How to get your dog to love their crate, and why you should!
Crate training is an integral part of a lot of training your new rescue will need. We NEED a crate in order to help create a safe space for our new dogs, potty train our puppies and create much needed separation so our dogs can learn how to self soothe and be alone.
First things first, let's toss out this outdated idea of a crate being a “jail”. You might see bars, but your dog sees a den. Purchase a cover so that you can avoid the eye sore and also to help create a more “den like” space for your pooch. This is all about creating a home, a designated space for your pup inside YOUR home. So for the sake of your sanity and my love of alliterations, we shall call the crate your dogs “Palace” and together we will help both you and your dog gain a positive association to this new special spot.
Palace Parties: The Rules
Palace Parties are exclusive Closed Door Events: What this means is, once your pup goes in, the palace gates shut behind them.
In the Palace, there are very fancy “royalty” grade goodies that can only be found inside the palace.
These can include: Stuffed Kongs, Stuffed Femur bones, Stuffed Hooves, Yak Chews, Bones of any kind
Comfort item: This can be a T-shirt or sock that smells like you. *See below for an easy comfort toy DIY*
Once your dog leaves the palace, all palace items leave too, never to be seen again except for in the palace.
The idea here being that they might do inside of their palace voluntarily looking for that Kong or Bone etc.
In Order to leave the Palace, your dog must offer 5 Golden Minutes of Silence before the draw bridge opens.
This helps to teach your pup to be calm in their crate in order to get out. If they are crying or barking when you open the door they have learned that crying or barking is the way to get the door open.
Be very careful when attempting to crate train new or nervous dogs, if your dog starts chewing on the bars pull them out immediately and contact a trainer to work through this anxiety.
Keep your parties short and sweet!
Start with increments of 10-15 minutes, just long enough for your dog to enjoy the bone/ specialty item they have before getting upset.
Gradually increase the time in the crate week by week until you can have a successful 1 hour crate time, now your dog is ready to have you leave the house while they’re in the crate.
Different dogs have different timelines, if your dog falls in love with their palace and the special stuff they get when they go in there right away, awesome! If your dog needs a full two weeks to stay in for 30 minutes, that's awesome too! Remember, we are always working at their pace.
There you have it! Palace parties fit for the royal pup in your life. Remember to have fun with training and not to stress too much on the little stuff. If your dog is screaming or crying in their crate after the 15 minute mark WAIT! They need to be quiet for 5 solid minutes before that door opens, for some dogs it can take hours just to be able to give you 5 minutes. Hang in there! So long as your dog is not hurting themselves, they’ll be ok. It will get better.
Bonus: DIY Comfort toy
Get a pair of tube socks and a tennis ball.
Wear the socks to bed one night
If you have a partner or roommate (or kids), have them wear one sock and you wear the other.
Stuff the socks together to make 1 sock.
Take a Tennis ball and stuff it down into the toes area
Knott the top of the socks
This comfort toy promotes bonding, the oils from your feet will seep into the socks and will be released whenever your dog chews on them. This helps them to self soothe and they’ll associate the smell to spending time with mom/dad/etc.
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