4 Ways to Make Crate Training a Positive Experience

dog behavior

Crate training is one of the best experiences you can give your puppy or dog. Crates are a safe space for your dogs to stay in while you’re away or busy. The earlier you crate-train your pup, the better. It’s easiest to do this when they’re puppies, but crate training is possible for older dogs too. You can make the experience positive by using these strategies.

Benefits of Crate Training

Crate training provides countless benefits for your pup. Here are just a few:

  • Crates keep dogs safe while you’re away.
  • Crates become your dog’s comfort space. 
  • Crates prepare your dog for travel and overnight stays.
  • Crates are essential for potty training puppies!

Positive Steps for Crate Training

Start with crate size.

Crate size is critical when training. A crate that is too small will make a dog feel trapped or unsafe, while a crate that is too big allows enough room for them to go to the bathroom on one side. 

Use treats and toys.

The hardest part of crate training is often getting the dog into the crate. First, encourage your dog to enter the crate by putting a favorite treat or toy into the cage. Then, use a specific command before your dog enters the crate, like “crate” or “bed.” Once they enter, shut the crate and give them a treat. 

Give praise.

Praise your pup through the entire process! Speak to them in an encouraging voice when giving the command, then tell them what a good dog they are once they follow it. 

Practice for longer periods!

It’s generally agreed that dogs can remain in their crates for 4-6 hours. However, the first time your pup uses the crate shouldn’t be for this long! So instead, slowly work up how long they stay in their crate. The first week, have them stay in the crate for fifteen minutes to half an hour. Stay near the crate so your dog knows you’re nearby. The pup may cry or whine at first, but they’ll gradually become comfortable with their crate. Once they are, leave them in their crate for one or two hours and leave the space. 

Other Considerations for Crate Training

Crate training is one of the first steps to training your dog. A dog that is comfortable in its crate is typically calmer and more well-behaved outside of it, too. While you crate-train your pup, train them to do other basic commands. Sit, stay, wait and lay are great commands to begin with. The Landheim team is here to help if your dog needs extra training support. We offer basic and advanced training, customizable to your pet’s needs.