Dog Crate Training
Limit access while off leash until house rules are learned. Crates are plastic (often called "flight kennels") or metal and collapsible. Different sizes are available. Crates should be just large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around.
Choose a crate size that will accommodate the adult dog.
Crates satisfy the dog’s need for den-like enclosure. A dog crate refuge reduces separation anxiety and destructive behavior, while keeping the dog safe from dangerous household situations. The crate doubles as a mobile indoor dog house when traveling by car or plane, although avoiding plane travel for the dog is recommended.
The crate should NEVER be used as punishment.
You want crates to be associated with something pleasant. Place your puppy's favorite toys and dog treats at the end opposite of door opening. Drop pieces of kibble or dog biscuits in the crate until your dog walks calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If the dog isn't interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. Toys and balls ought to be large enough to prevent being swallowed and unbreakable to small pieces. While investigating the new crate, the puppy will discover edible treasures. Praise and pet your puppy when it enters. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to it in a happy tone of voice.
Don't force the puppy into the crate.
After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding regular meals near the crate if your dog remains reluctant to enter the crate. Put the dish only as far inside as the dog will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat, you can close the door while eating. When you first do this open the door as soon as the meal is finished. This creates a pleasant association with the crate. If the dog begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, leave it in the crate for less time. If the dog whines or cries in the crate, do not open the door until the whining stops. Otherwise, the lesson learned is the way to get out of the crate is to whine.
At first, crate your puppy for short periods of time while you are home with it. Crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with your dog, to prevent associating the crate with your leaving the dog alone. Water dispenser with ice water should be attached to the crate if your puppy is confined for more than two hours.
The crate should have a soft mat or towel as a bed for the puppy. If the puppy chews the towel, remove it. Some dogs prefer to rest on the flat surface, and may push the towel to one end to avoid it. If the puppy urinates on the towel, remove bedding until the puppy no longer eliminates in the crate.
Place the crate near you while at home when the puppy goes inside, so the dog doesn't feel lonely or isolated. In most cases, the crate should be placed next to your bed overnight. Very young puppies under 9 weeks should not be crated, as they need to eliminate very frequently (usually 8-12 times or more daily).
Do not crate a dog when temperatures reach uncomfortable levels.
Always remove the collar before confining in the crate. If you must leave a collar on the dog when you crate it (i.e. for its identification tag), use a safety "break away" collar. If your puppy messes in its crate while you are out, do not punish. Simply wash the crate using a pet odor neutralizer. Don’t use ammonia-based products -- their odor resembles urine and may draw your dog back to urinate in the same spot. Block off excess crate space so your dog can't eliminate at one end and retreat to the other.
Except for overnight, dogs should not be crated for more than 5-6 hours at a time. Children should not play in your dog's crate or handle your dog while it’s in the crate. Do not crate your dog if it has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by worms, illness, intestinal upset such as colitis, too much or wrong kinds of food, diet changes, stress, fear, anxiety, or because it has not eliminated shortly before going inside the dog crate.
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