INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO THE CRATE: STEP BY STEP
CRATE TRAINING: REFUGE AND REASSURANCE
A crate can be a refuge for your dog—a safe space where they can rest or spend some time alone. On the practical side, it’s also portable, so your dog can feel at home even when you’re travelling or in a strange place. In short, a cage can play an important role in helping you and your dog live in harmony. To introduce the crate into your dog’s day-to-day, follow the advice of your Globalvet veterinary team.
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THE DOG CRATE: LEARN TO LIVE BETTER TOGETHER
The crate could well become an essential item for you and your dog. It can help keep things harmonious and be useful in managing certain situations like:
- Nighttime and sleeping: Your dog gets their own bed and you get to sleep soundly
- House training: Puppies don’t eliminate where they sleep
- Travelling and going to new places: The crate is a safe, familiar place where they can retreat from the unknown
- In stressful times (like when you have visitors): Your dog has a place to be alone
- If your dog is out of control: You can guide them to their cage for a timeout and let them calm down
To ensure your dog sees the crate as a place of refuge and relaxation instead of punishment or prison, you have to introduce it as such. With proper training, they will come to see their crate as a source of comfort and learn to use it even when you’re not home.
CRATING YOUR DOG: OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
CHOOSE THE RIGHT CRATE
Your dog’s crate has to be big enough for them to stand up, sit down, and lie on one side. Your dog should be comfortable and able to change positions as needed.
PUT IT IN THE RIGHT PLACE
To ease your dog into it, place the crate in an active area of your home, like the living room or kitchen. That way your pup can still be close to you even if they need a little quiet time. Once they’re used to the crate, you can move it to a location that works for everyone!
HELP YOUR DOG GET ACCUSTOMED TO THE CRATE
Helping your dog get used to the crate doesn’t have to be stressful, and there’s no need to use force. Simply follow these steps:
- Make the crate inviting and cozy by adding soft cushions or blankets.
- Entice your pooch into the crate with treats or a favourite toy. Never force them.
- Allow them to go in and out a few times.
- Once they’re comfortable inside, close the door for a second or two.
- Slip some treats through the bars.
- Open the door.
- Repeat these steps multiple times a day for a few days.
- Gradually extend the amount of time the door is closed.
- Alternate crate training sessions with play sessions.
Make a point of building positive associations with the crate every day by serving your dog’s meals in it or giving them chew bones or toys for entertainment.
Tip: Always have your dog sit before letting them out of the crate.
NIGHTTIME IS CRATE TIME
Unless they’re letting you know they need to go, you should ignore your dog completely if they vocalize at night. To help them get used to your absence:
- Place the crate in your room, near your bed.
- Keep moving it a little farther away every couple of days.
- Do this until the crate is where you want it.
LEAVING THE HOUSE?
Film your dog while you’re gone. That way you can tell if puppy is staying calm in their cage.
You may also want to leave them a safe, stimulating toy to pass the time. Something like a Kong® toy stuffed with food would do the trick.
KEEP UP THE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Once your dog is used to the crate, keep rewarding them from time to time so they maintain a positive association with it. Most importantly, never punish your dog before sending them to their crate.
If your dog barks while they’re in their crate, don’t open the door. Otherwise you’ll teach them that they can get out if they make enough of a ruckus.
If your dog shows signs of anxiety while in their crate, try first to confine them to a room or a fenced-off area. If you’re not seeing any improvement, contact your Globalvet team.