Why Crate Train Your Dog?
How to Crate Train Your Dog: The Weekend Plan continued...
Choosing a Crate
Pet supply stores and online vendors sell wire crates, plastic airline
crates and mesh crates. Each style has its own advantages. Wire crates usually
collapse for easy storage and portability, and they provide more ventilation
than plastic ones. Plastic crates seem especially den-like and might make dogs
feel safer and more secure when they’re inside. Mesh crates provide privacy for
dogs and are the most portable, but they aren’t very durable. Some dogs chew
through them and escape.
After choosing which kind of crate to use, it’s important to make the new
crate comfortable. Put it in a room where you spend lots of time, but out of
the way of foot traffic. Next, put a soft bed or blanket and a toy or two
inside. You can even put a shirt you’ve recently worn into the crate so your
dog will feel comforted by your scent. (If your dog likes to chew fabric, you
can skip this part.) If you purchase a wire crate for your dog, she might like
to have a blanket or towel draped over it to create a more “den-like” feel.
Friday Night: Before You Start Training
The most important part of crate training is teaching your
dog to associate her crate with things she loves. Try the ideas below to
convince your dog that her new crate is the place to be:
The Treat Fairy
Leave the crate door wide open and make sure your dog has access to the room
where you’ve set up the crate. Every so often, when she’s not looking, sneakily
toss a few treats around and into the
crate so she can discover them on her own. Use something that your dog will
love, like small pieces of chicken, cheese, hot dog or freeze-dried liver. You
can also leave an exciting new toy, a delicious chew bone or a stuffed
KONG® toy inside the crate. Periodically leave special treats
in your dog’s crate throughout the evening-and continue to do so every day or
so for the next few weeks. If your dog sometimes finds surprise goodies in her
crate, she’ll start to love it, and she’ll probably go into it often just to
see if the “Treat Fairy” has come.
When it’s dinnertime for your dog, place her bowl inside the crate and leave
the door open. Try putting the bowl in the back of the crate so your dog has to
stand inside the crate to eat. If she seems too uncomfortable to go into the
crate at first, you can put the bowl just inside the door instead. That way,
she only has to put her head in the crate. Over time, as your dog becomes more
and more comfortable stepping inside, you can move the bowl all the way to the
back of the crate and, eventually, close the crate door while she eats her