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How to Crate Train Your Dog or Puppy Fast!

Updated on November 5, 2015

Things you need to begin training.

The first couple of things you need to get before the training can begin are:

  • A crate that is sized correctly for your dog. (See below on how to size properly)
  • A medium to small blanket or towel for your puppy depending on it's size.
  • Bag of soft training treats.
  • Favorite toy.
  • Favorite rawhide or chew toy.
  • Blanket that can cover the entire crate.
  • Puppy pads if you are still potty training your dog.
  • And of coarse your puppy!

Once you have all of these items gathered close by you can begin the training.

Sizing your kennel properly.

When you start looking for a kennel don't forget to think about the size your dog will grow to be. You can start with a smaller one and upgrade as he/she becomes larger if you like. I find it easiest to get a crate that will fix my dog when he is full grown. This also gives them space to move around when they are a puppy. I think they become more comfortable with the kennel if they have a little more room.

Please make sure to measure your dog or check how big the bread gets when it is full grown. Also remember to get a crate with a plastic tray in the bottom and not just the metal bars. Those bars can be uncomfortable on little paws when walking around.

Remember you want this to be a SAFE, happy place for you dog.

Portable Kennels

When shopping around for a kennel I suggest starting with a metal framed portable kennel. This way you can take it with you when visiting family and friends. If you get the fabric kennels while you are still training your puppy there is a chance they will be able to rip through it or chew on it. They are less likely to damage the metal framed kennels.

Once you have trained your puppy to use his kennel and do not have to worry about him tearing it you can purchase an extra fabric kennel for traveling.

If you travel a lot or prefer you can also look into getting a plastic crate, like you would use for air travel. This also doesn't need a plastic tray as the bottom is solid plastic.

Let the training begin!

Setup your kennel in a permanent location. You want this to be a SAFE zone for your puppy. Somewhere where they go when they want to relax, and enjoy being. If you are constantly moving their kennel they have trouble knowing where it is you want them to go.

The best way for your puppy to learn is through repetition! The more you do this and keep things consistent, the faster your puppy will learn what it is you want them to do. And they will be happy to do it for you!

After you the kennel set up you will want to come up with a "Name" (Command) for the kennel. When I am training a puppy I use the word HOME. Because for me that should be a happy comfortable place. You do not want your puppy to think it is being punished when he/she goes into the kennel. It is simply a "Time out" zone.

- Step One

Sit on the floor with your puppy and the bag of soft treats near by. You may also want to have the favorite toy and rawhide/chewy near by. Begin by opening the kennel door and placing a treat right in front of the opening. Let your puppy eat it as you say the command "Home".

Next place a trail of treats into the kennel. Say "Home" to your puppy and allow him/her to eat the trail of treat. This should lead him into the kennel. Reward him and allow him to come out on his own. Do this a few time so that he is ok with going in and out of the kennel.

- Step Two

Now that he has been in the kennel and sniffed around a bit you can place a few treats inside the kennel. Say your command for going into the kennel and then close the door behind him. wait a few seconds after he has had all the treats and open the door back up. Do not reward for coming out of the kennel. (No petting and saying good boy in the way out, only in)

Now put the toy and rawhide into the kennel with only one soft toy. Use your command word and close the door once he is inside. Wait a longer amount of time. If he stats to bark you need to use your "Mommy or Daddy Voice" with him and say no or whatever sound you make for "No, that is not ok."

Once he quiets and hopefully lays down or sits you can open the door and let him out again. Repeat this a few times while making the time he spends in the kennel longer each time. Make sure his toy and or rawhide are in there to keep him busy and occupied on something other than the fact he is not in your lap.

- Step Three

Now that you have introduced your puppy to the crate there are a few things you need to do. One remember to place a puppy pad in the kennel, either in the front or back so that he know where to go if he can't hold it any more.

Leave the door open during the time he is not in the kennel and place his favorite toys in there. He will go in and bring them out to play with. This is good at reinforcing the kennel being a fun place for him to go. Also he may go in there to take a nap and or escape from other family pets or kids.

You can also drape a large blanket over the kennel to block out some light and other distractions around. This can sometimes help with barking as it mean "nap time".

Make a plan and stick with it!

Remember training a puppy is all about repetition! Keep a set time of the day when your puppy will have kennel time. Because I am not awake to watch my puppy at night he has a set bedtime of 9-10pm. He is not given food 2 hours before he can only have water. He is also taken out to try to potty once right before he goes in his kennel.

He also goes out right when we get up in the morning and has started making it through the night without using the puppy pad in the kennel. At first we had to tell him no to the barking. If barking lasts more than a few minutes then he is not listening and you need to sternly use your "mommy or daddy voice" to quiet him.

This is also when the blanket can come in handy as it blocks out distractions. You should also think about putting the kennel in a room that you will not be in so they do not wine because they can see you and want to come out. This may work in reverse with some dogs.

This is also why it is good to pick a time that is not to late at night in case he barcks the first few nights. He will slowly get use to going into his kennel and come to expect it at that time. Remember to always use your kennel command when sending your dog to his kennel. After he is used to it and goes in on command you can use this to teach him another great command.

When you bring your dog to someone's house he can get very excited and want to jump up on people. If he is kennel trained using a command like "HOME", and not just put in the kennel, you can use that command anywhere. Even if you don't have a kennel!

You bring him into a room that is quiet without a lot of people. Point to a spot and say your kennel command word. Tell him to lay down and stay and then say the command one more time. Then when you allow him out with the other people if you need to send him for a "time out" all you have to do is say the kennel command. He should go right to the spot you wicked and lay down.

Remember it all starts with the kennel training!

Final Tips

Remember that more talkative breads may have a harder time getting used to not barking while in the kennel. Do NOT put your dog in the kennel right away and leave. He WILL bark almost nonstop until he is tired. this is NOT a good way to train your puppy. It will make him think that the kennel is a bad place. You want him to think it is his place and that he is happy in it. It is not a bad thing so do not drag him into it. You may lead by holding his collar but do not push him in if he doesn't want to go. You have to make him walk in by himself or you will always be pushing him in.

Once he is older and house trained you can take away the puppy pad and just have a blanket and some toys in there for him.

If you have the kennel in the same room as you do not talk to him while he is in there. It may excite your puppy and he might start to bark to get your attention when you stop giving it to him. You need to pretend he is in his house and he is fine and happy. That way you don't need to call his name or say good boy. He knows he is being good.

When you let him out, do NOT pet him and give him attention and say good boy. Let him out like nothing happened and occupy him with something else like a trip outside to go potty. The kennel should not be a big deal. The bigger the deal you make it, the harder it will be for him.

As your puppy grows older and is house trained you can also add a water and or food dish to the kennel depending on when he is going to be in there.

Good Luck and have fun with your new puppy!

I hope this information about crate/kennel training your puppy was helpful for the both of you. Please let me know if I missed something, or you have another way to crate train. I would love to hear some different ideas about what works for you and what doesn't.

© 2009 RedZulu

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    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 8 years ago

      great hub interesting and very informative. thank you for sharing i'm sure a lot of people need help with this and it's nice to know someone has such good advice..