Why a dog crate is indispensable – Part 5
Are you ready for a quick and easy 5-step crate training plan for your pup? Repeat each of the following steps for one day or one week, depending on how well your puppy takes to crate training. Move onto the next step once your pooch is confident with the previous step.
Day 1 / Week 1
Introduce your puppy to his new crate by opening the door so it won’t close on the dog accidentally. Be prepared to spend some uninterrupted time with your puppy and sit down next to the crate for a few minutes.
Put some toys and a blanket inside the crate. Your puppy will toddle over it. When it does, pick up a toy from the inside, show it to your puppy and gently toss the toy inside the crate so that it hits the back wall and makes a noise.
Chances are, your puppy will be curious about the toy and where the noise came from, and may walk over the threshold to check it out. If your puppy goes inside on its own, reward it by tossing in a little treat so it hits the back wall of the crate, too. Repeat the process a few times.
If your puppy doesn’t go into the crate, toss some treats near the crate’s door and encourage your puppy to eat the treats. As your puppy gets closer and no longer seems afraid of the crate, throw a few treats inside and tell it to go get the cookie. Make a big fuss by saying, “Yeah, Yeah – Good Puppy!”
Day 2 / Week 2
Take your puppy to the crate and toss some treats inside. When your puppy goes in the crate, verbally praise it again. Repeat this process several times. This is also a good time to put your puppy’s food bowl inside and feed it a meal inside the crate, but leave the door open. Your puppy will begin to associate the crate with yummy experiences, which is a good thing. After a few meals, your puppy will run inside and wait for you to put the food bowl down.
Day 3 / Week 3
When your puppy is comfortable with dining a la crate, try closing the door while it’s eating. When it’s done, open the door after a few minutes. Repeat at the next meal, but increase the amount of time the door is closed each time.
Day 4 / Week 4
While feeding your puppy inside the carrier with the door closed, go to another room for a few minutes so you’re out of sight of your puppy. When you return, let your puppy out. Repeat and gradually increase the time you’re away.
Day 5 / Week 5
In addition to feeding your puppy all of its meals inside the crate, try putting it inside after playtime and right before naps. Use a verbal command, such as “go get a cookie,” and toss some treats inside, making sure they hit the back wall noisily. When it goes inside after them, close the door for a few minutes. If your puppy settles down for a nap, walk away to another room. Repeat.
During the day, your puppy will be fine inside for up to about three hours. If you have to leave a young pup alone for an entire day and an outdoor area isn’t available, try taking the door off the crate and putting pup and crate inside an exercise pen or a gated safe room. This way it can go in and out of the crate and still have the freedom to move around.