Sunday, October 5, 2014

How to Introduce a Puppy to a Dog Crate

A dog crate (also called a kennel) is the best way to ensure your pet is safe when you are asleep or away from home. Dogs are den animals and most acclimate quickly to a small sleeping area. A proper introduction is all it takes to provide a safe haven for a pet.
Put the pet in the dog crate to ride home. All pets should be in a secure carrier while in a car. Use a hard carrier for transporting pets, and secure it with seat belts. You may want to use a different crate for sleeping, especially if the pet does not like to travel.

At home, grab some treats and squeak toys and sit down near the kennel. Show the puppy a tiny piece of treat and let them eat it. Toss a piece into the crate near the front. Continue to toss tiny pieces farther back in the dog crate and praise the dog for coming in and out of the kennel.
Place a few toys in the kennel. Let the puppy come and go in and out to show it is safe. Leave the door open for several hours before attempting to close the dog inside. Small puppies may choose to curl up inside to sleep, that's a great sign.

Close the kennel door and stay next to it for a few minutes after the dog is comfortable entering. Do not console the dog if it barks. Don't leave the room if the puppy gets upset immediately, stand your ground. After a few minutes open the kennel and act like nothing happened. Leave the crate door open and try again later. The less stress the puppy feels from you the less stress it will associate with a dog crate.

Be Consistent While Crate Training

Choose a command word for the dog crate and say it every time the dog enters. Trainers use "kennel" or "kennel up"; choose a word and have everyone in the home use it when the dog enters the crate. Consistency is key to all dog training.

Photo credit: By Elf at en.wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

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