Crate Training Tips
Crating is not necessary for all dogs but it is generally considered the easiest and quickest way to housetrain because most dogs will not soil in their crate. It can also help prevent puppies, adolescents and young active dogs at the peak of their chewing prowess from misbehaving if left alone or you're preoccupied. You can relax - and so can your dog. Crate-training tips include:
- The crate should only leave enough room for your dog to stand up and turn around in (otherwise they are more likely to soil the crate). Use boxes or boards to make the crate space smaller if needed.
- To help your dog enjoy his "doggy den" cover the crate with a blanket (entrance should be left open), place a snuggly bed inside, drop treats inside for your dog to discover, feed meals inside and give him a treat-stuffed Kong toy when he's confined. Do not release him for whining (unless he has to go the bathroom) - otherwise he will learn to whine in the kennel to be released.
- For crate-training to be effective your dog must not be confined for longer than he is able to hold it. The general rule for how many hours your dog can hold it is their age in months, plus one. So a four-month-old puppy can hold his bladder for five hours. From seven months through adulthood he should be able to hold it for nine hours total during the day (for smaller dogs it may be less).
- If your dog doesn't want to go in the crate, start putting his meals and treats inside and closing the door - with your dog on the outside. Once he's excited about getting to his food open the door. After he's comfortable going inside start closing the door while he's eating his meal. Open it again just before he finishes. Slowly build up the time he stays inside.