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Crate Training

Using a crate to train your dog is the most effective method of training. If gives your dog a comfortable place that he can call his own which you can use as a place of rest and reward. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your dog curl up in his crate and fall sound asleep after a good training session or at the end of a long, energetic day. But before you jump right in, you must first find out where the best place to put your crate is.

A selection of dog breeds each with different coat types
A selection of wonderful dog breeds enjoying each others company

The Best Place To Put Your Dog Crate

Place your new dog crate in an area of the house that you have chosen as being your puppy’s resting area. Make sure you choose a place where he can still feel a part of the family and not like he’s in the doggy slammer. Try to avoid putting the crate in a place that gets a lot of foot traffic. The kitchen is usually the best choice for most people because it's where people tend to gather in the house.

Avoid placing the crate in an isolated area of your house, the worst thing you can do is make your new puppy feel alienated or separated from his family.

Introducing Your Dog To A Dog Crate

Your dog crate is a place of rest and reward. Inside, reward your dog or puppy with treats or his favourite chew toy. You can even hide little treats in his bedding for him to sniff out and find as a nice surprise. Doing this will make him associate his crate as an enjoyable place where he receives rewards. This will also encourage him to use the crate on his own, without you having to ask him.

Some dogs feel more comfortable with a blanket draped over their crate to create a doggy cave. This is because it makes the crate feel more like your dog’s den. If this doesn’t help, remove the blanket and take a slower approach to the way you introduce the crate. For some dogs it may take some time, but they will thank you later.

What Is A Dog Crate For?

It's very common for people to assume that crate training is cruel and that dogs don’t like small spaces, but it is proven that dogs love a calm, safe and rewarding place that they can rest and call their own. A dog crate offers a place to train as well as a place to sleep at night. It offers security from loud noises like fireworks and thunder, and a place to snooze after a long and tiring walk.

What A Dog Crate Should Not Be Used For

If crate training is not done correctly, your dog can feel trapped and can get frustrated very quickly. This is when destructive behaviour can develop, which can cause your dog harm. A dog crate must never be used as a place of punishment, it should only be used as a place to rest and reward, and at first you must never make your dog go into his crate if he doesn't want to.

Furthermore, a dog crate must never be used to hold your dog whilst you are at work all day. An ideal alternative solution is if you can come home during your lunch break to give your puppy an hour of entertainment and exercise, but if not, allow your dog to relax with some interactive toys and ask a family member, friend or dog walker to let him out for an hour. To help prevent boredom and destructive behaviour it is always best to exercise your dog before you go to work. You should never leave your dog shut up in his crate when he is full of energy, always tire him out and then leave him to rest for a maximum of 3-4 hours.

Puppies under the age of six months shouldn't be left in a dog crate for more than three hours at a time. At this age they can be a lot like a toddler and may need to pee at a moments notice. Taking them outside to relieve themselves often will help prevent any accidents; especially after they have been fed or had a drink. Typically, puppies need to go to the toilet between 10 - 30 minutes after they have finished eating. Puppies also need lots of socialising to help them feel comfortable, especially over the first few weeks after they have arrived in their new home. Leaving their mother can be quite distressing, so it is best if you can stay at home all day.

Dog Crates For The Car

It is really reassuring to have your dog safely inside their crate when you have them in the car. When taking your dog on an adventure in the car there is a lot of room for disaster if they are loose in the boot or footwell. However dog crates provide a comfortable, calm and secure environment for traveling in the car so you needn’t worry.

A Swiss White Shepherd Dog safely traveling in a dog crate
A Swiss White Shepherd Dog safely traveling in a dog crate

It is best to use a dog crate for your car after you have crate trained your dog at home so that he isn’t distressed or confused when he is first put in his crate.

Important - It can be a good idea to remove your dog’s collar before you invite him into the car crate because there is a small chance that it could get caught which may cause him to choke.

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