Crate training: a tool for cleanliness
By Dorothée Pâris Pasturel • 25 January 2021
What are the uses of crate training?
In addition to helping with housetraining, the crate becomes a personal and safe space for your dog, like his own bedroom. It is useful to get your dog used to being comfortable there if he needs to be boarded, to go to the veterinarian, or so that he can isolate himself when he wants peace and quiet. The use of a crate is not compulsory, but it can be a very practical tool. The crate should never be used to punish your animal since the dog will quickly make the association between the cage and a negative event, and will therefore never want to be in it.
Which crate should I choose?
- Preferably a wire crate with a tray in the bottom.
- Large enough for the animal to be able to stand, turn and lie down comfortably—about one and a half times your dog’s length.
- Not too big, because the dog could relieve himself inside it.
- It is possible to find dividers so that the crate grows with the animal.
The first moments in the crate:
- Install the crate in a busy area, such as the kitchen or living room, so the animal won’t feel isolated.
- Furnish the crate with a blanket, toys and treats.
- Before presenting the crate to the dog, make sure that he has expended enough energy.
- Allow your pet to enter and exit the cage as he sees fit. Do not hesitate to encourage him with toys, treats and praises.
- When the dog seems comfortable in his crate, close the door for a short time.
- It is normal for the puppy to cry at first, but resist his cries before opening the door. Wait until he’s calm and reward him when he comes out.
If your dog doesn’t seem to like the crate, place something very tantalizing in a bowl inside and close the door, keeping the dog out. When your dog is ready to do anything to get to the treat, open the door and let him in without closing it. Repeat the exercise until he is comfortable going in and out. You can then start to close the door for short periods.
The first nights:
Several tricks can be used to calm the puppy down during the first night because, for the first time in his life, he will sleep alone, without his mother, brothers and sisters. For example, a hot-water bottle rolled up in a light cloth will serve as a companion through its heat.
The crate can be a good training tool, but only if it is used well in positive reinforcement!