Crate Training 101
Crate Training is a fairly debated topic when it comes to dog training and like many things regarding training and settling our dogs it can be done well and it can be done not so well!
First and foremost, we don’t want our crate to be a cage to our pups. As soon as it becomes this, it becomes stressful and stops being a tool to help your dog relax or escape.
We ideally want our dogs to see crates as a den. Somewhere to go to when they’re tired, maybe a little stressed and need a break or somewhere to enjoy a chew/Kong safely. This is why I always recommend my new puppy owners to not close the door on the crate until they’re absolutely positive they’re puppy LOVES spending time in their den – why risk ruining all that hard work?
So how do we make our pups love their crate?
As is often with training food is our great motivating tool and is definitely key with your crates. Regularly sprinkling tasty morsels inside your pups crate when they’re not looking, feeding meals, tying Kongs and chews inside will give them a damn good reason to spend some real positive sessions of time in there. Again, all by their own choice with the option to leave should they want to.
Extra little additions to your pups crate are a super comfy bed, covering it to make it more den like (think the dens/forts you used to make as a child – or was that just me?) and keeping the crate in spaces nearby the family.
Location of your crate can be important and certainly if you’re bringing your pup home the first few weeks of leaving Mum and The Litter are a big deal for your Puppy. I love to see Pups in a crate beside owners beds – and this is an opportune time to close that door as you’re close at hand to nip puppy out for a wee in the night, or provide reassurance if necessary. Distance and independence in your pups crate can be built gradually over time. It’s unfair of us to expect this baby animal to deal with this huge change in their life and just get over it. The odds are stacked against us if we leave it to chance, and I’m not much of a gambler!
Puppy pens around your crate can provide that extra bit of safety when you might need to leave your puppy unattended for a short while without poisoning any of that hard work you’ve done on crate training.
Remember, your crate is a tool to be used carefully and positively – it’s for our pups to relax in not feel caged by.
If you’d like to chat more about this subject dont hesitate to get in touch!