Why is crate training beneficial? A crate is a safe and comfortable place for your dog to relax. It can make house-training easier and gives you a safe place for your dog when they are stressed, need a break from guests, and more. Here are a few tips to make crate-training your dog easy and enjoyable!
- Exercise your dog before starting crate time! A tired dog will be able to relax and sleep well. Keep in mind, running around the yard might not be enough to truly tire them out. Try playing with a Frisbee play or a ball, tug-of-war, etc.
- Mental exercise is just as important (if not more important) as physical exercise. It’s the dog equivalent to us putting in a long workday or taking a stressful test. When your dog is in their crate (or before they go into it), make sure they have a food puzzle, stuffed Kong, or something similar, to keep them busy and tire them out.
- Start your crate-training by feeding your dog their meals in the crate. This helps your dog associate the crate with good things! In the beginning, keep the crate door open, but once they are comfortable, you can close the door while they are eating.
- Build on that association by putting high value treats (such as deer antlers, bully sticks, etc.) in the crate and shutting the door. Wait for your dog to paw at the door to get in for the treat – then let them in to enjoy their teat!
- Make the crate as comfortable as possible: put a cover or blanket over top, add crate pad, blanket, etc.
- Leave on the radio or TV. It can help soothe anxiety, especially classical music.
- Don’t use the crate exclusively when you leave the house. This will cause your dog to associate the crate with stress. Make sure the crate is in a ‘social area’ like your living room, etc, where your dog can spend time in their crate around their family.