There are a number of basic skills and commands that all puppies and owners should know. These include “come”, “sit”, “down”, and “stay”. Another highly useful skill for any puppy is going into the crate on cue and staying in there quietly.
Going into the crate on cue is easy and usually pretty strong within a couple of weeks. Here are a few tips and reminders.
- Don't have a discussion with the puppy about going in the crate. Just pick him up and put him in.
- As soon as the dog is put in the crate, throw kibble in from behind him so it lands in front of him. Reward him EVERY time. Very quickly, your dog will run into the crate and wait for a reward whenever you move towards the crate. The more you repeat this pattern, the stronger the behaviour becomes. You can also feed meals in the crate as another way to build value.
Staying in the crate is much more challenging to teach. Be patient as it may take a number of years before the dog can sit quietly in their crate regardless of what’s going on outside the crate. Here are a few things to try.
- Use a large portion of your puppy’s meal as a reward for sitting quietly in the crate.
- Exercise your puppy. A tired puppy is much more likely to play quietly or sleep in his crate
- Keep your puppy occupied while he’s in the crate. Ideas include: baby carrots, chewies (I prefer not to use rawhide), frozen Kongs (go to www.kongcompany.com for great ideas), raw bones, roll a treat, egg cartons, etc.
- Be patient. Unfortunately, you will probably have to let your puppy bark it out. He needs to learn how to settle himself down.
Training a puppy isn’t an exact science. It takes time and repetition.
What kind of cue do you give your puppy to get him to go into his crate? Share your command by commenting below!