The crate is a an opportunity for treats not a Punishment
Crate training is great for settling your dog, house training, preventing and treating separation anxiety and managing your pup from chewing and destroying.
Dogs have a natural tendency to create den’s so if taught right your dog will love their crate. Have you noticed how they often go under the table anyway?
Go with a a wire crate with just enough space for the dog to turn around in. Put it somewhere out the way but easily accessible for whenever your dog needs it.
A soft crate is not a good choice for long time periods but having your dog used to one of these too is always helpful.
Introduce your dog slowly at their own pace. Don’t just stick ‘em in there and hope for the best.
First have the door open, throw treats in and let your dog go in and out at their will. (So if getting a puppy home for the first time, try and pick up in the am so you can start this before bedtime.)
Once they are happy with this, throw a treat in, shut the door for a moment, then open it before they have to ask for it to be opened, build up to longer periods before opening the door but go at your dogs pace, if this is days then so be it.
Place a bed or mat or that jumper of yours your dog already likes into the crate. If your dog already likes that item it will hopefully make them more willing to go in.
When you are not training, leave the crate open and place your dog's toy basket or favourite toys / food puzzle inside. N.B the idea is to associate the crate with all things good.
Feeding your dog in there too helps, if they go in at will, drop a a few treats through the roof like the crate is a place where wondrous good things suddenly appear. If your dog then loves the blanket or what you have in their you can then take it to the office/ vet etc to help them be calm and happy there too and start praising and treating them for being on that in the same way you do the crate.
Adding an in and out Cue
Once you dog is happy popping in and out on their own you can add a cue by saying e.g ‘go to crate’ half a second before throwing the treat in, when they thus do go in, say your Reward Mark e.g Good, and treat. Soon your dog will go in on cue and you can begin varying if you give treats or not in order to maintain the behaviour.
Having done that you can do the same for exiting the crate by adding a cue e.g ‘out you come’ throwing the treat on the floor outside of the crate. Repeat and then phase out giving the treat so coming out is the reward instead.
Build up to them staying shut in slowly, 30s, 1 min, 2 mins. 5 mins, 10 mins, 20 mins, etc. Then reduce duration but work on distance until you can eventually go out of sight with them calm and quiet in the crate. Now add duration and being out of sight.
Give them stuff to do in the crate e.g a frozen kong so they are happy. A hot water bottle wrapped in a jumper worn by you can be comforting. Do not push them further than they are ready but if they do whine IGNORE THEM. Do not let your dog out whining or you teach them to whine to get out and get attention.
Dog’s can stay for up to eight hours over night in their crate.
For young puppies think 1 hr per month of age. Though their systems shut down when asleep so they can do a little more at night.
However you may wish to start with the crate by your bed so they don’t feel lonely and where you can easily hear when they need a pee break but build up to the crate being further from you and then a separate room so they are not dependent on you being around..
Be reasonable if you have ignored your dog all day; if they haven’t had much to do, lots to sniff a good walk etc, then no wonder they are playing up. Therefore ensure their needs are met before punishment. If their needs have been met then the crate can also be used as humane way to say ‘hey go settle, no more fun right now, you’ve been a bit unruly.’ However 99% of the time it should be a positive place or it will lose its use.