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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Vance

How to Crate Train a Dog

Crate training is a wonderful tool to use when getting acquainted with your new dog, whether they are a puppy or an adult dog. If your rescue dog was never house trained, is having difficulty adjusting to their new home, or being destructive while you’re away, crate training is a great option. When you are deciding that you want to crate train, make sure that you get the correct size crate for your dog. It should be just big enough so that they can turn around, stand up, and lie down comfortably, while having just enough room for his nose and tail to have space before touching the ends.

Crate training is a process, so be patient with yourself and your dog as they get acquainted with this space. After determining how large the crate should be, make sure to take it slow. I recommend taking the dog out for exercise to drain any extra energy, and ensure they go potty before putting them in the crate. No matter the age of your dog, this is a new experience for them - they may be uncomfortable at first!

Use lots of praise and cookies when you introduce your dog to the crate. It should be a safe place that is never used for punishment. I would recommend placing a blanket or pad inside to make it more comfy, with a favorite toy and treats. This way, the dog will associate the crate with a positive experience. Start by placing some treats inside and let them sniff and get acquainted with the new crate, leaving the door open. Keep praising your dog as he sniffs and goes inside - encouragement goes a long way! After a few days with them becoming familiar with the crate and allowing them to freely roam in and out with the door open, try briefly closing the door when you’re home and continue giving treats and praise while they’re inside (start with 5 min intervals, then 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 1 hour). Gradually, increase the time you’re gone and try going to other rooms for a bit, then returning and letting them out. This is a great exercise to continue for when you run errands! Eventually, the dog should be willing to go in and out of the crate with no problem, and they may even like it so much they seek it out when you’re home as their own cozy nook. Happy training!

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