Is my dog ready to graduate from staying in his crate?

You feel like your dogs crate training has been going very well. You’re starting to wonder when you’ll be able to leave him out of the crate while you’re gone.
If you can answer yes to the following three things, you should be ready to start.

1) Is your dog an adult? Smaller dogs are dog grad bigconsidered adults sooner than larger breeds. Look into what age your dog is considered an adult.
2) Is your dog completely housebroken?
This means that he no longer has any accidents in the house.
3) Does your dog try to chew on anything other than his chew toys? In other words, do you trust that he won’t destroy anything once you’re gone?

Here are a few things you can do to gradually introduce him to his new unsupervised freedom.

Step 1 – Move his dog crate into a room with its door open. Bring your dog to this room. Give him a couple toys to occupy his time and a treat as you leave. Start with leaving him in there for 10 minutes. Try not to make any noise during this time. Sounds outside the room could cause him to bark or scratch at the door. Once the time is up, enter the room and give him a warm greeting. If he behaved well during this time give him another treat. If you are seeing that he’s comfortable and enjoying his time in the room, you can slowly increase the time. Once you reach a few hours, you should be able to start the next step.
Step 2 – Follow everything you did in Step 1 but increase his confinement area. For example, you could restrict him to half of your living space.
Step 3 – This is what you’ve been working up to. Continue what you’ve been doing in the previous steps but this time you are leaving him alone in the house.
Gradually work up to longer times until you reach the amount of time you’re usually away from home.
Note: If you come home to an accident or destructive behavior, take steps back in your training.
Also, remember that your dogs crate is his sanctuary and you should always keep his open crate available.

Barking and Running into the crate door.

I’ve been hearing dog owners describe the following behavior when crate training and think it’s worth writing about. Some dogs throw themselves into the dog crate door and/or bark when they know they are being let out.
How can you teach your dog to stop doing that?

running intoAs in all dog training, the first step is to understand why he’s doing it.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, he’s trying to show you that he wants out of the crate. He might need to go potty or just be excited to play.

For whatever reason he is trying to simply communicate,
“Hurry up and let me out!”.

If he’s doing this and you quickly let him out, guess what’s happening in your dog’s mind? He’s thinking, “Excellent. I have just successfully trained you to let me out of the crate faster.”
To correct this behavior, do the following. Any time your dog does this, stop all motion towards opening the crate. You want to consistently show him that every time he behaves this way it will have the opposite effect. If you see that he’s starting to learn the desired behavior you might also want to reward him with a treat.
Stick with it and you should see results pretty fast.

Crate Training for road trips.

Here are some thoughts on helping your dog be as comfortable and stress free as possible in your vehicle. Use a crate that he’s familiar with. He’ll be much more at ease if he’s already used to the crate. Just like people, some dogs are prone to getting carsick. If this is the case with your dog, you might want to speak with your veterinarian. He may prescribe some motion sickness medication. To help decrease your dogs stress you should gradually introduce him to car rides.

Try the following steps:Traveling Dog
1) Put the dog crate in your vehicle and secure it.
2) Give your dog his cue to enter the crate. If he’s big enough to reach the crate encourage him to go on his own. If he’s too small to jump up, you could try using a ramp. When he gets in, praise him and give him a treat. The point here is to teach him to happily enter the crate knowing that he’s going for a ride. Practice this step until your dog is comfortable going in the crate. Don’t proceed to the next step until he is.
3) Cue your dog to enter the crate. Give him a treat. Take a short drive. When you return from the drive let him out right away. Gradually work up to longer trips. If your dog is stressed out on these trips you might want to have a second person in the back with him. This person should be talking in a relaxed voice to your dog and showing him that he’s not alone. It’s also a good idea to give him treats during the trip. Remember to only give treats when he’s behaving nicely.

Traveling tips.
– Always make sure he’s gone to the bathroom just before you hit the road.
– When packing the car keep “Crate Ventilation” in mind.
– Keep temperature in mind. The sun could be heating up the rear compartment.
– Practice putting the leash on him before he gets out of the crate. In his excitement to stretch his legs you don’t want him to run into (god forbid) traffic.
– As always put a toy in his crate to keep him occupied.

Remember that each dog has his own personality and will react to travel in their own way. Learning what works best with your dog will make road trips much more enjoyable for you both.

Why is my dog crying in his crate?

There could be several reasons why your dog is crying out to you.
1) Perhaps his training schedule has progressed too fast.
Your dog should be happy and enjoying each step of his crate training.
At what point did you start seeing this undesirable behavior?
You might want to go back to that point and proceed more slowly from there.

2) It could be a matter of where the crate is located.
If your crated dog is left alone in another room or if he can’t Tearssee you, that could be the reason for him calling out for company. Try moving the crate to a place with the most family activity.
3) Maybe your dog is bored. Having a good selection of toys or bones for your dog will keep him stimulated. It’s always a good idea to keep one or two toys in the dog crate.
4) Your dog could be crying because you’re using the crate as a form of punishment. I can’t stress this enough. Please don’t do this!
This will teach him the crate is a bad place and not his sanctuary.
5) Your little guy might be crying because he doesn’t want to soil his den. The younger your dog is, the less time he can hold his bladder and bowels. You should be keeping a crate training schedule that anticipates when your dog needs to relieve himself.
6) Your dog might not be getting enough exercise. Each breed of dog has different exercise needs. Try increasing the amount of exercise he’s getting.

Each dog has his own personality and needs. Really try to understand what your dog is whining or crying about and adjust accordingly. This will make both you and your little guy much happier.