Dog Crate Training

Dog Crate training your dog may take some time and effort, but can be useful in a variety of situations. If you have a new dog or puppy, you can use a dog crate to limit his access to the house until he learns all the house rules – like what he can and can’t chew on and where he can and can’t eliminate. Dog crates are also a safe way of transporting your dog in the car, as well as a way of taking him places where he may not be able to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use a dog crate, he’ll think his dog crate is a safe place and will be happy to spend time in his dog crate when needed.

Dog Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age, temperament and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while dog crate training. Dog crates should always be associated with something pleasant, and training should take place in a series of small steps – don’t go too fast.

Step One: Introduce your Dog to the Dog Crate

Put the dog crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the dog crate. Bring your dog over to the dog crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the dog crate door is securely fastened opened so it won’t hit your dog and frighten him.

To encourage your dog to enter the dog crate, drop some small food treats near it and then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the dog crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, that’s okay – don’t force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the dog crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the dog crate to get the food. If he isn’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the dog crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.

Step Two: Feeding your Dog in the Dog Crate

After introducing your dog to the dog crate, begin feeding him his regular meals near the dog crate. This will create a pleasant association with the dog crate. If your dog is readily entering the dog crate when you begin Step 2, put the food dish all the way at the back of the dog crate. If your dog is still reluctant to enter the dog crate, put the dish only as far inside as he will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little further back in the dog crate.

Once your dog is standing comfortably in the dog crate to eat his meal, you can close the door while he’s eating. At first, open the door as soon as he finishes his meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until he’s staying in the dog crate for ten minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the dog crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the dog crate, it’s imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, he’ll learn that the way to get out of the dog crate is to whine, so he’ll keep doing it.

Step Three: Conditioning Your Dog For Longer Time Periods

After your dog is eating his regular meals in the dog crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you’re home. Call him over to the dog crate and give him a treat. Give him a command to enter such as, “kennel up.” Encourage him by pointing to the inside of the dog crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the dog crate, praise him, give him the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the dog crate for five to ten minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the dog crate. Repeat this process several times a day. With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the dog crate and the length of time you’re out of his sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the dog crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when you’re gone for short time periods and/or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks.

Step Four: Crating Your Dog When Left Alone

After your dog is spending about 30 minutes in the dog crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the dog crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the dog crate. You’ll want to vary at what point in your “getting ready to leave” routine you put your dog in the dog crate. Although he shouldn’t be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don’t make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give him a treat for entering the dog crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don’t reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you’re home so he doesn’t associate crating with being left alone.

Step Five: Crating Your Dog At Night

Put your dog in the dog crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the dog crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night, and you’ll want to be able to hear your puppy when he whines to be let outside. Older dogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that crating doesn’t become associated with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with his dog crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer.

Harness or Collar – What’s Best?

Used imprpperly collars can do damage to your dog’s neck (including the trachea, esophagus, and more) over the years. An easy way to prevent the damage is to attach your dog’s leash to a harness instead of a collar.

If your dog pulls a lot on his leash, you can buy a training tool such as an Easy Walk Harness or a Gentle Leadeer Head Collar and use that tool on walks while you teach your dog to walk more nicely. (Be sure to follow the instructions when using training tools like these.) Once your dog understands how to walk politely on leash, you can remove the training tool and simply walk your dog in a regular body harness.

You Must Do This When Dog Training

Is there a secret to dog training? No, not really. But there is one foundation skill that can make everything else come much easier: getting eye contact from your dog in a variety of settings. Practice getting sustained (at least a few seconds) eye contact from your dog in different places, either in response to her name or to a cue like “Watch me!”

Budget Dog Training

Hiring a professional dog trainer can be very expensive. And browsing the training aids in the aisles of a pet supply store may leave you reeling from sticker shock. Not to worry! You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a well-behaved dog. The following tips will help you train a dog on a budget:

Consider Clicker Training

Clicker training is a method of positive reinforcement dog training. It involves using a small device called a clicker to let your dog know when he does something you like. As soon as you click the clicker to mark the behavior, you give your dog a small dog treat. It’s easy to learn how to clicker train a dog, and you can purchase a clicker from any dog supply store. There are also a lot of inexpensive options for dog training treats, and since you only use a small treat each time you click, a bag of treats can last awhile.

Check Out Local Animal Shelters

Many dog rescues and humane societies offer free or low-cost dog training classes and seminars. Because so many dogs are surrendered to shelters due to behavioral issues, they offer dog training classes as a community resource in the hopes of keeping dogs from being given up by their families. Many shelters also offer behavior helplines, informational handouts on dog training, and on-site dog trainers who can help answer behavior and training questions, all for no charge.

