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The Crate is Great!

DOGma by Vet Tech Groomer Girl


If you are bringing in a new FURkid into the family, whether they are puppies or adult dogs, you will want to make sure that they are as happy, physically/emotionally comfortable and as healthy as possible. but you also need to make sure your new furry BFF is not scratching at the doors, eating drywall, destroying your furniture and peeing everywhere. The answer? Crate Training.

This will not only help lesson the chances of them having accidents while you’re away, but it will give them a safe place to stay when they get anxious and will help make the next steps in training that much easier.


Imagine this: you’re in a brand-new area and your “parents” get home with a big box and simply lock you inside it the second you arrive. Doesn’t that sound fun? Consider that when introducing a crate to your dog. For both your sanity and the comfort of your dog, slowly and casually introduce a crate. You want the crate to be considered a “safe space” and something they can enjoy.

Try taking the crate to an area of the home your dog already spends a lot of time in and allow them to explore it on their own. If they’re a little hesitant, gently encourage them to go inside by putting some of their favorite toys or treats in there. According to House Method, you should leave warm blankets or a cozy bed in the crate or a garment of clothing that has your scent on it, to make your pup feel more comfortable when you’re away. While some dogs may immediately take to the crate, don’t push your dog if they aren’t immediately into it. This may take a couple of days, and sometimes even weeks, but patience is key.


One of the best ways to use positive reinforcement is through food. Piggybacking off the notion of taking crate training easy, try putting your dog’s meals or treats in the back of the crate in order to gently encourage them to enter the crate. Dogs are very food-driven, so they’re bound to enter the crate at some point. If your dog is still unwilling to go all the way into the crate, try putting the food right next to the crate, then in the very front of the crate, and gradually move it into the crate.


When your dog is able to enter the crate completely to eat their meal, now is the time to close the gate. Remember, the point of putting the food in the crate in the first place is to get them comfortable in the crate, and the door is meant to be shut. Once your dog is done eating with the door closed for the first time, open the door immediately to let them out. Gradually increase the amount of time it takes to open the door back up after eating. If your dog starts to whine during, try waiting until he stops whining to let him out. Continuously opening the door when your dog starts whining could result in him learning that whining equals being let out of the crate.


Once your dog is comfortable staying in crate with the gate closed, begin extending the time they’re in their crate. Start by staying near the crate, maybe even reading to them or sharing your activity with them when they’re in the crate, followed by moving to other parts of the home, outside of their field of vision. When you come back, don’t immediately let them out of the crate. Continue to be near them for a few more minutes while keeping your voice and energy calm and relaxed, and then open the door.

Gradually increase the amount of time you’re in another room until your dog is in their crate for at least 30 minutes. At that point, they should be ready to be alone for short periods of time and may be ready to sleep in their crate overnight. According to the Humane Society, puppies cannot hold their pee as long as older dogs and may not be able to stay in their kennel the entire night without having to be let out to go to go potty. So, you may want to keep the crate close to your bedside just in case they whine for you to let them out at night if needed.


When it’s time to leave your dog in their crate while you leave the house, be sure to keep the crating as casual as possible while also using gentle praise when they enter and leave the crate. Avoid extreme excitement when you come home and let them out of the crate. Gently praise them when they enter the crate so you can leave, and when you come home, try to not match their excitement when you let them out.

SOURCES: Some Excerpts and Sources: Well & Good, Humane Society, ASPCA


Dorothy Cline


Published by Dorothy Cline

Mindful Paws AAT Mindfulness on the Mountain magazine Vet Tech Groomer Girl (RVT & Groomer)

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