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Crate training your dog

Training Your Dog to Use a Dog Crate
Dog crate training can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks depending on your dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while crate training.

1. The crate should always be associated with something pleasant.
2. Training should take place in a series of small steps – don’t go too fast.

Put the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the kitchen or family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is securely fastened opened so it won’t hit your dog and frighten him.

To encourage your dog to enter the crate, drop some small food treats near it, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, that’s okay – don’t force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isn’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.

Training a puppy
If you accustom a puppy from the very start to using a crate, he will quickly come to accept it as normal, and you will find your job of housebreaking and training him much easier. Simply take him outside after each nap or meal. Don’t play with him until he has done his business. If he hasn’t relieved himself in about 10 minutes, take him back inside and put him in the crate. Repeat the routine in 10-15 minutes. When he goes, reward him with treats. Placing a treat inside the crate works especially well to let him know both that he’s been a good dog, and that the crate is a good place to go. Don’t confine him in the crate for too long at the beginning, a couple of hours at most. Make sure he gets enough playtime and exercise, and he will eventually come to not only accept, but prefer his crate as a place to sleep and relax.

Training an older dog. You’ve heard the saying, "You can’t teach an old dog new tricks." But actually, older dogs can often learn faster than puppies. When introducing a crate to an older dog, first let him smell and investigate it with the door open. Put his food and/or some treats inside. Make it a comfortable (though easy care) place to be and, as with a puppy, keep confinement periods short in the beginning. Before long, your older dog
will begin to prefer his crate as a favorite place to hang out.


Tips:
– If you use a specific command, such as "kennel or kennel up" from the start whenever putting your dog in his crate, eventually he’ll come to associate it with the word, and all you’ll have to do is say the word and your dog will go into his crate.
– To get your dog accustomed to staying in the crate, give him meals or treats in the crate with the door open. This will create a pleasant association with the crate.
– Put some washable bedding and a toy in the crate for comfort. It’s a good idea to rotate toys on a regular basis so your dog doesn’t become bored.
– When using the crate for discipline or to interrupt unacceptable behavior patterns, limit the incarceration to 10-15 minutes, and whatever you do, don’t make putting him into the crate an unpleasant experience, or you will teach him to dislike it!
– If your dog has an accident and soils the crate, don’t scold. It’s probably either because he’s sick or you have left him alone too long. Try to shorten the period of time he’s left in the crate.

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