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A variety of a soft crate.

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Your dog should now be comfortable in his crate for five minutes with you still in direct sight of the crate.  You are probably practicing while watching tv with your family, reading a book, or talking on the phone.

Next I’m going to ask you to do something that you might find strange.  Find your dog’s favorite toy and put it up.  Allow your dog to have it only when he is in his crate.  This way we’re going to make the crate an extra special place to be.

Ready to get back to crate training?  Here we go:

  • For now, put your dog’s food in his crate.  This won’t be long-term, it’s just for now, so that your dog can associate all things “good” with his crate.  Do not leave him in his crate after he has finished his meal.
  • Now that your dog is going into and out of his crate successfully and only getting good things in the crate you can begin leaving him confined in his crate for short periods of time.  Go into another room for a few minutes, return to your dog so he knows you are still in the house, then walk away again.  Release your dog after about five minutes and calmly ignore him for a moment.  Remember, don’t make a fuss about letting him out of his crate.
  • Practice the previous step again a bit later, gradually increasing the amount of time your dog remains in his crate.  Make sure you vary how long he stays in his crate.  Sometimes let him out after 30 second, sometimes five minutes and sometimes a bit longer.  During this step it might be a good idea to try crating your dog while you are eating meals.  Don’t forget to put his favorite toy in with him.
  • You may be able to get to this point in one day with some dogs.  With others, it will take longer.  Don’t push it.  It all depends on your dog.  They are just as different from dog to dog as one person is to another, at least I think they are.
  • When your dog has reached the point where he is comfortable being in his crate for about 30 minutes (remember don’t push it) he can begin sleeping in his crate at night.  Take his food out of his crate at this point. His dog bed can go into his crate so he is comfortable.  If it doesn’t fit, there are beds specifically designed to fit in crates.  It is very important, especially with a puppy, that the crate be located near your bedroom so you can wake up when your dog needs to go outside to go potty.  Some puppies as young as 8-10 weeks can sleep through the night, most can not.  The entire purpose of crate training will be defeated if your dog learns that it’s ok to go potty in his crate.
  • As soon as you wake up in the morning take your dog directly outside to go potty.

We’ll continue with the next steps tomorrow.  If you have questions, comments, etc. please feel free to leave a comment.  I’ll do my best to help you.