Using a crate helps provide the puppy/dog with its own private safe place.
For owners it helps with toilet training and provides a safe area for the dogs/puppies to be left alone for short periods of time.
However if the crate has not been introduced correctly to the puppy/dog we will create a place that the dog is frightened of, increase behavioural problems such as barking, loss of toilet control and aggression.
This needs to be big enough for the dog to be able to stand up, sit down and stretch. Remember if you are using it for a puppy you will need to upgrade to the next size as the puppy grows.
Provide an area that is easily accessible for the puppy to go to.
Having the crate where the puppy can have peace and quiet to relax and calm down is useful and teaches the puppy to be isolated away from the family.
You can also have the crate location in the main family areas so your puppy can get used to the comings and goings of a busy family especially if you have children.
What Should Be In The Crate?
A comfy bed, toys and food/water bowl.
Introducing The Crate
If the puppy/dog has never been in a crate before you need to take time for them to understand this is a good place to be.
Start by feeding the dog in the crate and leaving the door open.
Encourage the dog to go in by throwing food treats into the crate when the puppy walks near it.
Once the puppy/dog starts to go into the crate on its own you can start to close the door.
When feeding the dog close the door while it eats. As soon as dog has finished the food the crate door should be opened.
Over a period of days slowly increase the length of time you keep the door closed after the dog has eaten.
Make sure puppy/dog is quiet before opening the crate. Start by opening the door just before puppy finishes the food and slowly extending the time after feeding.
Make sure the dog is quiet before opening the crate so it does not learn that barking or whining is what makes the crate door open.
An Adaptil diffuser placed next to the crate will help the puppy feel more relaxed in the area reducing the chance of barking/whining to occur.
Reluctance On Going Into The Crate
If the owners have been moving the stage of introducing the crate too quickly, give more frequent food treats in the crate without closing the door, to get the dog to want to go into the area.
Give high value treats such as a stuffed Kong to make sure dog is happy to start to play/eat and close the door for a few seconds before opening the crate again. Over a few days slowly start to increase the length of time door is closed.
NEVER pick the puppy up to place into the crate it should always want to go in on its own.
Kat Johnson RVN Dip Instructor is a long standing member of our Nursing Team who runs our puppy and dog training classes. Find out more about our dog training classes.