7 Tips for Crate Training Your Dog or Puppy
If a dog only goes into their crate when they are in trouble or for long periods of time, of course they are going to dread going into it. Also, associate their crate with comfort and safety, after all this is their own little room. We keep our dogs blankets in there and also give them a toy that is safe to play with and a treat when they are first learning to go in. If you are having issues, you can even feed your dog his or her meals in it.
*At night, we cover Rio’s crate with a large blanket – this has completely stopped his whining in the early a.m. (likely caused by the sunrise).
2. Reward your dog or puppy for going into his crate.
You can do this with a treat or what we do is prepare a peanut butter-filled Kong for your dog whenever they are going in for a long period of time (3-5 hours). Just something to entertain them. Now, our dogs run to their crates when they see the peanut butter come out!
3. Play music while your dog is crated.
We actually have a dog DVD – filled with animal noises, outdoors, etc. This was free from a rescue that we volunteer at but you can also purchase them online or at book stores for a reasonable price. Otherwise, there is Dog TV now, but I believe it is $5 a month through your cable subscriber. But simply having the TV or music playing is comforting to your dog.
4. Don’t isolate your dog’s crate.
Keep the dog crate in an area where you spend a lot of time! I wouldn’t want to sleep in a dark dungeon that is only entered when it is for punishment or sleeping either. Both of our dog’s crates are in the living room.
5. Whining does not mean your dog gets out.
If you let your dog out of the crate every time he starts to whine, he will learn very quickly that when he whines, he gets rewarded. We were very lucky with both Lola and Rio as neither of them were major whiners, but if they would initially whine when put into their crate at night, they were ignored. We did not yell at them to “shut up”, we simply ignored them. Now if you think they truly have to go to bathroom, take them outside and immediately bring them back in. On that note, we always take our dogs out immediately prior to going to bed, or “nigh-night” as they know. 😉
6. Make sure your crate is big enough.
I can’t stand a crate that is borderline too small for a dog. I like our dogs to have enough room to stand up, turn around and be able to take a few steps around inside.
7. Leave the crate door open all the time.
This allows your dog to go in and out as they please. We find ours napping in there from time to time!
*If the dog is only in their crate for very long periods of time, try putting them in the crate and then returning after a very short period of time (10-15 minutes) then let them out and praise them for their good behavior.
-I am not a professional dog trainer, but these are just several tips that we follow and have worked fabulous for us. –
Do you crate your dog?! We have loved it and it made potty training a breeze. Lola only ever peed in her crate a couple times and Rio has NEVER. I guess I can’t blame him, I wouldn’t like to sleep in that either.
Check out our homemade dog treat recipes!