Crate training your puppy will allow you to develop a tool that you will be able to use with dog obedience training techniques and which will build drive and focus. Use of a crate is also commonly used to house train a puppy. Dogs do not like to tie themselves where they sleep.
Dogs will usually enter a crate without too much of a problem, but once inside, may find the crate too confining and fight to get out. For this type of dog you need to work with patience and train the dog that being inside crates is a good thing. To start with, you leave the door open and hold a really tasty treat in one hand. The treat must have a really high value such as roast lamb, cooked chicken, or shaved ham.
The pup is lead towards the crate using the treat as a lure and when you get a few inches from the crate throw the food into the back of the crate and let the pup go in and eat the treats. You need to repeat this a number of times. The food can now be thrown into the crate as the pup runs into the crate. Close the door and hold it closed for a few minutes and then release the pup. Repeat this exercise a number of times.
You can now extend the time that the pup stays in the crate. Do not leave him in there for more than a few minutes. If he starts panicking open the door immediately and let him out. You do not want to frighten the dog and end up with crate phobias.
The pup will soon be content to go into the crate and lie there quietly for 5 to 10 minutes. Stop using tricks at this point and start using toys and put some blankets into the crate. Take the pup outside to exercise and toilet and then bring him in and throw a toy into the crate and let the pup follow. When the pup has gone into the crate and found his toy, close and secure the door.
It is best to remember that when you take the dog outside, he should walk himself so that he builds memory association combining the walking outside with toileting outside. If he stops and starts sniffing or circling, pick him up immediately and head for the door as quickly as possible. When he has finished his toilet outside, remember to give your pup a big happy cuddle.
During the day, assuming you are able to, keep the crate near you and if the pup starts complaining drop some treasures into the crate and talk to him to calm him down. If exercise you gave your pup prior to confining was adequate, he should sleep for a couple of hours. Be certain that you are close by as soon as you hear the pup stirring. Let him out of the crate and let him walk, or run, straight out into the garden. Do not forget the praise and cuddle.
Now, before going to bed, have a good game with the pup. Putting the pup into the crate, make sure he is comfortable, has a comfy bed and a toy he likes a lot. You may have some crying to start with but the pup will settle down and within a day or two he will sleep through the night and his bedding will be dry and clean.
Listen for him to stir and be ready to jump out of bed and run the pup outdoors. It may take a few days before the pup is clean in his crate at night but this system of house training usually works a lot faster than other systems and I have used it very successfully with all the pups I have raised.
As stated at the start of this article, dogs will not mess in their crates and if they do you can give yourself a clip around the ear because you were not vigilant enough. You must never punish the dog if he has an accident in his crate.
And a crate should never be used as a punishment. The crate must become a place where the dog feels secure and happy.
You can build a really great relationship with your pup by using crate training along with dog obedience training exercises. For this to work, you need to have taught your pup to do a strong stay – either lying down or sitting.
The stay must be strong enough for you to be able to put the dog in the crate, leave the door open, give the dog the stay command, and walk away.
You do not need to go too far. About 10 meters away is sufficient, and then, with a favorite toy in your hand, call the dog, showing the dog the toy and have a great tug game when he latches on. Again, in each training session, this exercise needs to be repeated several times.
This basic obedience training stay and release exercise builds strong relationship bonding with fast release and fast recalls.
There are some more crate training games you can work at with your dog that will bring benefits from your dog obedience training program. Stay tuned and clock into my blog regularly so that you do not miss the next exciting post.