The internet is filled with advice on dog training. Everything from teaching a dog many complicated tricks to crate training puppies is covered somewhere online.
When following generic advice, always ensure that it is kind to your dog. Be careful not to believe advice simply because it is written or provided by a dog trainer. Dog training is unregulated in many parts of the world and like any other profession there are good and bad trainers and behaviorists.
There are three main types of crate available. None more suitable than the other for crate training puppies.
- The metal crate is quite sturdy and escape proof, this type of crate however is not overly suitable for travel as it can be cumbersome and awkward. The metal crate also resembles a cage which can be a reason that some people avoid it.
- A canvas crate is lighter and more aesthetically pleasing. These crates come in a variety of colors and close with a zip; the canvas crate is easily portable and lightweight. A determined dog can however chew its way out of a canvas crate. In my experience during everyday use the zip will eventually give way to wear and tear.
- Solid plastic with a metal door is also a common crate type. Darker inside due to its solid design, this crate is a great hidey hole for a dog, this type of crate is often used for transporting a dog on aircraft travel.
A friend informed me recently that he was having trouble getting his puppy used to her crate. She became distressed and panicky when he closed the door, and this was causing problems when she had to be left for short periods. When I gave advice on how to rectify this he told me that advice on crate training puppies that he had read on the internet created in him a sense of urgency. As a result of reading internet advice my friend had created a crate training problem with his puppy.
The best advice that I can give on crate training puppies is to relax. It is much better to take a couple of extra weeks than to stress your dog out when he goes into the crate. Right from the beginning your puppy should only see the crate as his safe and comfortable bed. During the crate training process there should never be confinement or a rush to shut the puppy in.
Tips on crate training puppies
- When you bring your new puppy home already have the crate ready for him.
- Place a comfy bed, some toys, a drink and maybe some food treats into the crate.
- Ensure that initially the crate is somewhere that your puppy would automatically want to lie. A place that is close to your relaxing area.
- Always leave the crate door open initially. It is better to have a relaxed dog that chooses to go into the crate before you close the door.
- Feed your puppy in the crate with the door open. He can associate it with pleasurable experiences.
- You can throw tasty treats through the open door for your puppy to retrieve from the crate.
When your puppy is happily getting into the crate and settling on his own you can begin to close the door. If he shows any distress by the door closing then simply close it and open it again very quickly. You can utilize a stuffed Kong or similar for this. By giving your puppy something to do in the crate that will distract him from the door you are setting him up to pay little attention to the door at all.
If, like my friend you have got into the situation where your dog is worried or anxious about the crate just simply take the pressure off. Move the crate slightly and make it a comfy as possible then forget about it. Relax and don’t worry about getting your puppy into the crate at all. If you pay a lot of attention to the crate then your dog will think that the item is vitally important. This attention will add to the worry of a dog that is already anxious about the crate.
Making the crate comfortable and a positive experience will ensure that your puppy will enjoy the crate as easily as any other cozy bed.