Proper crate training gives your dog a place to call home.
Home is your “happy” place. It’s warm and inviting, cozy and familiar. You feel at ease at home, all your stuff is there, and you can just hide away from the rest of world when you need a little time to your self.
These are the same feelings your dog should have about his kennel or crate. Many people believe that putting a dog in a crate is inhumane, or seems like punishment. But the truth is, providing your dog with a crate gives him a personal space he can go for the same comfort and privacy you get from your home.
Being at ease in a crate provides your dog security when traveling, prevents housetraining/chewing issues, alleviates separation anxiety and gives your dog a place to “chill” when he’s nervous about strangers or uncertain situations. Dog trainer Katie Grillaert provides these helpful tips and facts about crate training that you can use to provide your dog with his own home, sweet, home.
- Feed your dog his breakfast and dinner inside of his kennel, so that he’ll associate it with wonderful feelings.
- Let your dog play “Hidden Treasure:” leave his crate door open, and hide some delicious, stinky treats in the crate for him to find.
- Teach your dog to go into his kennel on cue by saying “Go to your kennel” or “Kennel” and then tossing a delicious treat inside the kennel for him to follow. Repeat this many times in a row, and then test your dog: say your cue, and wait for him to figure out that he should go in the kennel. When he does, praise and treat!
- Place your kennel in a warm, cozy room that the family spends time in. He will feel much more comfortable here, than if the kennel is placed in an isolated spot like the basement.
- With foster dogs, it is especially important that we prevent separation anxiety. Teach your dog early that he can spend time alone in his kennel even when you are home. Give him a really special marrow bone or Kong to keep him busy and happy.
Here are a few more tips:
Katie Grillaert is the Director of Training and Behavior for Save-a-Bull Rescue and owner/head trainer at Fetch Dog Training in Minneapolis. She is CPDT-KA certified with years of experience training rescue, shelter, and foster dogs of all breeds. She also volunteers training and behavioral support for Small Dog Rescue of Minnesota and The Behavior Crew, a division of Foster My Pet.