The Proper Way to Crate a New Dog

Teaching your dog to accept a crate helps make him a better family member.

Teaching your dog to accept a crate helps make him a better family member.

Training your dog to accept the crate makes house training as well as day to day life with your dog more manageable. While your dog may initially be resistant and unhappy in the crate, as long as you introduce him to it properly, he should soon learn to accept it.

Make sure the crate is the proper size. A crate that's too small will leave your dog uncomfortable, while if he is in a larger crate he may decide to relieve himself in one corner. The ideal crate should be just large enough for him to lay down, stand up and turn around in. If you have a puppy and want to get a crate that will carry him through until he is an adult, consider purchasing one that comes with a removable or adjustable divider.

Place the crate in a quiet area of the home. Putting it in a high-traffic area will make it difficult for your pup to calm down and feel safe.

Add an old shirt or towel to the crate that you don't mind your pet sleeping on. Using something with your scent will give him comfort as he settles into this new routine.

Place a favorite chew toy in the crate. You may want to consider one of the many fun puzzle or food-stuffed toys available. These toys provide a reward in the form of food when your dog chews on them and can provide a nice distraction for him in the crate.

Use a single word command, such as "bed," each time you put him in the crate. At first, toss a treat into the crate, use the command and let him go get the treat and then come out without shutting him in.

Leave him in the crate short periods of time initially. When you let him out of the crate, take him straight outside to relieve himself. Offer plenty of praise for being quiet when you let him out of the crate and for relieving himself in the yard. If he has an accident in the crate simply take him outside and clean up the mess, don't punish him. If he cries and whines in the crate, ignore him.

Items you will need

  • Crate
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Bedding for crate

Tips

  • Don't try to "wait out" your dog if he is whining in the crate. Ignore whining, but let him out of the crate in a reasonable period of time. He needs to learn that you will always return. Don't become engaged in a battle of wills with him.
  • Dogs can generally be expected to stay in their crates for several hours at a time, depending on their age. Add one to the number of months old your dog is to determine how long he can comfortably remain in the crate. For example, a 4-month-old puppy can stay in the crate up to five hours.
  • When training your dog to accept the crate, provide plenty of time outside the crate as well as lots of exercise and play. This will make him more inclined to lay down and nap while in the crate.

Warning

  • Do not use the crate as a way to punish the dog. He should view the crate as a safe place, not somewhere he is isolated from the rest of his family.
 

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