Crating got you down? Four tips for happier crating

King cavalier puppy sleeping in crate

We see it all the time. People put their new dogs and puppies in crates for the first time and watch as their furry companion has a mental meltdown.

They turn to us and ask if they are doing the right thing. Is crating a dog even ethical? 

The truth is, crating can be a useful and necessary tool in your home, and even the most well behaved dogs can benefit from learning to handle crating.

The trick is to keep everything in moderation and set your dog up for success. 

Here are our top tips for having a dog learn to crate up.

Dog chews on chew stick

All Good Things Come from the Crate

Start teaching your dog that really great stuff happens in their crate.

Leave the door open and give your dog one of their favorite chews to enjoy, or even put their food dish in the crate to eat out of.

Don’t worry about closing them in just yet. Allow them to have the access to take things out, but keep putting special fun things in there for them.

Soon, the crate will mean fun things.

Build Alone Time Slowly

The biggest mistake that most people make is crating their dog for too long.

If your dog has issues with staying calm in the crate, make sure to go at their pace for building up duration.

It’s best to break down the crating exercise into bite size pieces.

Practice tossing some food into the crate, letting your dog eat it and then letting them come right back out. Keep tossing food inside until the dog hesitates to come out.

From there, you can work on closing the crate door and opening it right back up. Just take things slow. Your dog will let you know if you’re going at the right speed.

White dog poking head out between bars of gate
Dog and person sit lakeside looking at the horizon

Hang Out Together

Don’t always leave your dog in their crate alone. Dogs are very social and like to be around their trusted family members.

A simple exercise to try is to put your dog in their crate and then hang out close by. Read a book or watch some TV while in the same space as your dog.

Keep these exercises short and slowly build your dog’s ability to be in the crate for longer stretches of time.

Tire your Dog Out

Don’t crate dogs that are bouncing off the walls or who need to move their bodies.

You want to build an association with the crate based on rest time.

Make sure your dog is worn out with proper physical and mental exercise before asking them to be calm in a crate.

It’s also wise to make sure your dog uses the bathroom before crate time. It can be hard to relax with a full bladder.

Two dogs sleep in a person's bed

Need More Help with Crating your Dog?

Sometimes a one-on-one approach is just what you need.

We offer private lessons and drop-off training to assist with your crating issues.

Let us help you get started today.  

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