How to Crate Train Your Puppy
Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for families and pets alike, but it’s important to remember that the transition can be overwhelming to even the friendliest pups. Training your new pet early on is important to setting them up for success in their new home. Since your home is foreign to the pup, introducing your dog to a crate and getting them trained to treat that crate like their own safe haven has amazing benefits. Even though crate training can make pet owners feel guilty, these shelters can quickly become awesome training tools and comfortable hideouts if you approach the training the right way. Before your pup comes home, make sure you buy a crate that is the right one for your dog. Do your research regarding the type of crate and size and make sure to have it at home before they join the family so it’s part of their environment from the very beginning.
Ensure your mindset and attitude is always positive
Pets can tell when we have strong emotions like anger and sadness, and they will often mimic those feelings or react to them. This means that if you have an uncomfortable or anxious mindset when it comes to crate training, chances are that your pet will too. Instead, establish a relaxed mindset and encourage your pup to experience the crate during happy moments with you nearby and the crate door open so they see it as a place of rest and fun.
Make the crate a cozy space
It’s important to make your pets crate a comfortable home for them, but keep in mind that young pups tend to be mischievous. Some puppies like to rip apart pee pads and dig into dog beds so try a few different options including dog beds, towels, and blankets. Some dogs do prefer hard cold surfaces, especially when they are warm so try not to overstuff the crate.
Reward your dog after they go into the crate
If you are positive about the experience, your pet will feel much more comfortable and less reluctant about going into the crate. Rewarding your pup with a small treat after they spend time in the crate and/or go in by themselves is a great way to positively reinforce that the crate is a safe space that you would like them to spend time in. Try out one of American Kennel Club’s trick’s and give your pup a KONG toy filled with peanut butter that has been put in the freezer if you’re looking for a fun way to keep them occupied for a while. This delicious treat has to be worked down due to it being frozen and it gives them a fun activity to enjoy while inside their new safe haven.
Vary the amount of time your pup is in the crate
It’s important to approach crate training in small steps and therefore you won’t want to leave them there for long periods of time, especially in the beginning. Try small steps like 20–30-minute stints in the crate before you leave them for longer. Make sure that your pet has plenty of time to exercise and has lots of human interaction so they don’t become depressed or anxious. Don’t forget to reward them when you come back so you reinforce that they did a good job.
Make sure the crate is not a punishment
While these tips are great ways to help encourage your pup to like and feel comfortable in their crate, the most important rule of thumb is to make sure your dog does not feel trapped, scared, or frustrated in the crate. The Humane Society states that while crates can be used to manage a behavior, they should never be used for punishment. If you are adopting a new puppy and need to schedule a veterinary appointment, our team at Bregman Veterinary Group is here to help. At Bregman Veterinary Group we make it our mission to help you determine the best course of action for your pet from the very beginning so that they can live long, healthy lives. To schedule an appointment for your new pup, click here to get started.