Tip of the Month:
Crate Training Puppies and Adult Dogs
Pet crates are an excellent way to train your
dog and provide it with its own sanctuary. There are numerous benefits
to crate training your dog:
When you're making your list and checking it twice
this holiday season, be sure to add keeping your pets safe and secure.
The Marin Humane Society encourages pet guardians to safeguard animal
companions from holiday hazards. Keep the following in mind:
- Security for your dog
- Safety for your dog and young children
- Prevents costly damage
- Helps you train proper chewing and elimination
- Easy traveling
- Improved dog/owner relationship
Tips to Remember:
- A crate should have enough room for the dog to stand and turn around.
- Because dogs are social animals, the ideal location for the crate
is in a room full of activity.
- For the crate to remain a positive retreat never use it for punishment.
You can, however, use the crate to avoid potential problems (e.g. chewing,
jumping). If you use social isolation, or "time-out", place the dog
in a separate room instead of the crate.
Introduce the puppy to the crate as early in
the day as possible. Place a few treats, toys, or food in the crate to
motivate the puppy to enter voluntarily. The first confinement session
should be after a period of play, exercise, and elimination (e.g., when
the puppy is ready to take a nap). Place the puppy in its crate with a
toy and a treat, and close the door. Leave the room but remain close enough
to hear the puppy. Expect some distress at first. Never reward the pup
by letting it out when it cries or whines. Ignore it until the crying
stops, and then release it.
If crying does not subside on its own, a light scolding may be useful.
Avoid any excessive correction—it can cause fear and anxiety, which
could aggravate the whining or cause elimination. When correcting, remain
out-of-sight so that the puppy does not learn to associate the punishment
with your presence. A squirt from a water gun or a sharp noise (try a
shaker can containing a few coins) can be used to interrupt barking.
Training Adult Dogs
Training an adult dog is similar to training
a puppy, except regarding the initial introduction to the crate. Introduce
the dog to the crate by setting it up in the dog's feeding area with the
door open for a few days. Place food, treats, and toys in the crate so
that the dog enters on its own. Once the dog is entering the crate freely,
it is time to close the door. When punishing the dog, take the same advice
given for puppy training. Gradually increase the amount of time the dog
must remain quietly in the crate before you release it.