Crate training is one of the most important things you can teach your dog. The dog should always have a happy association with the crate, that way you can place him in there if you are leaving the house or if you need to do some more house training. The size of the crate is an important factor to take into consideration, it should be big enough to allow the dog to stand up and turn around comfortably.
The sooner you begin crate training, the better.
There are a few things that should NEVER be done while crate training:
1. Never force your dog inside the crate
2. Never use the crate as a punishment tool
3. Don't yell at or be angry at your dog while he is in the crate
The best way to begin crate training is by throwing treats inside and letting your dog enter the crate and exit as he pleases. Do not close the door on him in this initial stage, simply let him eat the treats and praise him for entering the crate. If the dog is staying in the crate after he has eaten all the treats, give him a few more.
After the dog is comfortable entering and exiting the crate, you can then close the door after he enters it, wait 2 or 3 seconds and re-open the door so the dog can exit if he wants to.
Do this over and over, closing the door for varying lengths of time. Always treat and praise your dog for being in the crate.
Three important things to remember:
1.Take it slow, don't rush anything. Allow the dog to get comfortable with the crate.
2. If the dog starts showing signs of stress or is no longer fully entering the crate, take one step back in your training. ie. Leave the door open again and do not close it. Go over that step a few more times before trying to close the door again.
3. The crate should be in an area where the family spends most of their time such as the living room or kitchen, this will make the crate a more pleasurable place to be, it will serve as a den where they can still see the family.
Make sure there are blankets or a dog bed as well as appropriate toys to chew on to keep the dog busy and comfortable.
Check back regularly for more tips!
Don't forget to check out how to dog proof your home for your new dog or puppy!