Exercise is Free

While exercise won’t cure every dog behavior problem, it can make a big improvement in a number of issues, such as destructive chewing, digging, and excessive barking. A long walk or a game of fetch is a great way to burn energy and offer your dog some mental stimulation. And best of all, it’s free!

Invest in Indestructible Toys

Offering dogs a variety of dog toys is another way to curb problem behaviors. Dog toys offer dogs mental stimulation, the ability to burn off energy, and an appropriate way to give in to their need to chew. When you first look at the price of dog toys, it can be tempting to buy the most inexpensive ones. The truth is that this is not always best for your budget because dogs can easily destroy many of the inexpensive dog toys. A better option is to invest in some indestructible dog toys, such as Mojo Treat Ball or Tug a Jug. Spending a little bit more money up front can save you a lot more money in the long run.

Visit Your Local Library

One of the best ways to learn about dog behavior is to read books by expert dog trainers. A number of dog trainers also have videos which give step-by-step instructions on how to train a dog. Rather than spending a fortune on books and videos, check out your local library. Very often they have a collection of some excellent dog training books and videos, or they can borrow them from another library.

Aversives in Dog Training

In dog training, an aversive is something used to discourage specific unwanted behaviors in dogs. It is something the dog finds unpleasant, usually involving a dog’s senses. Some examples include shock collars, bitter apple spray and penny cans. The use of aversives with dogs is controversial topic. A lot of dog lovers consider some or all aversives inhumane (or unkind at the very least). Many others feel that the use of aversives can be highly affective in dog training.

There are many different things that can be used as aversives. They are usually related to a dog’s senses.

Taste: these aversives are usually used to prevent a dog from chewing. They include things such as Bitter Apple, pepper, vinegar, or anything else you can apply to an object to make it distasteful to your dog.

Touch: aversives in this category are unpleasant for your dog to feel. This includes the shock from a mat or shock collar, spray from a spray bottle, sticky surfaces, and slippery surfaces.

Sound: these aversives create noises that dogs find disturbing. Things such as a shaker can, air horn, vacuum cleaner, and a whistle fall into this category.

Why Use Aversives

Aversives are used to deter dogs from doing things you don’t like. They shouldn’t be used in place of other training. Using aversives is most effective when paired with obedience training.

The following are some situations in which people might use aversives:

Some people put tin foil, double-sided tape, or a shock mat on the sofa to teach their dogs not to climb on the furniture.

A squirt from a bottle of water or the sound of pennies shaking in a tin can stop your dog from jumping on the counters, chewing something you don’t want him to chew, or barking.

Shock collars can also be used as a deterrent to chewing or chasing objects, or to teach a dog to stay on his property.

Problems with Using Aversives

You should consider your options with great care before using aversives as part of any training program. While aversives may be effective in some situations, there are a number of problems associated with their use.

Effectiveness differs between dogs. When it comes to aversives, the effectiveness depends on the dog. One dog may stop in his tracks at the sound of a shaker can full of pennies while another may not even blink. While some dogs may stop chewing the table leg at the first taste of Bitter Apple, some dogs have been known to enjoy the taste, thus making them more likely to chew the item. When using aversives, pay attention to your dog’s reaction to make sure they’re actually serving the purpose for which you intended them.

Loss of effectiveness over time. Sometimes aversives become less effective the more you use them. For instance, if you spray your dog with water from a spray bottle for jumping on the counter, it may startle him and cause him to jump off. After a few sprays, however, he may be used to it, and the spray will no longer have any effect.

Can make a fearful dog more fearful. Fearful dogs usually don’t react well to aversives. A loud noise that might simply startle one dog off the kitchen counter, can make a fearful dog fearful of ever entering the kitchen again. In this case, an aversive is actually too effective, and it can break down your dog’s trust in you.

Dog may associate the aversive with you. Another problem with aversives is that you are often in control of them, so they only happen when you’re around. For instance, your dog may stop counter surfing when you spray him with the spray bottle, but he’ll soon learn that he only gets sprayed when you are in the room. Here you are not training him not to counter surf, you are only teaching him not to counter surf when you’re around.

May cause aggression. One recent study done at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed what many dog trainers already believed – dogs who are punished are more likely to react with aggression. This is the case with some aversives. If you give your dog a leash correction or hit him, for instance, he may growl, snap, or bite in response.