Introducing a Puppy or Adult Dog to a Crate

If trained properly, dogs do not see crates as ‘cages’, more as their bed, a safe place where they can go for some peace and quiet.

Crate training is useful to owners as it prevents chewing, discourages toileting (most dogs will not soil their bed) and is a useful way to transport dogs during travelling. Even if you don’t plan to crate your dog, they will be in a ‘cage’ if they spend time at the vets so it’s very useful to train them to be happy in this environment.

Lady is happy in her crate
Lady is happy in her crate. A crate can be useful to owners as it can help prevent chewing, discourage toileting (most dogs will not soil their bed) and is a safer way to transport dogs when travelling

Your dog’s crate should be placed somewhere he likes to be. For some dogs this will be a quiet corner, for others it will be in the family room where he can see what is going on. Don’t put the crate in a busy corridor as this will not teach the dog to settle.

Crates should be large enough for the dog to comfortably stand up and turn around. Do not use the crate as punishment, it should be a nice place for the dog to be.

Introducing the crate: Encourage your dog into the crate with treats, toys and their dinner. Don’t close the door for the first few days. When he is happily going in, encourage him in when he will be tired (after play / exercise etc) and close the door for a few seconds. Gradually build up the time the door is shut. If your dogs cries or whines, wait until he is quiet for a short while before letting him out, otherwise you will be reinforcing the crying.

Never leave your dog in a crate for more than 4 hours (or for longer than they can hold themselves without going to the bathroom). If they must be left for longer, leave them in a larger area with a bed at one end and an area they are allowed to toilet (a tray with some garden turf may be suitable) at the other.

For videos about using crates and over 500 other topics, visit www.naturallyhappydogs.com. Membership is usually only £4.95 ($7) per month but you can get a whole month for free by using the voucher code PPG.

About Sally Marchant

Sally Marchant is a dog trainer and behaviourist who runs www.naturallyhappydogs.com to bring hours of expert video information to dog owners worldwide and www.dog-and-bone.co.uk which runs training and behaviour seminars for dog professionals.

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