There are many reasons you might want to crate train your new puppy. A crate can be invaluable while you are potty-training or teaching your dog the rules of the house, itвs a great way to transport your four-legged friend, and it can serve as a safe place for your pup to escape to once he comes to accept it as his space. Unfortunately, even though dogs are den animals and they like having an area thatвs all theirs, most wonвt automatically take to crates в and your pup can even come to fear them if you donвt handle crate training in the right way. The good thing is that puppies donвt have any preconceived notions about anything. As long as you follow the below tips, your new canine family member should come to love her crate and may even start going into it on her own when she want to rest or relax. Introduce it casually The worst way you can introduce your puppy to the idea of a crate is to bring it home and lock him inside it immediately. People donвt like being trapped against their will, and neither do dogs. Instead, you should initially treat the crate like itвs just another piece of furniture в but one that he can enjoy. To this end, place it in a part of the house that he frequents, add a blanket and a toy or two, and keep the door open.
Then back off and give him a chance to explore it. Some dogs will immediately start sniffing around and going into the crate, which is a great sign. If your puppy isnвt quite so bold, encourage him to check it out by placing favorite foods and toys near and inside the crate. The ultimate goal is to get him comfortable with going inside, and this is something that could take days. Be patient with the process. Use it for meal time After sheвs willing to enter the crate, your next goal is to get her comfortable with staying inside for extended lengths of time. One of the best ways to do this (and create a positive association with the crate) is to start putting her food in the crate. If possible, you want to place the food at the back of the crate so that your dog goes all the way in. Some dogs may not be willing to do this, though, so you can start with the food just inside the crate and slowly move it back with successive meals. Close the crate As soon as your dog is eating his meals while standing all the way inside the crate, itвs time to close the door. After heвs done eating that first time, open the door immediately. Youвll leave him in longer and longer with each meal, adding just a few minutes every time. Itвs possible that your dog may whine.
If this happens, open the crate immediately and donвt leave him in as long next time. However, if he whines again, wait until he stops before letting him out or you will teach him that whining equals open door. Extend crate time Once your dog is hanging out in her closed crate without signs of stress, itвs time to lengthen her stay. Use a favorite toy or treat to encourage her to enter the crate, then close it. Hang out by the crate for several minutes, then go into a different room for a few minutes so she gets used to the idea of staying in the crate alone. When you return, donвt open the crate immediately. Instead, sit with her again for a few more minutes and then open the door. Keep increasing the time as you do this until your dog is able to stay in the locked crate for half an hour without your presence. When sheвs able to do this, sheвs ready for you to leave her for short periods and possibly even sleep in the closed crate overnight. Make sure you keep the crate relatively nearby for overnight stays though. Puppies usually need to go to the bathroom overnight and youвll want to be able to let her out. Leaving and returning The key here is to make crating seem completely normal and avoid excitement. Encourage him to get into the crate and praise him when he does so, but keep it brief.
When you come home, stay low-key and ignore any excited behavior that he shows. Are you crate training your puppy? Share your experiences in the comments.
Without proper conditioning, dogs may vocalize their distress and make efforts to escape the crates. Crating suppresses the dog\’s behavior, removes the dog\’s freedom of movement and is a (removal of reward) under. Dogs who do not react well to negative punishment may find crating highly stressful. Long term or excessive crate confinement \”may lead to emotional and behavioral deterioration over time. \” To the extent that crating reduces the amount of exposure to different environmental and social situations, it can make dogs more reactive (fearful or aggressive) or intolerant of novel situations. Crating \”may significantly exacerbate the distress and emotional reactivity associated with separation distress\”. Behavioral problems that compels owners to crate train in the first place, may be exacerbated by the negative effects of crating. A dog may form a strong attachment to the crate eventually, feeling comfort and safety, after the initial feeling of distress and vulnerability. This behavioral effect has been compared to. Dogs that are trained to sleep in a crate, when allowed to sleep in a bedroom, can show signs consistent with that of separation distress, suggesting that dogs may love their crate \”perhaps in some cases more than they love the owner. \” This bond with the crate may interfere with the human-animal bond and exacerbate bond-related behavior problems such as separation distress and owner-directed aggression.
Steven Lindsay in Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training states that while \”the role of crate confinement in the etiology of behavior problems has not been scientifically established [. ] empirical impressions and logic dictate that it probably plays an important role in the development or exacerbation of many adjustment problems. \” He argues that \”the widespread practice of routinely caging a dog at night and then again during the day for periods totaling 16 to 18 hours (or more) is an extremely problematic practice that should not be condoned or encouraged, because it probably underlies the development of many adjustment problems, including aggression. \” The purpose of crate training, he says, \”should be to get the dog out of the crate as soon as possible, and to use the crate as little as possible in the service of training and space-management objectives. \”