Crate Training Your Dog

large black dog laying in dog crate

Dog crates are benefical for housetraining your dog, for your dog's safety, and for your dog's travel needs. Many people might believe that crate training your dog is hard, but it can be a relatively easy process.

Selecting a Crate

You can typically find a good selection of quality dog crates at places such as Swell Pets. Dog crates come in different types and sizes, so no matter what size or breed of dog you have you'll have no trouble finding a dog crate that will suit your dog's needs.

There are a variety of dog crate sizes available. The crate you select should be large enough for your dog to stand up in and turn around in. The crate should be long enough so that your dog can comfortably lay down and extend his paws without being cramped. If you have a puppy remember that he will grow, so buy a crate large enough for your dog when he is fully grown.

Place a blanket or other soft cushion in the bottom of the crate for your dog to lay in. No one wants to lay on hard metal wire.

Make it a Positive Experience for Your Dog

Don't use the crate as punishment! You want your dog to view his or her crate as a fun, safe place, so don't ever use the crate as punishment. You want your dog to enjoy going into the crate.

Place your dog's crate in the living room or another area where your dog would normally spend time.

When you are beginning crate training, place some of your dog's toys and treats into the crate. You can even try throwing a toy into the crate to see if your dog will go in to retrieve it. In the beginning, when your dog enters the crate DO NOT shut the door. You don't want your dog to feel trapped. So for the first few times just let the dog enter and exit the crate at will. In fact, if your dog won't enter the crate you might even want to remove the crate's door if possible.

If your dog is reluctant to enter the crate you could also begin feeding your dog in the crate. If your dog won't enter the crate then place the food bowl barely inside the crate's opening. Then each day, place the bowl just a little further back until your dog feel's comfortable enough so that he will go all the way in. Your dog will begin to associate going into the crate as a positive experience.

Once your dog feels comfortable going into the crate then shut the door, but for brief periods of time, which gradually get longer. According to the Humane Society, even once your dog is crate trained, it's best not to leave your dog in the crate longer than a few hours at a time.

Once your dog is comfortable with the crate, he or she will probably begin to enjoy going into the crate and may even start sleeping in there. If only cats were this easy!

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Black dog in dog crate image by diana2020 (Own work) and published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, file obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Image has been resized (smaller).