Spend some time each day working on the crate being a "good thing".
some yummy treats (I mean *really* yummy). Sit beside the
crate with the door open. Toss a treat just inside the crate door. Let
and eat it. If she won't go in the crate, let me know as we will need
to back up farther in the process. Toss the next treat in a bit farther.
she is going to the back of the crate to eat the treat, close the door
for 1/2 a second... just close while she's eating and open again as
out. Repeat this several times. Smile, talk happy talk to her.
Next close the door while she is eating the treat and wait 1 second
opening it. If she cries, you are going forward too fast. Open the crate
before she has a chance to cry. Lots of praise as you open the door.
let her come all the way out of the crate. You can hava brief play
then toss another treat in and repeat the door closing thing. Slowly
the length of time the door is closed before you open it again. Only
open it if she is calm and quiet. If she gets a bit impatient and fusses,
your head away. Don't look at her or say anything. When she quiets,
praise her and open the door. Vary the length of time the door is closed.
Sometimes 1 second, sometimes 5... or whatever level you have worked
Practice this exercise for no more than 5 minutes at a time, but practice
*many* times a day, if possible. Stay right with her until she is calm
quiet in the crate with the door closed for 5 minutes.
Then proceed to move away from the crate. However, you have to go back
having the door closed for a very short time. So close the door,
take one step away, setp back and open the door before she cries. Keep
up to moving 5 feet away from the crate for 5 minutes in small increments
outlined above. Be variable. Don't respond to crying. If she cries out,
hold still without looking at her or talking.
At night I would try to set her pen or crate beside your bed, but hold
until she gets sleepy. You can sing her a lullaby, rock her, soft talk,
whatever seems to work. Then place her gently in her pen or crate and
sit right there beside her until she falls asleep. If she wakes up and
cries in the night, she probably needs to potty. Get up right away and
her out. Then repeat the settling routine and pet her back to bed.
Stay there with her without talking until she falls asleep again.
I know this is grueling. It's just like you have a new baby in the house...
and a colicky one at that. If you find that she is getting louder and
stressed sounding with her crying, or you think she may need to go outside,
make a sudden noise in another room... like closing a door or
dropping a book... just enough to make her hold her breath and listen
moment. In that pause, start talking to her and get to her as quickly
as possible. Take her out, change something in the "picture"
and regroup. *Do
Not* go to her and talk to her or look at her when she is crying
(and I know they can really scream at times) or you will undermine all
you are putting into teaching her to be alone and quiet. Since you
have rewarded her (by going to her) after 2 hours of crying, it is likely
she may try crying that long (or longer) again. If you follow the steps
I've outlined above, hopefully you can bypass the stress (on all of
you) of all
that crying. If you give in and go to her when she is crying you *will*
be teaching her that crying "works".
More Crate Training - How to Buy
Using a crate (also known as a kennel) is the best way to teach a
puppy (or even
an adult dog) proper house manners. There are different styles of crate.
most common are plastic or wire. They each have advantages and disadvantages
and some pups seem to have a preference. My girl prefers her plastic
car trips, but otherwise likes them equally.
When selecting a crate for your puppy you will need to take several
consideration. The most important choice is the size of the crate. This
mainly determined by the adult size of the dog. He should be able to
without hitting his back on the top and be able to turn around comfortably.
That is the minimum crate size required. For people who will need to
dog confined for more than a few hours at a time during the day, I generally
recommend that they choose the next larger size of crate. The "average"
crate is 24"x36"x24" tall. This is the size I use for
my female Dobe and my
friend uses for her female Labs. If you aren't sure how big your dog
get, it may help to measure a couple of adult dogs of your breed (or
breed). Most manufacturers or retailers offer guidelines on sizes, but
helps to measure your dog :-)
Other things to consider when purchasing a crate:
(1) Will you need to be able to transport your dog by plane? If so,
crate is required by most airlines. Some are more secure and more impact
resistant than others.
(2) Will you be transporting your dog in the car? Having a crate in
the car is
the safest way to transport your dog. For those who have a vehicle large
enough for a crate, they often have a crate for home and another crate
car. If you are choosing a crate for the car, measure carefully to make
it will fit. I chose my crates so that I could put them side by side
back of my mini-van.
(3) Will you be travelling with the dog and crate often? If so, it
very handy to have a crate that folds down into an easier to carry size.
of the wire crates are "suitcase" types that fold easily and
most can be taken apart to store or move them.
(4) What type of coat does the dog have and/or what climate do you
Wire crates offer more ventilation than plastic crates, so plastic crates
usually warmer than wire crates. There are crate covers available for
crates providing your dog is not one to chew fabric.
I generally use a plastic crate for house training my puppies. I find
be more den-like and easier to clean if the pup has an accident. My
crate is smooth on the inside although many of the plastic crates I
have "bumps" on the inside that I think would be uncomfortable
for the dog. I
have not found the need to partition the crate for puppies. Perhaps
don't expect them to be able to keep the crate completely clean until
at least 12 weeks old.
I usually transition my pups to a wire crate (or use it during the
day when I
am using the plastic crate at night) so that they can be safely confined
still near the activity in the house. This also allows me to easily
treats or little pets even though they are crated. My wire crates have
pans in them, but I bought them before the new ABS pans were available.
like the ABS pans as they make the crate lighter to carry and easier
clean. I also think the plastic pan is not as cold as the metal pans
Both wire and plastic crates are available from several manufacturers
mail order and at pet retailers. The price of the crate is often related
the quality of construction... like bar size and spacing on wire crates.
