Crate training is important because it allows you to teach your dog good habits and curb all sorts of destructive behavior, from digging to chewing to house soiling. It also satisfies a natural instinct for your dog—one inherited from the wolf—to hide out in a den. Your dog should be able to lie comfortably on his side, stand, sit, or turn without difficulty at full growth in his crate.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure that crate training is successful:
General steps for crate training (please consult the links to the right for more detailed instructions):
- Training should begin slowly and proceed in small steps.
- Place the crate in a room where the dog will feel part of the family.
- Place a sheet or bedding in the crate.
- Use the command “kennel” when directing your pup into the crate.
Important things to remember when training:
- Step 1: Begin by letting your pup explore the crate on her own; hide treats and toys inside.
- Step 2: Feed your pup in the crate; close the door while she's eating, then re-open when she's done.
- Step 3: Toss a treat inside the crate; close the door after she enters; then hang out with her for 5-10 minutes. Then quietly leave the room for short periods of time. When she can handle 30 minutes in the crate without anxiety, she's ready for an overnight stay.
- Step 4: Place the crate next to your bed and let her sleep there overnight. You may need to let a puppy out in the middle of the night for potty time. If your pup whines but does not need to go potty, she just wants attention. Return her to the crate and do not give her further attention.
- Do not use the crate as punishment—you want your pup to associate the crate with positive feelings.
- Do not to allow children in the crate.
- Do not keep a puppy in the crate for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time.
- Do not keep an adult dog in the crate for more than 9 hours at a time.