This blog has been around for a few years now, yet I have never covered crate training. Why? Mainly because there are a lot of good video’s out there on the subject and there wasn’t a huge demand. With 11 new pups in homes and several people emailing me with questions on barking, howling at night, etc I thought maybe it was a good time to a small video on crating.
Some things to note.
For the next few months of your puppies life, they should get a treat for going into their crate. Every… single… time! It can be a hard treat that they must crunch up and eat or it can be a few softer treats. Also acceptable are treat ball toys, food puzzle toys, a meal, pigs ear, hard bone, etc. If you ask them to go into the crate even for 1 minute they should get a treat.
There are 4 times your dog should get treats.
- When the dog is crated.
- When the dog is tethered.
- When the dog is on a place mat.
- When the dog is training.
At no other time should you give a puppy food. Unless you are actively engaging that dogs mind or attempting to socialize him into enjoying a situation, he gets no treats.
BUT… when are you training? Training can include asking the dog to go potty and they do so they get a “TREAT”. Calling the dog over while it is playing and thus leaving a great fun place to come be with you “TREAT”. Sitting quietly while you cook dinner “TREAT”. Each situation is training, because you are rewarding the dog for doing something you like. Reward what you like and you will get more of those things.
When should you not treat? If the dog is barking. If the dog runs over and bumps into you or jumps up on you. If the dog is out of control in any way. If the dog is demanding something from you, like pawing you to get you to give him something. You can turn your back and ignore the wrong behavior or you can give them a sign that is not desirable. I use “AHH” or “wrong” or some audible sound to let them know that is not something I enjoy (like popping the top of the crate in the video and saying “Quiet!” when they are barking. ) Sometimes the dog needs a clue what exactly they are doing wrong. Yes you can get the desired results from removing the dog and yourself from a situation, but it takes longer to see results because the dog will have to think harder to figure out what it is doing to make you just go away.
Put yourself in the dogs shoes, think about learning a new language. What is the quickest way to learn? You will learn best if you have a clear understanding of “YES” and “NO”. So, teach your dog what yes means and also teach the dog what no means. Otherwise they will have to figure out what exactly caused you to go away.
Example: Dog is in the crate. It is sitting and howling. You leave the room. The dog has to first understand you left because they were doing something wrong. Which thing was wrong? Sitting or howling?
If you are constantly rewarding sit, they will learn that is something you like. How do you teach them howling is not something you like. If they are crated, you can pop the top of the crate and say “HUSH”. Or you can cover the crate with a blanket and say “QUIET”. The act of covering the crate will be interesting and likely make them stop for a minute, then you can tell them ‘good job’ and treat them for quiet. There is nothing wrong with teaching your dog what “WRONG” or “NO” or “AHH” means and why they should respect that word. Push them in the shoulder and say “Quiet”. Interrupt the behavior. Do not hurt them. Do not frighten them. Simply let them know you do not like it when they howl, it is not acceptable behavior.
Dog training is not easy, because our dogs are watching us constantly. They see when we are not consistent. They note when they can get away with something. They are very much like a toddler, noting everything you do and finding the best time to test how serious we are about that specific rule. If you pay extra attention to your puppy now and for the next few months, it will pay off 100 fold in the years to come.