The number one most helpful puppy advice to give new pet parents is — crate train the puppy ASAP. Knowing how to crate train a dog is beneficial to both the dog and their pet parents. It is the foundation of house and potty training and most dogs enjoy laying down in their crate and feeling safe.
How to Crate Train a Dog
Ideally, the pet parents should begin crate training on the first day they bring home a new dog or puppy. The crate should be big enough to fit a dog, and the dog should have enough room to stand up and turn around.
Pet parents may want to buy a larger crate to offer their dog a more comfortable space. However, one of the benefits of crate training is to house train a puppy or dog. If the crate is too big, the dog will use it as a resting place and toilet. Therefore, pet parents need to make sure the crate is the correct size for their dog.
The following dog advice will help pet parents easily crate train their dog or puppy.
1. Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is when the pet parent rewards the dog with treats and/or toys. With crate training, the pet parent can give their dog or puppy a treat and a lot of praise every time they go into the crate. In addition to treats, pet parents can also put the dog’s meals in the crate.
Positive reinforcement creates a happy experience for the dog, and they’ll want to go into the crate to get a treat or praise.
2. Ignore Puppy Vocalizations
Crate training a puppy can be difficult for pet parents because puppies tend to cry. However, dog training will become human training if the pet parent responds to a puppy crying in their crate. A puppy will quickly learn they can get attention for crying and will continue the behavior.
3. Start Slow
The first time a dog or puppy stays in their crate should be for about ten minutes. The pet parent will give the puppy a cue, such as saying “crate” and then put the puppy in the crate. The puppy should be given a toy and treat. Pet parents will continue this procedure daily and develop a routine.
Don't Use Negative Reinforcement
Negative reinforcement is when pet parents use punishment to train their dog — for example, locking the dog in their crate for an extended period because they got into the trash can and made a mess.
Negative reinforcement usually makes the situation worse. A crate should never be used as a punishment because the dog will develop a fear of their crate and no longer feel safe.
Additional Dog Advice
Vet experts recommend never leaving a dog or puppy in their crate for too long, because they can damage their bladder while waiting to be let out. If a pet parent is crating their dog while at work, they should come home at lunch to let their dog out.
Fuzzy is here to help 24/7 via Live Vet Chat and can answer any questions or concerns pet parents have about dog training and behavior.