Also the door and latch configuration can vary greatly between manufacturers.
Some are much more secure and easier to use than others are. I have
with a "cam-lock" latch that I really like (once I figured
out how it works
<g>). Many of the newer plastic crates have a latch on both sides
of the door
so you can open it either way (or take it off) without having to take
apart. That's a nice feature.
Once your puppy is crate trained and past the digging and/or chewing
there are also mesh crates available that are really nice for travel
are very light weight and easy to set up. But they are only for well-trained
dogs as they are not as durable or secure as wire and plastic crates.
Some of the common manufacturers of wire crates are "Midwest",
and "Scott". "Vari-Kennel" and "Dockosil"
(sp??) are common plastic
crates. These, and others, are available at several on-line pet supply
places, such as... www.kvvet.com, www.neserum.com, www.rcsteele.com,
www.cherrybrook.com, and www.drsfostersmith.com
If you would like to see one version of a mesh crate visit www.doggonegood.com
I'm mildly embarrassed to say that I own *far* more crates than I have
but they each serve a purpose and are often put to use. I hope this
information helps you in choosing a crate that will work well for you
dog for year to come.
More on Crate Training
The crate should never be used as punishment although "time out"
periods may be
necessary. You want your pup to enjoy being in the crate so it helps
to toss in
a special treat or give your pup a toy to play with.
Some rules of thumb...
- The crate should be the size needed for your dogs adult size. Room
stand up and turn around. Crate from different manufacturers are different
sizes so check several before deciding which is best.
- A puppy should be confined a maximum of 4 hours at a time. They need
potty breaks and attention.
- Puppies that are less than 12 weeks old should not be expected to
through the night. You can set your alarm to get up in the middle of
and take the pup out or, if you are too lazy like me, resign yourself
cleaning up in the morning <g>. After about 12 weeks they seem
to be able to
hold it for 6 or 7 hours so getting up early works. Many people worry
that the pup shouldn't mess his crate. I don't worry about it until
- Of course they learn to keep clean because you give them frequent
outdoors. You should take the pup out after every meal, upon waking,
and about every hour any way for the first several weeks. They have
bladders. Training requires lots of patience.
- When not in its crate (or other safe confinement area) you should
your eyes off your puppy. This is the biggest mistake people make. You
watch them. Direct them to appropriate play items. Keep them out of
and interacting with you. Puppies learn bad habits when no one is watching
Different dogs have different preferences. My girl prefers the plastic
crate in the car, but has otherwise accepted both (I even have a mesh
crate for travel, now that she's older). The wire crates are more open
and are less likely to give her that closed in feeling. They are very
easy to drop treats into too. Use a small bungie cord or string to secure
the door open at first. Place her cedar bed next to the crate but "hide"
a few treats in the crate. Don't make any notice of her attempts to
get the treats at first (pretend you don't see her). Just add a few
more when she isn't looking. This allows her to think the crate is a
good source of treats with no pressure on her.
You can then try placing her cedar bed near the door or part-way inside
(or add another towel or blanket inside. If you get any new toys for
her, let her "find" them in her crate first. You are hoping
she takes to sleeping in there at night (slowly moving her cedar bed
inside), but leave the door open for a while. When she is sleeping,
quietly close the door for a moment, then open it again. Do this many
times when she is already quiet. If she is sleeping in the crate through
the night, then you can try introducing the "kennel" cue during
This is where you toss in a treat (something really good!) and wait
quietly. Remember, no pressure. If she won't go in after the treat with
you watching her, try moving farther from the crate, turning your head
away and yawning (signals to her that you are not a threat). Give her
time. This will be the hardest part. Work in *very* short sessions (maybe
only one or two tries at a time). Once she will go in after a tossed
treat, then softly say "kennel" as she is going in. Practice
this many times, but only a few at a time.
When you reach the point where she is readily going in after the tossed
treat while you are saying "kennel", then occasionally say
"kennel" first (or pretend to toss a treat). When she is inside
give her several treats at once. This is where you are shifting from
luring her (with the treat already visible in the crate) to teaching
her the cue that will earn her a treat. Now comes the fun part... she
should have a good association with her crate by now (and the door has
not been closed during these practice sessions). Now you will work on
saying your "kennel" cue from different places in the room
or the house. The behavior you are looking for is for her to run to
her kennel whenever you ask, from wherever you are. Each time she does,
she gets treated (more or better treats depending upon how "hard"
the problem was).
Now you may start introducing closing the door. Say "kennel"
from close by, when she goes in feed her a treat through the side bars
while you slowly move the door a few inches. Let her out and try again
or keep feeding her something yummy through the bars while you move
the door back and forth a bit. You don't want her to be afraid of the
sound of the door moving. Again, lots of repetitions but a few at a
time (Yes, this does require patience <g>). Now go to holding
the door closed just briefly, then letting her out. If for some reason
she makes a fuss, you are probably progressing too fast. Back up a few
steps and try again. I also find it useful to teach my pups to "wait"
and then ask them to "wait" while I open the door to the crate.
The Pawsitive Dog, Inc. - 2002
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