Ryda’s Blog - How to Crate Train
You might have read my previous blog on the benefits of crate training (if not you can read it here). Well, Zig tells me that a lot of people have been asking for tips on how to crate train. Crate training should be easy as it’s about ensuring your dog has somewhere of their own to go to that’s safe and their own. How do you do this?
- Set the crate up: make sure it is the right size for your dog. They need to feel comfortable and be able to stretch and move in it.
- Make it comfortable: put in something soft and cosy and add their favourite blanket or toy to it to make it feel like home.
- Make sure they have water in available to them in the crate
- Don’t put your dog in the crate, let them explore, sniff and adjust to its presence first.
- If they don’t go in on their own offer them a favourite treat by placing it in the crate and letting them go get it.
- Don’t shut the door as soon as they are in their you want them to feel safe about going in there. Maybe asking them to stay in there while they eat the treat or sit with them to reassure them that it is ok in there.
- As your dog adjusts to the crate remember it should be the place where all high value things happen for example all food should be provided in the crate, all praise and all affection should be offered while they are inside so they learn to associate it with positive reinforcement.
- Your dog can learn that all treats are to be eaten in the crate or left in the crate if they don’t want them. This will encourage them to stay in the crate if they want the chew.
- Remember to praise your dog if they go in by themselves!
- Once they are used to it you can start to shut the doors remembering to reward them as this happens.
- In the beginning start with short periods of time being locked in the crate. Again, you don’t want them to think they are in prison (yes that’s what most humans think of it as but really its our safe place). As they adjust to it you can lengthen the time they spend in there.
- Using an Adaptil spray or emergency essence drops can help keep them calm.
- Start to teach them a word or phrase such as “in your crate” to associate going in the crate so they learn to go in when asked, remember to reward them for doing this.
- Once they are happy and relaxed about going in the crate you can slowly start to pull back on the praise, treats and rewards.
Before long the crate will feel like their home and safe place! I love my crate and I know nothing bad will happen to me in there. Remember if you are having difficulty with any training Zig is happy to help!