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Crate Training - Creating a Pup Retreat Center

Crate for Joy

Dogs instinctively enjoy small, dark, cozy places of their very own and tend to feel safe and secure. Creating locations in your home for peace and privacy are great for dogs!

As well as being a safe cozy place to stay, they can make training your dog a lot easier.

  • Housebreaking goes much faster when you use a crate and destructive chewing becomes easier to control.

  • Traveling is safer for both you and your dog when he's in a crate.


The most popular crates are made of plastic or heavy welded steel wire.

Plastic crates meet federal regulations for airline travel. The quality of plastic crates varies between manufacturers, and you'll need to get one sturdy enough to resist chewing.

Wire crates are very popular and depending on your dog's needs may just be a better purchase than plastic. You'll need to shop more carefully for a wire crate because quality and style vary greatly. Some of them are flimsy and not meant to be collapsed for storage. Others, advertised as "collapsible", but do so only with great difficulty and don't fold down to a convenient size. Look for sturdy crates with heavy gauge wire that easily folded down into a "suitcase-style" shape for transportation and storage.

Size - a crate need to be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lie down stretched out on their sides to sleep. A good crate will pay for itself in peace of mind and undamaged carpets, furniture, and belongings.

Most puppies will seek out an area to relieve themselves that's far away from where

they eat, play and sleep. Using a crate takes advantage of this natural tendency and helps the puppy to learn to control himself in between trips outside.

During the first few months, puppies require almost constant supervision which is something that's hard to do with our busy lifestyles. Using a crate helps you to prevent accidents when you can't watch your puppy every single minute.

Housebreaking is easier to accomplish when accidents are prevented in the first place, rather than correcting the puppy afterward. Using a crate, a place that the puppy is naturally reluctant to use as a bathroom, combined with a regular feeding and exercise schedule will make housebreaking go faster as well as saving your carpets and your sanity!

Just as you create an unhouse broken puppy to prevent accidents when he can't be supervised, the same applies to a dog that chews or gets into mischief when you can't be there to watch him. Confined to a crate, a destructive dog is limited to chewing only on the toys you give him, not your cushions or hardwood!

Conditioning a dog to a crate

Most dogs bark and complain during the first few days. Once they begin to accept this new restriction on their freedom, they quiet down and learn to enjoy it. If you struggle with a crying puppy read our previous blog on crate training for added tips.

Growing puppies alternate periods of activity and rest throughout the day. There's no reason they can't do their resting in a crate, like a baby taking a nap in a playpen or crib. By keeping the puppy on a regular schedule of feedings and exercise, you can control his natural rest periods. If you put the puppy in his crate when he's already tired and ready to settle down, he'll get used to his new "bedroom" faster.

In the beginning, he should only be expected to stay in the crate for 2 hours at a time and overnight. During his periods out of the crate, your puppy needs plenty of playtime and attention. I like to give puppies at least an hour between crating periods where they're played with, loved, allowed to explore, and romp. This burns off their boundless puppy energy and helps them understand that crating is only a temporary thing.

Special toys and treats help make his "room" a pleasant place to stay. Give the puppy a small treat every time he has to go into his crate. Toss the treat into the crate so he can jump in after it. (If you want him to learn to go in the crate on command, say "crate, kennel or any fun word you can think of" when you toss the treat. )

You've given him a reward for going into the crate, now you need to give him an incentive to stay in there quietly. Make his "room" comfortable. Get him a soft but hard to destroy blanket or bed. Get him a selection of toys but don't give them all to him at once, just one or two at a time.

Rotate the toys - Puppies get bored easily and switching the toys around makes them seem new and exciting. Teething puppies love chew toys and nearly all dogs love a sterilized beef bone with peanut butter stuffed in the middle. They can spend hours trying to clean it all out.

Dogs learn quickly when their behavior is associated with a reward. Behavior that doesn't result in a reward often disappears. It's normal for many puppies to bark, whine, howl or throw tantrums when first being crate-trained. If you let your puppy out of the crate while he's upset, you'll be rewarding him for bad behavior. The next time he's supposed to go in his crate, he'll cry and bark again because that's what got him out the last time.

For many puppies, just ignoring their complaints is enough to make them stop. If it doesn't get them anywhere, they soon give it up and find something better to do like sleep or play with a toy. Whatever you do, don't take him out of the crate until he's quieted down.

Older dogs can often learn faster than puppies.

Begin with the crate with the door open. Feed her meals in it and have her jump in and out of it for treats. Just as you would with a puppy, you should make the crate a comfortable place to be and keep crating periods short in the beginning. Once accustomed to them, many dogs enjoy spending time in the crates even when they don't have to.

Crates can be a favorite place to retreat.

For additional information on crate training visit our other blogs. or send us a message and we will gladly answer your questions. Teach and Train for the most amazing dog's of your life.... BNADOG.COM

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