Crate Training Tips – It’s Not Just for Puppies!

Dogs instinctively want to seek shelter

The following is a guest post by Eric Bogard, who  works for Pet Dreams:

Although crate training is one of the most successful and veterinarian recommended methods for housebreaking puppies, there’s no reason to store the crate in the attic once your pooch is fully trained!  According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the behavior center at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, “Dogs, like their wild ancestors, instinctively want to seek shelter, even in the house.  If not provided, they will create it themselves under a table, chair or bed.  A crate serves as a den for the domesticated dog.”

Not just easy, crate training also provides a great opportunity to bond with your dog —and who wouldn’t want that?  To ensure the optimal room for your pup, and a guarantee of success, simply follow these four easy tips:

  • Consistency is key:  from placement of the crate (to prevent separation anxiety we recommend the family room or wherever people tend to frequently ‘be’) to your daily walking, feeding, and crate schedule, consistency, mixed with a large dash of patience, is crucial to the learning process.  Of course, the same holds true with regard to all aspects of dog training!
  • Always reward positive behavior:  positive reinforcement goes hand in hand with consistency -if your dog walks by or even enters their crate reward the behavior with a small treat and positive feedback.  Heck, even toss in your dog’s favorite toy!  On the other hand, if your dog is locked in for excessive periods of time -or even forced- it will create a negative experience, wiping away all your hard work and results.  Accordingly, after your pup is housebroken you should remove the crate door so your dog can come and go as he or she pleases.
  • Ignore any and all whining:  although you’ll probably want to console your crying/whining puppy (likely to occur far more frequently with puppies than older dogs) try your very hardest to ignore!  Doing otherwise rewards bad behavior with your attention, and the last thing you want is for your dog to equate crying and whining with something positive.  Only after the whining has subsided should you take your dog out for attention and playtime.
  • Make the crate a cozy room:  help create a sense of safety and build confidence by adding a toy or two in the crate.  Of course, including a dog bed and cover will also do wonders by providing comfort and security, all in the name of making the crate your dog’s cherished room.  What’s more, an attractive cover will ensure the crate fits perfectly with your home decor!

Indeed, any and all dog training is rooted in commitment, patience, and consistency.  With just a bit of time and know-how you and your four legged friend will be on your way to a better, stronger relationship driven by crate training success!

Eric Bogard works for Pet Dreams, a designer of luxurious, affordable dog beds.  He is an advocate of Pit Bulls, taking care of his clown in black and white clothing named Pepper.  You can find Pet Dreams on Twitter and Facebook.

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