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How to crate train your dog
You may think of crates as some type of confinement tool, but the truth is, they can be comforting to dogs and useful to humans. Domestic dogs still retain a natural instinct to dwell in dens, like they do in the wild. Crates, kennels and other enclosures give dogs a feeling of safety and security that brings them great comfort.
Crates are a great way to train your dog how to behave in your home when you are not there. Not only does it make it physically impossible for it to get into trouble, it makes it feel safe alone. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, crate training can prevent undesirable behavior and help it feel less anxious.
There are a variety of crates and kennels out there. The Super Dog Crate with Cozy bed is nice because it includes soft padding inside for sleeping and has a solid roof, making it feel den-like. Then again, pet products like the Vari Kennel Traditional Dog Kennel are almost entirely made of plastic, which gives the structure a cave-like feel inside. If you get a crate that is entirely made of wire, like iCrates, you could always cover it with a blanket to make the pooch feel more secure inside.
To crate train your dog or puppy, start by introducing the the crate. Open all the doors and allow your pet to sniff around, walk in and out and become familiar with the space. If the pooch shows interest, place treats like Greenies Dental Treats inside to encourage a positive association. Another way to promote this association is by feeding your dog its pet food inside the crate. Eventually, you can start closing the door during feeding times, but always open it if the dog seems anxious. Gradually lengthen the amount of time your dog is in the crate with the door closed.
It is important not to use the crate as punishment. If you need to use the crate to physically contrain your dog or puppy, always give it a treat as it enters to maintain the positive association. When you start using the crate to confine your dog when you are away from the house, make sure to never leave it in there longer than four hours at a time.
If you are using the crate to house train your dog with its elimination habits, make sure you establish a routine to prevent accidents from happening inside the crate. In addition to being a mess for you, dogs do not like eliminating in the place they sleep, and this could cause a negative association with the space.