Virtually every pet owner will need to have their dog stay in a crate at one time or another. This might be for transportation purposes or for small periods of time when no one will be home to look after her. Dog crate training can be difficult at times but can be made worse by the owner that doesn't take the right approach to it either. On the other hand, if done right, dog crate training can be very manageable for even the most stubborn of dogs. Here are some quick tips on how to do this right.
First of all, make sure your crate is the right size for your dog. Most dogs like crates because they want to sleep in something small; this makes them feel secure, the way most humans like a blanket or sheet over them when they sleep. But a crate that's too small is dangerous and painful. The dog should be able to walk all the way around the crate with ease and should not need to dip her head while in the crate. All the effort put into dog crate training will be wasted if the crate itself is so small that the dog hates being there. And of course they won't feel secure in a crate that's too big, so don't go overboard in the other direction either. Most pet stores these days allow you to bring your dog inside and this can be helpful when choosing a crate; the salesperson can typically assist in recommending a size for your dog.
Be sure to make dog crate training something that isn't very traumatizing to your dog, especially at first. Simply forcing her inside and locking the door won't do anything to help her feel comfortable in the crate. When dog crate training be sure to prepare the crate with a comfortable bed or blanket and some toys. Many trainers also recommend you put in one of your shirts that hasn't been washed; this way the dog has your scent with her while she's in the crate. You can also sit with her while training; this means she won't associate the crate with being alone or abandoned.
Another good tip is to wear out your dog during the day when dog crate training. Give her a long walk or take her to the park and play with her for as long as possible. If she's very tired at night she won't be as likely to whine or cry when put into her crate. This way too she'll associate the crate with a good night's sleep and won't be so hesitant to use it.
Dog crate training need not be difficult for dogs or owners; it's actually much like getting a child to stay in bed. There may be some crying and resistance at first, but if you approach dog crate training with a positive attitude and make it as comfortable for the dog as possible it should go much smoother.
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