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Before we discuss how to crate train your dog, we should talk about why you should crate train your dog. First, dogs usually take naturally to crates because dogs are den animals and find them comforting. When properly acclimated to a crate, even fearful dogs can be greatly helped by the proper use of a crate. So, crates are helpful to your dog's state of mind and can help those dogs that might suffer from separation anxiety. When you are away from home, crates help to protect your home from elimination accidents and damage your dog may cause due to separation anxiety. You might find your dog actually enjoys being in the crate, even when not commanded to do so. Please be aware that your dog should not have a collar on when allowed in the crate, even if you are home.
Selecting the correct crate size is a very important part of crate training. Keeping in mind that dogs are den animals, selecting a crate that is too big, negates the physiological benefits a crate can provide. For your puppy, select a crate that is properly sized for the adult size of your dog. For puppies, you should use dividers to reduce the apparent size of the crate so the crate does not seem too big for your puppy. When it comes to crate size, think "cozy". There are different styles of crates too that should be considered when selecting a crate. If your dog likes to sleep in the dark a more enclosed crate such as kennel style or airline crates might work best. For many dogs, a wire crate works best. The crate should be sturdy and secure. We recommend a crate that has a solid floor or tray to protect your flooring under the crate. It may be best to not provide a full doggy bed in the crate. Sometimes dogs just tear up the bedding and many dogs prefer a solid surface. People often use a towel over the top of the crate to help with the coziness factor.
Please always remove your dog's collar before allowing your dog to go into the crate. Any type of collar can become a hazard to your dog and can cause injury if it gets caught on the crates hardware. This could cause your dog to panic and result in injury. Crate training often requires a lot of patience and observation. We have found different approaches are best depending on the dog. It is best to make sure the time in the crate does not seem to be a punishment to your dog. For instance, you don't want to be playing with your dog and then quickly place your dog in the crate. Calmness is key here. Only perform crate training when your dog has this calm state of mind. There is several techniques used with much repetition to get your dog use to being in the crate and connecting the ideas of being in the crate as a good thing. Please schedule a free consultation with us to help with any of your dog training needs.