Teaching your dog how to love the crate by never using it as punishment, and always offering good treats or toys for going in! I think the crate is a good place for dogs to be if they are not supervised. It is safe and they cannot ingest anything toxic or ruin furniture. It is also good for potty training, as it encourages puppies to hold their potties until they make it outside. Of course, I never want you to leave your dog in the crate for days on end, or adult dogs for more than 8 total hours a day, but I do think dogs being comfortable in a crate is important.
I always use the phrase “crate or camera.” It is important to keep an eye on your dog and gauge how long is too long for your dog to be left out. It is also important to be able to go back and see if your dog ingested anything toxic while you were gone, if they are acting differently. Some things to remember: – The crate is NOT punishment. Never punish your dog by putting them in a crate for being “in trouble” or “in time-out.” The crate should always be a positive experience.
If you need a break for yourself and want to put the dog in the crate for a few minutes, that’s fine, but the dog should be happy to be there. – Put the dog in the crate when you’re home too. This way the dog doesn’t always associate the crate with you leaving. – Offer enrichment! Try to give your dogs safe puzzle toys or long lasting chews in their kennel.
Make sure you can supervise your dog with a toy or chew several times before leaving it in the crate with them, but some good ideas are stuffed Kongs, bully sticks, Nylabones, Himalayan chews, etc. – Feed your dog in their crate and give good things in crate. Put the dogs food in their crate to build positive associations with it!
You can also “hide” a new toy or chew in the crate, and when they find it, they’ll be happy that it came “from” the crate! If your dog is having separation anxiety or extreme distress inside or outside of the crate, contact a force-free positive reinforcement trainer to help you.
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Happy training, Savannah & Sydney