10 Steps Crate Train Your Dog The Happy Way!

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8. Build Distance

Okay, your pup is progressing and able to handle longer periods in her crate. Now it’s time to work up to being able to leave the house while he stays happily in his crate.

While your dog is crated, walk casually across the room and then come back. Repeat until you can walk out of sight for a short time without your dog feeling stressed. How quickly you progress will depend on your dog’s age and temperament.

When your dog is ready in and out of sight. See if your dog can handle the crate for a few minutes after he’s lost interest in his toy or treats. Start crating the dog when you go outside for a short period or when you have a guest over. If your dog makes noise, wait until he is calm before letting him out. Once you know your dog is comfortable, try not to respond to whining unless your dog needs to go or seems overly stressed.

9. Do’s and Don’ts

Are you and your canine sidekick getting the hang of things? Great! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you perfect your technique:

  • Don’t crate your dog while he is wearing a harness, collar, or dog tag. They can get caught on the crate and cause injury or even death.
  • Don’t use the crate as a punishment. It’s essential for both of you that the crate be your dog’s happy, safe place.
  • Don’t put your dog in the crate all day. If a dog is left in the crate all day he could develop anxiety or depression. A crate is not a replacement for proper exercise, interaction, and bathroom breaks.
  • Do take your dog’s age into account: Puppies nine to ten weeks old should be let out every 30 to 60 minutes for a potty break.
  • Don’t make grand entrances and exits. Calmly put your dog in his crate five to 20 minutes before you leave, and stay calm when you return until you’re ready to let him out.
  • Do make sure playtime and potty time happen before crate time so he’s ready to relax.

10. Problems to look out for

As you progress to longer periods of crate training or even crating your dog at night, you still want to watch out for potential problems:

  • Whining: Your dog may whine to be let out of the crate to eliminate, but if they are whining just to be let out, try to ignore him. Don’t yell at them or bang on the crate (that’s obvious, right?). If the crate training process happened slowly, they should know that whining won’t be rewarded. If the problem becomes severe, you’ll need to start the training process again.
  • Separation anxiety: If a dog gets visibly distressed or behaves in ways that are not normal for him, he may have separation anxiety. This behavior could cause injury if he is desperately trying to escape his crate. You can try counterconditioning and desensitization and may need to consult a professional for help.

Crate training should always be about keeping your dog safe and happy, not about having a free babysitter whenever you want. If done correctly, crate training can be a win both for you and your four-legged friend. Happy training!

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Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.