Training a puppy can be a daunting and confusing experience. Crate training is one of the few effective training tools and, contrary to what many may think, it can act as a safe haven for your dog.
Much like a dog would live in the wild, a puppy begins life in a cave. Caves serve as a safe and warm home, keeping them dry and safe from danger. A convenient and properly inserted box can mimic the role of a cave and provide a sense of well-being, security and primal familiarity.
“Crate use is safe, humane, and effective, and in many cases it can help keep a dog in their home,” the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) told Newsweek. “Crates are valuable tools for home training and environmental management so dogs don’t develop problem behaviors such as destructive chewing and counter-surfing.”
A dog crate is not a means of punishment and, in combination with a variety of other effective training methods, ensures that your dog feels comfortable at home, on the go or when traveling.
The three-month-old Corgi triplets Penny, Tuppence and Sixpence are sitting together in a box they have made themselves.
Why train a puppy in a crate?
A crate can provide a safe place for your pet when they are feeling tired, stressed, or anxious.
A crate can also allow you to safely transport your dog to a place where he is comfortable and allows you to easily lock your dog in when needed without undue stress.
It’s also a useful toilet training technique as dogs view their crate as their den and tend not to urinate or empty in it.
“Crates are a valuable house-training tool for puppies because dogs like to be clean and don’t mess up the place where they sleep,” said Dr. Mary Burch, animal behavior expert and family dog director for the American Kennel Club, told Newsweek.
Crates can provide additional safe short-term storage while traveling or in the car and “help minimize stress in emergency situations, when entering a kennel or during a night at the veterinary clinic,” added the APDT. When properly introduced, a crate becomes a safe place for many dogs to go to for themselves.
“Dogs naturally like small, enclosed spaces, especially when they feel a little unsafe. By providing your dog with an area where they can” escape “and know they won’t be disturbed, they can easy to visit if you need a little break or time out, “notes the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
Dogs should be gradually introduced to the crate, and owners should ensure it is an enjoyable experience, recommends the APDT.
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What do I need to raise a puppy in a crate?
Crates can be made from plastic, wire, or foldable fabric. A crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, stretch, and lie down, advises the RSPCA. If you have a puppy, make sure you get a crate large enough for their adult size, or upgrade to a larger crate when they are fully grown.
How to start crate training
Place the box in a central part of the house, for example in the living room. Make the crate welcoming and comfortable for your dog by putting soft bedding inside, and encourage your dog by putting treats or his favorite toys around and then inside the crate.
Usually dogs go and examine. Never force your dog into the crate; It may take a few minutes to days for your dog to willingly go all the way in.
“Introduce your puppy positively to the crate,” suggests Burch. “Put a treat in the box and let the puppy go in for a short while with the door open.
“Over time, you lengthen the time, give a treat at the end and close the door. When the puppy in the crate is comfortable with your presence, walk away and finally leave the room. “
A puppy sits in a plastic sieve in Shanghai.
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You can also try giving your dog their regular meals in the crate by placing their bowl in the crate and encouraging them to enter.
Close the crate door when your dog is more comfortable eating inside. Start by closing the door while your dog is eating his meal, but be sure to open it before the dog finishes the meal. As you progress, gradually leave the door closed for a few minutes. The aim is for your dog to stand happily in the crate after a meal and to gradually increase the amount of time he can stay in the crate each time.
If your dog can stay in his crate for about 10-15 minutes after eating, you can use a command like “crate” or “bed” to keep him in the crate for an extended period of time, suggests Steven Lindsay and the Applied Behavior Guide Training dogs.
With regards to toilet training, Burch recommends making crate training a positive experience. “If the puppy is urinating or having a bowel movement outside, give him a treat,” she advises.
Crate training is considered a very effective training tool for adult dogs and puppies alike.
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How long does it take to raise a puppy in a crate?
The duration of the box training varies from dog to dog and can depend on the dog’s age, temperament and previous experience.
“Crate training can be done quickly if the owner is systematic and consistent,” Burch told Newsweek. “Systematically, it means starting with very short periods of time and gradually increasing the time the puppy is in the box.”
Most puppies can be crate-trained within a week to a month, depending on the puppy’s age, the animal behavior expert advised.
Start with short sessions and gradually increase the amount of time you leave the dog in the crate.
Once your dog is happy to spend time with you in their crate, you can introduce them to the crate at night.
Make sure your dog has toys or treat-giving toys with him to get him into the routine first. Keep the crate in a familiar, central area so the dog is comfortable and at ease.
The goal is to make the box a fun and enjoyable place and should only be associated with something pleasant.
Vary the amount of time your dog spends in their crate to prevent your dog from expecting to be let out at any given time and reduce issues such as whining or scratching the crate door.
Once you have taught your dog to accept the crate, you can leave the crate open in your house for your dog to use himself.
Truffle, the two month old English Springer Spaniel puppy, plays in his new home in Sydney, Australia.
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What to look for when boxing your puppy
Don’t leave a dog in a crate all day, while you are at work and when you go to bed. Using a crate as a containment tool for long periods of time is not recommended by the APDT.
Do not use the crate as a punishment and avoid putting a dog in the crate with anxiety, separation anxiety, or claustrophobia as this can make stress worse.
Adult dogs should not be left in a crate for more than 3-4 hours and puppies for no longer than 1-2 hours, the RSPCA notes.
Burch also advises new puppy owners to remember that very young puppies do not yet have the ability to control their bladder like older puppies and older dogs do.
“The puppy should be well trained and have the opportunity to go outside for a toilet break before putting it in the crate,” she suggests.
Julie Tottman, who has been rescuing and training animals for movies for more than two decades, with credits such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and 101 Dalmatians, recommends approaching all trainings with patience.
“Patience is the most important thing – you have to be patient. Don’t be frustrated, be consistent. You can’t do a training session and then do another one month later and expect the animal to remember … It’s important to do it regularly. And don’t expect too much, “Tottman told Newsweek.
Burch agreed, insisting that crate training planning is very important. “You should plan (and stick to!) A schedule,” she said.
At the White House, First Lady Barbara Bush and her granddaughter Marshall Lloyd Bush look at Bush’s dog Millie and her litter of pups in a large wooden crate area for the new family in Washington DC, March 18, 1989.
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