Crate training is a popular method of training today, and for good reason. It can be convenient and effective. When dogs are in the wild, they are den animals. The den is their home. It's a place of comfort and safety where they sleep and raise their family. When you crate train a dog correctly, the crate becomes their den. It gives them a place to feel safe, and it takes advantage of their desire to keep their den clean.
What Not to Do
The crate should be a safe haven for your dog, so you should never use it as a punishment. You shouldn't leave your dog in the crate for more than three to four hours, because it becomes hard for them to hold their bladder. Don't force your dog to spend the majority of its time in the crate. They don't get enough human interaction or exercise, and this can lead to behavior and health problems.
You'll want to select a crate just big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in. If the crate is too big, they may eliminate in one end of the crate. If your dog is a puppy, you can buy a cage that will accommodate their adult size, and block off part of it.
Introducing the Crate
When you introduce the crate, you'll need to let your dog take the lead. Put it in an area where you spend most of your time, and simply place the crate in the room with the door open. Don't force your dog into the crate. Let them explore it when they are ready.
Feed your dog it's meals in the crate. If they are shy about entering the crate, begin by putting the food near the front of the crate and gradually move it towards the back. Once the dog is inside to eat, close the door.
Begin by opening the door as soon as they are done eating, and gradually increase the time you leave the door closed.
You can also give them a treat and praise when they enter the crate. Keep slowly increasing the time that they spend in the crate.
Crating is a convenient way to train your dog when it's done correctly. Keep in mind that with any type of dog training, patience and persistence are key to success.