One common mistake that dog owners make is to simply place their dog in the crate and leave. Instead of creating a well-adjusted animal that enjoys the kennel, this practice results in a dog that fears being left alone. Here, the proper way to crate train your dog will be discussed.
As with all types of dog training, you must start slowly. On the first day of crate training, simply call your dog to the crate and reward him or her for being near the new and potentially scary object. This initial step will help your dog make positive associations with the kennel.
Toss Toys and Treats into the Crate
Once your dog has shown that he or she is comfortable standing near the kennel, next entice your dog to go inside. With the door of the crate open, toss a couple of toys or treats into the crate. Even if your dog only puts one paw into the kennel, reward your pet. As your dog becomes increasingly comfortable, place toys or treats as far into the kennel as possible for your pet to retrieve.
Graduate to Crated Meal Time
The next step in the crate training process is to give your dog his or her meals inside the crate. In the beginning, leave the door open to the crate while your dog eats. After a couple of days like this, close the door to the crate during meal time. Gradually increase the amount of time you leave the door closed, in 5-minute increments.
Introduce a Command
Once your dog understands that going into the crate is rewarding, introduce a command when you place treats, toys, or meals inside the crate. The most common command is “crate” or “kennel.” Always reward your dog for going straight to the kennel to continue making positive associations.
Gradually Increase Time in Crate
Once your dog is comfortable going to the crate, do not undo your hard work by leaving your pet crated for an extreme amount of time. The first time you leave your dog home alone in the crate, make your absence a short one.