Dogs are known not to soil their resting place; let’s use this tool properly.
1. Choice of crate: There are many different types of cages on the market: transport plastic cages and metal cages through which dogs can see. You may choose the one that is most convenient for you. The size of the cage must be proportional to the size of the adult dog. The dog, once mature, must be able to lie comfortably on its back, turn on himself (herself) and be able to stand without touching the roof of the cage. At first, a part of the cage must be blocked by inserting a box or a plank of wood to prevent the puppy from using the other half of the cage.
2. Placement of the crate:Dogs are sociable animals by nature and therefore they prefer not to be isolated in a garage or laundry room. The crate should be situated in a room in which the family spends a lot of time (the family room or kitchen are excellent choices). During the first few nights that the dog will be spending in the crate, you may situate it in the bed room.
3. Transform the crate into a home:You may put a blanket in the back of the cage and toys. For a positive first impression you may put some cookies in the crate. During feeding, place the bowl in the back of the cage and leave the door open. You want the dog to enter the cage on it’s own for the first few times and that the experience is a pleasant one. Do not force the dog to enter the cage or stay in it at this point. You can accomplish this if you are able to dedicate a few nights or a weekend to the task.
4. Introduction to the crate:When the dog enters the cage on his (her) own, you may then close the door. You will have greater success if you confine the dog in the cage when he (she) is tired, i.e. after playing. First allow the dog a chance to empty his or her bladder and bowels, and then put him (her) in the crate. Using a snack, guide your pet towards the cage. You may also want to associate a command to the action i.e. house, sleep…. Close the door for a few seconds and let the dog out if he (she) is very calm, do not open the cage if the dog is barking or if he (she) is too agitated. In the case of agitated behavior, ignore the dog until he (she) calms down. Do not try to elongate this exercise to see how much the dog can endure, always keep it short and positive. When the dog exits the cage, do not make this an important event by exciting the dog. We want him (her) to think that staying in the cage is more rewarding than exiting it.
5. Long term confinement:The point of using the cage will be to avoid errors or destructive behavior. If the dog must stay in the cage for longer periods than he (she) can hold their bladder, you can initially give him (her) the whole cage.
6. Short term confinement: Every time you are not able to supervise the dog 100% of the time, he (she) should be in the crate. Make sure he (she) has had the chance to eliminate before being confined. Again, you may want to associate a command to the action of putting him (her) in the cage. Say the command, take a cookie and lure him (her) inside the cage, once inside give the treat and close the door. After many repetitions the dog will respond to the command.