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Why Crate Train Your Dog?

(continued)

How to Crate Train Your Dog: The Weekend Plan continued...

Repeat the steps above 10 times, each time walking away in a different direction. After a short break, do 10 more repetitions, slowly building up the time your dog stays in the crate while you walk around the room. As you increase the time, throw in some easy repetitions. Start with 10 seconds, then increase to 15. Try 20 seconds, then go back to 10. Increase to 30 seconds, drop to 15, then up to 45, and then an easy 5. Continue to return to the crate and reward your dog every few seconds while she’s inside. In the beginning, be very generous. As your dog becomes more and more comfortable resting in her crate, you can gradually decrease how frequently you treat her.

After you finish your second set of 10 repetitions, take a half-hour break. Then repeat the exercise another 10 times. Start leaving the room for a few seconds at a time, always returning to reward your dog while she’s in the crate. Try to work up to having your dog stay in the crate for one minute while you walk around the room and briefly leave the room.

Sunday Morning: TV Time

This morning, you’ll teach your dog to relax for longer periods in her crate. You’ll need some treats, a new tasty chew bone or a KONG toy stuffed with something wonderful, like a little peanut butter or cream cheese, and something to occupy yourself. Ask your dog to go in her crate. When she does, praise her and give her the chew bone or stuffed KONG. Then close the crate door and settle down to watch TV or read a book in the same room. Keep your dog in her crate for about half an hour. (If she finishes her chew, you can periodically give her a treat or two, as long as she stays quiet.)

When the half hour is up, calmly open the crate and say “Okay,” so that your dog can come out. Take her chew thing away, and don’t reward her with treats when crate time is over. In fact, it’s best if you just ignore your dog for a few minutes. Again, you want her to learn that great things happen while she’s in the crate, not when she comes out. Take a break from training for a while. An hour or two later, you can repeat the exercise.

Canine Complaining

At this point in your training, your dog might start to object to confinement in her crate. If she barks or whines, you have two options:

  1. Ignore her entirely. (Get yourself a pair of earplugs if you need to.) She’s trying to get your attention, so don’t reward her barking by giving it to her! Pretend she’s invisible. As soon as she stops vocalizing for a few seconds, you can give her a treat. With repetition, your dog will learn that she gets ignored if she makes noise, but if she’s quiet, you deliver tasty treats.
  2. As soon as your dog starts to bark or whine, make some sort of noise to let her know that she’s made a mistake. You can say “Oops!” or “Too bad,” and then immediately leave the room. Don’t come back until your dog has been quiet for at least 5 to 10 seconds. With repetition, your dog will learn that making noise makes you instantly leave but being quiet makes you come back.

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