Crate training does take time, however. Using a crate is a learned behavior that you must teach your dog. You should never use crate training as means to punish or scare your dog. Otherwise, the dog will assume the crate is the result of bad behavior, which negates the purpose of crate training. To ensure a positive experience for the dog, start training slowly and move at a pace with which the dog is comfortable.
Choosing a Size that Fits You
Crates come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You may want to buy a crate that will fit your dog when he reaches full size, rather than buy a new crate to fit your dog at each stage of growth. If you have a small dog using a large crate, you may need to section off two spaces in the crate. That way, the dog doesn’t use one section as a bathroom and the other section as a place to lie. To break down a large crate into smaller compartments, simply use a piece of wood or a mesh screen to section off the areas. As your puppy grows, you can adjust or remove the barrier to make more space.
The space inside the crate should be equal to the size of the dog when it lies down with paws extended. The majority of crates have standard widths that allow small dogs to stretch out completely, but require larger dogs to curl into a ball. Your dog should have enough room to stand up in the crate without hitting its head.
Large dog breeds, as a general rule, grow out of crates very quickly, often before they are completely grown. You can buy crates made especially for these breeds online, through associations, or at pet stores.
Where to Begin
Before you begin crate training your dog, you first need to familiarize your dog with the crate. Make sure it fits the size of your dogs body, and put some blankets inside. Put a treat on the bedding inside the crate as the puppy watches. When he goes for the treat, say your puppy’s name and crate once. Let him to retrieve the treat, but do not close the door. Do not try to keep the puppy in the crate, and say nothing when he gets out. Repeat this process, only this time hold the treat a little farther in, so he has to step completely inside. When he approaches the crate, say the dogs name and Crate. Follow by saying Good Dog and your puppy’s name when he is inside the crate.
Tell him to stay and feed him several treats. Do not tell the dog to come, but instead allow him to come out at his leisure. Praise him only when he enters the crate.
As you continue training, the puppy will begin to feel comfortable being in the crate for a couple minutes. Once he seems ready, close the door for only a minute to see how he responds. Close the door for longer periods of time as training advances. Leave the dog be for a few seconds. Increase this time as time goes on.
Make sure you don’t come to the crate when the puppy cries; this will reinforce this behavior. Wait for the dog to be quiet before letting him out.
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Article Added on Wednesday, May 27, 2009
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