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Crate training

Crate training 101

Crate training is a controversial issue. The debate is divided by those who think that crate training is cruel and those who feel that it is essential. For the most part, this is more a battle of words than an real issue. A crate in itself is not cruel. It is the way that some unethical pet owners choose to use the crate that can be cruel.

You may think that crate training is cruel because a crate looks like a small prison. Your dog could care less if the crate looks like a prison or a cute doll house. In fact, if you crate train your dog properly he will come think of the crate as his own personal space; a comfortable shelter where he can go when he just wants to be by himself.

Don’t use the crate as a form of punishment. Your dog should not associate his crate with negative feelings. Remember, the fact that dogs learn by association goes both ways. The purpose of a crate is to make your dog feel comfortable about being placed in it. If you force him he will associate the crate with discomfort. If you crate train your dog properly he will be happy to spend time in the crate. This makes things alot easier when your dog has to be confined, for instance during transportation. If you train your dog to love his crate there is nothing cruel about the crate because your dog sees it as his home.

  • You should never confine your dog in his crate for more than a few hours at a time.
  • Don’t use the crate as a form of punishment and never force him to enter.
  • Make your dog feel “at home” in his crate.

How to choose the right crate

The size of a crate is important, it shouldn’t be too small for obvious reasons. That said, don’t buy one that is too large either. If the puppy has sufficient room to both eat and sleep there’s a chance he will soil the crate. Your dog should just be able to stand up and turn around in the crate.

Benefits

  • Convenient when travelling.
  • Teaches your dog where he can and can’t go.

How to crate train your dog

Crate training may take a while. From a few days to a few weeks depending on your dog (and you!). You shouldn’t try and force things, take things slow and give your dog time to learn.

When you start out, you should place the crate somewhere in your home where your dog feels comfortable.

Leave the crate door opened and make sure that it is securely fastened so it won’t suddenly slam shut and frighten your dog. Don’t force him to enter the crate. It is crucial that your dog enters the crate at his own will.

Remember, your dog should associate the crate with something positive. If you force him to enter the crate he will dislike the crate and you are not teaching him to enjoy spending time in it.

Place something inside the crate that is familiar to your dog, such as his favourite toy, blanket, or maybe even a treat. If your dog still hesitates and appear sceptic about the crate don’t worry, and don’t try to force him. Allow him time to become used to it.

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