your pet a sense of security during the trip.
Wire crates can allow for better air flow and viewing, and at night can be covered with a blanket to create a more den like experience for your dog. Crates constructed out of wire mesh fold up easily, however, they weigh more than plastic or fabric mesh crates. These crates are therefore best used in a fixed location in the home. Many wire mesh crates are compatible with dividers to allow you to control the size of the crate and increase the crates size as your dog grows.
Wicker crates are more aesthetically pleasing than plastic or metal crates although they tend to cost more. They also have the added problem of being easier to chew through.
Make sure that the crate that you purchase has enough room in it for you dog to assume any position he’d like, comfortably. When looking at crates for puppies, always choose a larger one for adult dogs so your puppy can grow into the crate.
A good idea is to have a crate that you will use in the house and another one for your car, especially if you regularly take your dog out driving with you. Purchasing two crates will make your life easier by not having to carry one crate from your house t your car all the time.
Furnishing and siting your dogs crate
Your dog needs an area of its own away from the chaos of an average human home. I recommend allocating a quiet spot where you can dim the lights, as with a baby’s nursery. This will be a relaxing place of peace for your dog. You can ensure the crate is cozy with simple additions like a soft mat, and by adding toys to keep your dog busy. It is best to skip furnishing the crate with overly fluffy pillows or bedding as they may lead to chewing or accidents.
Getting a dog into the crate for the very first time
1. Prepare the crate and give your dog the time to get to know it. You will want to line the bottom of the crate with a blanket or a crate pad.
2.Pick a word that you can use as a command, like “crate”. Use this command whenever your dog enters the crate.
3. Shut the crate door, praise your pooch, offer a small reward, then allow the dog to come out. There’s no harm in using a little gentle persuasion to try and get your dog excited about their crate, so feel free to offer treats and rewards while conducting dog crate training.
4. If necessary, encourage your dog into his crate with a treat. If the dog doesn’t approach the treat, pick up your dog and put them inside the crate, then offer the treat to them. Keep in mind that the treat can be anything, from food to a chew toy. Try mixing up the treats a bit during the training.
5. After closing the door, be sure to praise your dog, and reward them with another small treat.
6. Take your dog out of the crate.
7. Keep using this same command followed by a treat after the dog enters the crate. Do this until the dog goes into the crate when commanded without using any treats.
Ways to help your dog get familiar with his crate over time
Command that your dog enters the crate. Give the dog its treat and close the crate door. Next, tell your dog how good he or she is being and let him or her out of the crate. Every time you use this method, extent the amount of time you that your dog stays inside his/her crate, using treats and verbal praise to reinforce good behavior.
The next step in dog crate training is to put your dog inside the crate, offer a little treat, then exit the room. When you initially do this, make it a point to go back in the room every five minutes. Every time you come back to take your dog out of the crate, praise your dog. As you repeat this exercise, increase the time that your dog is alone in its crate to 10 minutes, and then 15 minutes, and so on.
The amount of time that it is possible to leave your dog alone in its create depends on your individual dog. It is not recommended to leave a dog alone in a crate for more than six hours at a time. I also don’t recommend using the crate as a way to punish your dog. If you use the crate that way, your dog will develop a dislike for the crate and it will no longer serve its purpose as a training aid. It is essential that your dog loves its crate
If your dog is scared of its crate, use food to help them get over the fear. Start by putting your dogs meal in front of the crate. Then put their next meal slightly inside the crate. Place each meal further inside the crate until your dog is in the crate and is not scared to enter.