Knowing how to properly crate train your dog is an important part of pet ownership. For some dogs, their kennels are their beds and places to be alone. Other dogs only go into their crates during essential moments, such as when traveling in the car. No matter the reason, ensuring your dog likes crate time makes it easier to usher your pup into the kennel. Below, we’ll guide you through how to get your dog to enjoy their crate to keep training simple.
Introduce the Crate
Whether you have a new puppy or want to crate your adult dog, you must introduce your pooch to crate time before enforcing it. Rather than push your pup into the kennel, set it up and allow them to explore. Your dog may want to sniff around the crate or wander inside. If your furry friend goes inside, praise them and give them a tasty treat to begin encouraging this behavior.
Leave the crate door open even when you don’t need your dog inside. This way, your pooch can go into the kennel at their leisure without feeling trapped inside. You could also encourage them to go into the kennel by tossing their favorite treats or toys inside.
Crate Train Your Dog
Crate training your dog is important, as there may be times when you need to keep your pup in a secure location, even if you’re at home. Begin crate training by putting treats or their favorite toys into the kennel and encouraging your dog to go get them. Reward your pooch each time they enter the crate. Gradually build your way up to closing the door and increasing the time they spend in the kennel.
Pet Parent Tip
To help your dog adjust to their crate, have them enter it each night and when you leave the house. As a bonus, this keeps your dog in a safe and controlled area.
Make It Cozy
Most of us love our bedroom because we have a comfy bed and soft blankets to cozy up. Like us, our furry friends love feeling comfortable, which could explain why dogs enjoy lounging on couches or sneaking into our beds.
You can make your dog’s crate more appealing by including key comfort items, such as a dog bed and toys. Some owners also place a blanket or towel on the kennel to further their dog’s comfort levels. Additionally, laying a blanket over the top of the crate often soothes canines from what they can see around them. If you have an excitable dog that loves to bark at most stimuli, covering the crate can help discourage this.
Carefully Select Toys
While putting a few playthings in the crate is fine, avoid anything that could become a choking hazard, such as plush or rope toys. If your dog ingests parts of either of these, they could experience an intestinal blockage. Instead, place durable toys inside, such as those made with silicone, since even the toughest chewers are less likely to destroy them.
Buy the Right-Sized Kennel
If the kennel is too small, your dog will feel cramped inside and probably won’t want to spend much time in it. On the other hand, if the kennel is too big, a puppy may have accidents inside it. Ideally, your pooch should have enough room to comfortably stand up and turn around in their crate.
Pick the Right Spot
Another aspect of knowing how to get your dog to enjoy their crate is to place it in an appropriate area of the house. If you have a puppy, consider keeping the kennel in or near your room to comfort your fur baby easily. Dogs are pack animals and often feel most comfortable sleeping near their human companions. As your dog grows, they may no longer need to sleep in your room.
Know Crate Safety
Keeping your dog safe in their crate reduces the risk of negative experiences in the kennel. Most importantly, your dog should never wear a collar in the crate, as it could get hooked on something and hurt your dog. Some pups even get their ID tag caught in the slats of their kennel and panic trying to get free. Your pooch could get injured or worse if you’re not around to help them. Moreover, a terrifying event like that can traumatize your dog and leave them fearful of going into the kennel again. Avoid the possibility altogether by removing your dog’s collar before they enter their crate.
Never Make It a Bad Place
When your dog misbehaves, avoid forcing them into their crate. Doing this increases the chance of your pup negatively associating with their kennel. Rather than see it as a safe space they can relax in, it becomes the naughty corner for a bad dog. As a result, your dog may refuse to go into their crate even when it means going on an exciting trip in the car.
Pet Parent Tip
If your pooch misbehaves, verbally correct them with a firm tone. Avoid yelling at your dog, as this can scare or frustrate them; canines often view us raising our voices as barking. Generally, positive reinforcement and rewards work best to train a dog.
Make the Crate Fun
As your dog initially adjusts to their crate, you could place their food and water bowls inside during the day. This is enough for your pooch to enter the kennel and see it as a positive, safe area. While leaving the food and water bowls inside the crate is fine to do long term, you should remove these dishes at bedtime.
Give It Time
All dogs are different, and while some adjust to the crate in no time, others take longer. Remain patient with your pooch, and continue rewarding them each time they willingly enter their kennel. Remember—training takes time, but by being consistent, your dog is more likely to realize that the crate is a good place.
Shop at DogGoods
Buying the perfect kennel for your four-legged friend makes a world of difference in their comfort levels. DogGoods sells foldable dog crates that are perfect for in the house or your car as you go on an adventure with your pup. We carry various sizes and even note which dog breeds best fit into each one to ensure you buy the best crate. Invest in a doggy den that your pooch will love lounging in!