Many people feel like crate training their dog is cruel. Or they go through a couple of sleepless nights from their dog whining in its cage and give up. Let’s address why crate training is beneficial to both you and your dog, and worth sticking through those (for some) first heart-wrenching weeks.
The obvious first reason is potty training. It helps to control their bowels and get a sense of timing.
The less obvious reason is, puppies can be fearless and some anxieties don’t develop until later on in their adult lives. They feel comfortable in a den, so getting them used to a crate as puppies can help their adult anxieties with thunderstorms, fireworks or even just being home alone.
Dogs are social creatures that depend on us, they are loyal to their families and want to spend time with them. We all have lives and sometimes the dog can be overexcited or in the way if you have guests over. Utilizing the kennel allows them to be a part of the action without having to shut them off into a different room or outside where they might have the tendency to bark or dig because they are bored and frustrated.
At some point, your dog will be in a kennel setting. Whether transporting to the vet, groomers or if you live in Florida, hurricane season. So getting them used to the crate will lessen the stress on both you and the dog when you are required to use one later.
Crate Training Tips:
#1 ALWAYS use positivity and rewards. Use treats, toys, meals and positive tones when coaxing your dog into the crate.
#2 Time spent in the crate should be increased incrementally. Your dog will negatively associate the crate if too much time is spent in it during the day and at night.
#3 If your puppy is whining while you’re practicing on lengths of stay in the crate while you’re at home, do not let them out! They are creatures of habit and routine, which is why the crate training works so well. They will quickly figure out that the way to get out of the crate is to whine each time they are put into it.
#4 It can be hard to tell if your dog is whining to go out to the bathroom in the middle of the night or just wants to be out of the crate. If after a couple of minutes the dog is still whining, take them outside to do their business but do not allow for any playtime. Put them straight back to bed!
#5 Most puppies can get the fundamentals of crate training down in the first couple of weeks. But if they don’t, don’t give up or get frustrated! Ultimately, you chose to bring home a pet companion and you owe it to them and to yourself to raise it to be a well-mannered, well-loved dog; and functional discipline is at the core!