Why Crate Train Your Dog?
My Dog Makes Noise in the Crate
Although it might be difficult, resist the urge to yell at your dog if she
complains in her crate. She might respond by quieting down-but the attention
from you, even though it’s negative attention, might increase her
barking and whining instead. Scolding might also upset your dog, and you want
to make her time in the crate as stress-free as possible. It’s also crucial to
avoid breaking down and releasing your dog from the crate when she’s making
noise. Doing this will send her a clear message: If she barks and whines long
enough, you’ll eventually let her out! The key is to teach your dog that you
won’t let her out of the crate if she’s making noise-but you will
reward her with treats or let her out if she stops.
However, if you have a young puppy, she might not be able to sleep through
the night without having to eliminate. If your puppy whines in the middle of
the night and you think she might need to go out, do let her out of the
crate. Then you can take her directly to the place where you’d like her to
eliminate and wait. If she doesn’t go within a minute or two, take her back
inside and return her to her crate. Don’t let her romp around during the potty
break. You don’t want her to learn that if she whines in her crate, you’ll take
her out for playtime!
My Dog Is Afraid to Go Into the Crate
Dogs who seem very nervous about going into crates might need preliminary
training with crate-like objects. If your dog seems reluctant to step into a
crate, you can try teaching her to walk under a suspended tarp or blanket, step
between two upright boards or lie down in the bottom half of an airline crate
(with the top removed) before trying to coax her into an enclosed crate.
When you start training with an airline or wire crate, it might make your dog
more comfortable to remove the door or simply leave it ajar. If you have a mesh
crate, flip the door up over the roof to keep it open. It can also help to
teach your dog Sit, Down, Stay, Step Forward and Step Back. These skills will
give you more control when you’re asking your dog to do specific behaviors in
and around her crate.
After some preliminary training with less scary crate-like objects, you can
try Weekend Crate Training, but instead of spending a day on each step, try
going through the plan more slowly. Only progress to the next step when your
dog seems completely comfortable.