Got a new member of the family? Give them the right training with these 5 Tips to Consider When Crate Training a Puppy from Animalso blogger Alexandra!
Crate training your puppy has many benefits. The main one is for its use in housebreaking, but it can be useful in many other circumstances, too, such as for travel, to help an anxious dog settle down at night, and for keeping her calm and out of the way when you have company over.
As for the practice of crate training itself, there are 5 important things I want to share with you to help you through the process. Here they are!
1. Get the right crate
Before anything else, it is important that you get the right size crate for your dog. It should not be so small that she is unable to easily turn around or lie down with her legs stretched out, nor so large so that she could use one corner as a toilet.
The latter scenario will just go against all your best efforts to housebreak her, which we certainly don’t want, am I right?
To avoid buying several crates, I recommend getting a wire crate that will fit her adult size and using a divider. This way, you can adjust the available space inside as she grows.
2. Cr(e)ate… an inviting environment
Secondly, you should think about what to put in the dog crate, as well as where to put it, to ensure that the crate is an inviting space for her to spend time in.
Comfortable, durable bedding
As your puppy is too small yet, he can chew and potentially swallow stuff like towels or sheets, so getting her a cozy but durable bedding is the best option at this stage.
Having some toys to keep her occupied is also essential. These toys must also be tough enough not to be chewed into pieces. We recommend chew proof toys such as Kongs, which can also be stuffed with tasty treats such as peanut butter. That’ll keep her mouth and her mind busy!
Place the crate in a busy area of the home
Last, but certainly not least, put the crate in a busy area of your home such as living room to make her feel included. If she is somewhere more out of the way, she will likely feel isolated, and her crate will certainly not feel like a welcoming space.
3. Introduce her slowly - and always be present!
When you’re ready to introduce her to her crate, do so slowly and do not force her. Start by sitting beside the crate with her and speaking to her reassuringly. Allow her to sniff and explore the area. I advise having treats to hand and putting them around the crate to initiate a positive association with it.
If you think she is relaxed enough, you can try getting her to enter the crate. Place some treats inside the crate and when she enters to retrieve it, give her lots of praise and affection.
You must keep the crate door open at this stage - shutting her in will only make her afraid and anxious, and that will get off to a bad start. You should also be with her at all times when she is still familiarizing herself with the crate.