Why does crate training work

As you know, your modern-day companion was once a wild animal – selective breeding over many generations created the domestic dogs we know today. But they haven’t forgotten their den-dwelling hunter ancestors’ instincts. Almost all dogs enjoy the comfort of private shelter, because that’s what they’re still hardwired to seek. Being a fairly social animal, dogs are also naturally predisposed to keeping their dens clean and free from offal to minimize telling scents that could attract potential predators to a litter of healthy young. Crate training works because your dog already wants a den.

Creating a comfortable “den”

Your dog wants 2 things from a den: comfort and security. But with just a little added effort, you can offer enjoyment as well. Of course, padding for comfort (such as a pet mattress or baby-blankets) is easy enough to provide – let’s look at some ways you can help your puppy feel right at home in his new den.

What your dog really wants is comfortable security. His wild ancestors had to be on constant alert for potential dangers, even while asleep, and even today dogs remain highly sensitive to sounds and movements around them. By offering your dog a well-placed, comfortable crate, you’re catering to his natural instinct to create his own private home to rest in – a place he can always feel safe and secure. To help your dog feel as secure as possible in his new home, it’s best to introduce him to it slowly. You can start by placing his food and water bowls inside the crate; when he feels comfortable eating inside, you can begin closing the door behind him. Initial closed-door crate sessions should only last a minute or two – your dog should be released before he begins to feel any distress. It’s important to stay in sight of your dog so he doesn’t begin to feel separation anxiety; many trainers enjoy success with constant praise and treats at this stage, as long as the dog is behaving well. As your dog becomes more comfortable in the crate, you can gradually lengthen the time he spends there and reduce the amount and frequency of praise and treats you offer him – but for now, stay in sight and remember that initially, your target result is a comfortable puppy, secure and happy to be in his new “den”. Every dog is different, but for most, this phase won’t take too long. With adjustment accomplished, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Help your puppy want to explore his new crate independently

hiding treats inside throughout the day is a great way to accomplish this. More adventurous dogs can be fed inside the crate from the start, but if yours shows signs of hesitation, it’s best to let him warm up to it over a few days.

Praise your puppy whenever he enters the crate

make a point of this, every time – but continue this for as little time as possible. This is because your dog may start to enjoy the praise more than his new home. A little encouragement is important – but too much is counterproductive.

Pets deserve privacy too

part of a good den is the cozy sense of isolation it provides. Let your puppy know that the crate belongs to him by keeping other pets and children out, and try not to disturb him if he’s sleeping inside – this is a very good sign for both of you!

A crate is a dog’s home, not a penalty

obviously, if you want your pet to enjoy its new home, you’ll definitely want to avoid using confinement as a punishment (more about this later).

Start while you’re at home

to keep anxiety (and noise) levels to a minimum, you should begin with closed-door crate training while you’re present – this helps prevent your puppy from feeling stressed and associating the crate with separation from “the pack”.

How’s the weather down there?

locate your dog’s home somewhere that’s sheltered from drafts and temperature extremes or variations, and remember to always make sure they have easy access to clean, fresh water.

What your dog really wants is comfortable security. His wild ancestors had to be on constant alert for potential dangers, even while asleep, and even today dogs remain highly sensitive to sounds and movements around them. By offering your dog a well-placed, comfortable crate, you’re catering to his natural instinct to create his own private home to rest in – a place he can always feel safe and secure. To help your dog feel as secure as possible in his new home, it’s best to introduce him to it slowly. You can start by placing his food and water bowls inside the crate; when he feels comfortable eating inside, you can begin closing the door behind him. Initial closed-door crate sessions should only last a minute or two – your dog should be released before he begins to feel any distress. It’s important to stay in sight of your dog so he doesn’t begin to feel separation anxiety; many trainers enjoy success with constant praise and treats at this stage, as long as the dog is behaving well. As your dog becomes more comfortable in the crate, you can gradually lengthen the time he spends there and reduce the amount and frequency of praise and treats you offer him – but for now, stay in sight and remember that initially, your target result is a comfortable puppy, secure and happy to be in his new “den”. Every dog is different, but for most, this phase won’t take too long. With adjustment accomplished, it’s time to move on to the next step.