Rosedale Doodles: Tips and Tricks for Crate Training a Puppy

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Abigail Nordell of Rosedale Doodles suggests that there is no right or wrong way to train a puppy, but rather ‘it’s about what works for you.’ Crate training a puppy may appear daunting to the uninitiated, but following a few simple pointers can help training to go more smoothly.

Crate training can be used with both puppies and older dogs, although a puppy will typically get the hang of things a little faster. It is important to select the right crate for the dog, ensuring that it is large enough to allow them to stand and turn around easily. They should be able to lie in their crate comfortably, allowing sufficient space for the dog, their bedding and a water bowl.

Dog crates may be made from metal, plastic or even fabric and are available from most pet shops. Most dog owners favour metal crates as they are usually collapsible, but the choice is really down to the owner. However, experts often caution against using fabric crates, as these present the risk of escape should the dog tear the fabric.

Once the dog owner has found the right crate, it should be placed in a quiet area of the home that receives less footfall, providing a peaceful haven should the dog feel anxious or overwhelmed. Blankets can be draped over the crate to make it feel cosier and more inviting. There will need to be comfortable bedding inside for the dog to lie on. Before starting to crate train, it is important for all family members, particularly children, to understand that the crate is a calm space for the puppy where they should not be disturbed.

Dog owners should start crate training by removing their pet’s collar and introducing them to the new pen, opening the door and allowing the dog free access inside. The process should not be rushed; it is important to allow the dog to go at their own pace to build confidence, rewarding them with attention and affection without rushing to close the door. The dog owner may opt to place their pet’s favourite treats and toys inside to tempt them in.

Gradually increasing the dog’s interaction with the crate is key, closing the door for just a short period to begin with before increasing the duration incrementally over time. This helps to reassure the puppy that they will always be let out, helping to avoid the risk of them coming to see the crate as a punishment.

A crate provides a dog with a safe space, helping them to feel secure in the house during the night by providing a personal den. Dogs should see their crate as a comforting environment: a soothing retreat where they can rest. Rather than being used as a means of punishment, the crate should always be a positive place that helps the dog to feel safe.

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