Hi, it’s Linda again from Cause and Effect Dog Training.

Welcome to video 5. In this video, we’re covering a topic that can sometimes can be a little contentious – crate training. Dogs have a genetic trait to look for a confined, covered area just like a den where they feel safe and comfortable and they can safely rest. When crate training is done properly, and we use a lot of positive reinforcement to build up a positive association to that area, your dog will learn to love his crate. It gives him somewhere he can feel safe. He can be relaxed. He knows that he’s not going to be disturbed. You will find with a lot of dogs, they look for areas where they can have a “shelter” over them, so under chairs, under tables, under beds. What they’re really looking for is that genetically programmed need to find an enclosed space where they feel safe and comfortable, and they can just totally relax. That is the idea behind crate training your dog.

The other thing about crates though, is it’s not just about giving your dog somewhere to sleep. Crates are a tool that we use in so many different ways. For example, if you wanted to go on a holiday or a camping trip, if your dog was crate trained, you could just take the crate, and put it up when you get there. You don’t have to worry about your dog wandering off if you aren’t paying attention or getting tangled up in his tether lead. Your dog is safe, he’s in his crate. He’s happy, he’s relaxed.

Another advantage of crate training is actually traveling. If you’ve got a dog that’s crate trained, you can pop the dog in his crate in the car. It makes it a lot safer for not only the dog, but for you as a driver, so you’re not getting distracted by the dog jumping around the car. If your dog needed to stay overnight at the vet’s, if he’s crate trained, it’s that much less stress that he’s liable to feel because he’s used to being confined in a small area like that. It’s also great for families, especially families with little kids, because little kids by their nature, move fast. Their speech is also a higher pitch, all of which can hype a puppy up and get him super excited. This is when they can become nippy and learn inappropriate behaviours around children. So when we crate train the puppy, not only do we create a buffer to be able to manage your child and the puppy’s interactions, but we also are teaching the puppy to be calm and relaxed around the chaos that we all know can happen with children in the house.

We also need to talk about the correct size of a crate. When you’re looking at buying a crate for your puppy, you can buy a crate that’s going to suit him as an adult, but we want to put a divider in the crate so that the puppy has enough room to lie down comfortably, stand comfortably, but it’s not so big that he can sleep at one end, and go up the other end and toilet. We are also wanting to create that nice comfy, safe feeling, so you want to cover the crate up on three sides and just have the front open, so it gives him that nice, comfortable feeling in there as well.

The thing that you really need to remember about crates is that they are not used as a punishment tool. The whole idea of crating and teaching crating is to build up positive associations for your dog and give him his own little space, his own bedroom, where he can learn to relax, where he can rest. He knows he’s not going to be disturbed.