It must be puppy season or something, because the amount of destroyed crate pictures I’m scrolling through on my timeline is astounding. It’s so astounding that I broke out my good ol’ laptop to write up a quick blurb on how to keep your dog and house safe from each other. So let’s start, shall we?
If your dog is constantly tearing up their crate in an attempt to break out, then we must go back to the very basics. Meaning you must actually take the time and crate train your dog. I typically go about crate training a couple different ways, but the number one rule on what NOT to do is use the crate as punishment. The crate is a safe and quiet place, this may take some convincing for some dogs.
How I convince those dogs:
- I feed in the crate. My dog for the first couple of weeks will only receive their meal from my hand or in their crate. No where else. This will start creating a positive association to either or, thus creating motivation.
- All GREAT things only happen in the crate. Okay, okay, besides play, that’s with me, but everything else happens in the crate. Meaning if I bought a new bone or toy, my dog will only receive it while he or she is in the crate for the first couple months of living with me.
- I water in the crate. This one is tricky, but they make these cool buckets you can get at Tractor Supply or if you want to be fancy and get the hanging ones from an online dog store, you can do that as well. Anyways, keep water in the crate and leave the door open if your dog is not in there. Just like food, if needs are met in the crate then we are creating a much different association in a positive light.
- Don’t just lock up your dog when you’re leaving. If you always crate your dog only when you’re about to hit the road then you’re creating a negative association, the opposite of what we want to do. Your dog wants to be with you, so teaching them how to be alone without you completely leaving will be mind-blowing for your furry friend. I typically have at least a 30 minute to a 2 hour “quiet time” at some point of the day where my dog is crated as I’m carrying out household chores.
- For some dogs I will cover their crate once they’re inside. This limits on what they can see and muffles some sounds. Making the crate the quiet place we talked about in the first paragraph.
- Ignore the dog while in the crate. Do not look, do not say anything, do not touch, etc. UNLESS your dog is quiet in the crate. If they’re throwing a ruckus and you give them any sort of attention or worse, let them out then you sat back training tenfold. I know it’s tough, but stick to your guns. If you’re consistent your dog will pick up quickly that the only way they’re coming out is if they’re calm.
Crate training takes time, but if done correctly it can be less than a week to have a dog behave calmly in a crate. Yes, exercise and boredom can play into your dog’s behavior, but more often than not it is the lack of understanding on why they need to be crated in the first place. Teach the basics so your dog understands. Create positive associations with the things that will make you and your dog’s life easier over the years.
Last tip: I always recommend to start crate training in an airport crate or plastic crate, as they’re a bit more solid for teaching the foundation. Once they grasp the subject, then you may switch to a wire crate if you choose.