All About Dog Crates Crate Training

†Dogs are still have the instinct of a wild animal, despite being domesticated and years of selective breeding.

Your Puppy or Dog has the built in instinct to make or find a 'Den' to make their home in, a crate can easily be made in to the den because Dogs have a strong natural tendency to seek out this type of shelter.

We genuinely do not like to refer to our Pet Homes as 'cages' with a little help your pet will soon view a crate as their own ĎDení

Crate training your dog may take some time and effort, but can be useful in a variety of situations. If you have a new dog or puppy; you can use the crate to limit his access to the house until he learns what he can and canít chew on and where he can and canít eliminate. A crate is also a safe way of transporting your dog in the car, as well as a way of taking him places where he may not be welcome to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, heíll think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed.

Selecting A Crate

Your dogís crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in when full Adult size if the crate is to be used for the life of your pet

The Crate Training Process

Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dogís age, temperament and past experiences. Itís important to keep two things in mind while crate training. The crate should always be associated with something pleasant, and training should take place in a series of small steps - donít go too fast, as this can cause anxiety in you pet and an overall fear and dislike of the new crate.

Step 1: Introducing Your Dog To The Crate

Put the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room.
Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is securely fastened opened so it wonít hit your dog and frighten him.
To encourage your dog to enter the crate, drop some small food treats near it, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, thatís okay Ė donít force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isnít interested in treats, try tossing a favourite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.

Step 2: Feeding Your Dog His Meals In The Crate

After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding him his regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, put the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If your dog is still reluctant to enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as he will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little further back in the crate.
Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat his meal, you can close the door while heís eating. At first, open the door as soon as he finishes his meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until heís staying in the crate for ten minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the crate, itís imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, heíll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so heíll keep doing it.

Step 3: Conditioning Your Dog For Longer Time Periods

After your dog is eating his regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while youíre home. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Give him a command to enter such as, "kennel up"† or ĎIn your Bedí. Encourage him by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise him, give him the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to ten minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the crate. Repeat this process several times a day.

With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time youíre out of his sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when youíre gone for short time periods and/or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks

Step 4: Crating Your Dog When Left Alone:

After your dog is spending about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the crate. Youíll want to vary at what point in your "getting ready to leave" routine you put your dog in the crate. Although he shouldnít be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving.

Donít make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give him a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, donít reward your dog for excited behaviour by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when youíre home so he doesnít associate crating with being left alone.

Part 5: Crating Your Dog At Night:

Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night, and youíll want to be able to hear your puppy when he whines to be let outside. Older dogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that crating doesnít become associated with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with his crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer.

Potential Problems Too Much Time In The Crate

A crate isnít a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. For example, if your dog is crated all day while youíre at work and then crated again all night, heís spending too much time in too small a space. Other arrangements should be made to accommodate his physical and emotional needs. Also remember that puppies under six months of age shouldnít stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time.


If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether heís whining
to be let out of the crate, or whether he needs to be let outside to eliminate. If you followed the training procedures outlined above, your dog hasnít been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from his crate.
Try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, heíll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after youíve ignored him for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate. If he responds and becomes excited, take him outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If youíre convinced that your dog doesnít need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore him until he stops whining. Donít give in, otherwise youíll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what he wants. If youíve progressed gradually through the training steps and havenít done too much too fast, youíll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again.