Amy Nickels DVM

Whether you have just brought home your first puppy or recently adopted an adult dog, providing a safe environment to rest is very important for you and your pet’s relationship. A dog’s natural instinct is to find a quiet area where they can escape when needing rest or recuperation from the day. Most dogs won’t eliminate where they sleep and eat, so crate training can also be a big help with housetraining. A crate also provides a safe place to go when scared or nervous, and can be a great way to keep them out of trouble when you are not able to provide proper supervision.

Crates, especially when you are beginning training, should be just large enough for dogs to sit, stand, lie on their side, and turn around comfortably. If the crate is too large, your dog may try to potty in one area and sleep at the other end.

Aim to make the crate one of your dog’s favorite areas of the house. You can feed meals in the crate as well as use it for bed and nap times. You may also want to give your dog a special chew tow that can only be enjoyed in the crate. Avoid using the crate as a place of punishment, such as time-outs for bad behavior.

Adopting a command word such as “crate” or “kennel” will help your dog to eventually associate the word with the action of putting himself in the crate. After you’ve said the command and your dog has gone inside the crate, give him treats and lots of praise immediately, and close the crate door for about 5 minutes. Praise your dog again once you let him back out. Over the next several days to weeks, gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends in the crate.

Dogs with separation anxiety can be difficult to crate train, and their anxiety behaviors may actually worsen if you attempt to keep them in a crate. Discuss your dog’s behaviors with your veterinarian to see if professional training or anxiety medication may be necessary.

Crates can be a wonderful way to keep your dog safe and comfortable, but it is important to know your dog’s limits. No dog should spend the majority of the day in a crate! If you have any questions regarding crate training, don’t hesitate to call us at (931) 393-2707!Aim to make the crate one of your dog’s favorite areas of the house. You can feed meals in the crate as well as use it for bed and nap times. You may also want to give your dog a special chew tow that can only be enjoyed in the crate. Avoid using the crate as a place of punishment, such as time-outs for bad behavior.

Adopting a command word such as “crate” or “kennel” will help your dog to eventually associate the word with the action of putting himself in the crate. After you’ve said the command and your dog has gone inside the crate, give him treats and lots of praise immediately, and close the crate door for about 5 minutes. Praise your dog again once you let him back out. Over the next several days to weeks, gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends in the crate.

Dogs with separation anxiety can be difficult to crate train, and their anxiety behaviors may actually

worsen if you attempt to keep them in a crate. Discuss your dog’s behaviors with your veterinarian to see if professional training or anxiety medication may be necessary.

Crates can be a wonderful way to keep your dog safe and comfortable, but it is important to know your dog’s limits. No dog should spend the majority of the day in a crate! If you have any questions regarding crate training, don’t hesitate to call us at (931) 393-2707!