photo courtesy of D. Hutchison Photography

Crate Training


BayBriar Kennel
Uniting Dog And Owner Through Education
Jeannette Hutchison 31834 Geib Rd. Cordova, Md. 21625 410-820-2041


I recommend all dogs be crate trained. If crate training is done properly dogs will like their crates and return to them to sleep because they know it’s a safe haven and a place they can call their own. Crates can be used for many reasons. House breaking a puppy is much easier when a crate is used. Puppies will make a greater effort to hold their waste for a longer period of time if they know they have to live with it. Dogs should not have freedom in the house if they have not earned that right. If a dog chews things he shouldn't when he is left alone don't leave him loose in your house hoping that he will outgrow the problem. The more he chews the more of a habit it will become. If it's raining out and the dog comes in and is all wet he can be crated until he dries off. Dogs can be separated for eating if you have several dogs. Dogs can go with you to many places if they are crate trained. Their crate is a home away from home and is a familiar place no matter where you go.

I do not want any dog to be crated for extended periods of time. A crate is not an alternative to training. Dogs need and must have plenty of exercise each and every day. All the training in the world is no good without exercise. Dogs behave much better if they get plenty of supervised exercise.

Crates come in many sizes, shapes and materials. There are wire crates which allow for full visibility and good air circulation. There are plastic crates which are less expensive and they cut down on drafts. I like the plastic crates for house breaking puppies. I will also use the plastic crates for male dogs if the have a habit of lifting their leg and urinating out the side of the crate.

The size of the crate is important. Dogs need to be able to stand up, turn around and lay down stretched out when crated. There needs to be room for water if the dog is going to be left for any length of time. He should have soft bedding to sleep on and a toy or two to keep him occupied.

What crate you choose is up to you. Decide what you want a crate for. Is it just going to stay in one place and not be moved around much? Are you going to take it with you when you travel from place to place? Is it hot or cold weather? You may want a wire crate in the summer and a plastic one in the winter. How much does your dog shed? Wire crates allow hair to fall out all around the crate. Plastic crates seem to confine the hair and dirt from feet a little bit better.


Now that you have decided on which crate to buy, we will discuss training the dog to like the crate. I never use the crate as punishment. If the dog has been bad I go get him and put him in a down stay for a few minutes.
Put your dog on leash so you can keep control of him through the exercises.

I use a clicker to shape the behavior of the dog getting into the crate. Shaping means you mark small approximations to the end behavior. You need to think about the steps involved, before you begin training, so you are ready to teach your dog. Have your clicker and rewards ready so you can reward any interaction your dog has with the crate. Once he has shown interest you need to know what you want to click so he learns to get in the crate. Do not lure the dog to get in, shape the behavior instead. Once you have taught him that getting in the crate pays off, you can add a command to the act of getting in. Next he needs to get in when he is told. Duration to staying in the crate is taught by increasing the length of time between clicks slowly. He needs to learn that he should not come out when you open the door until released.


© 2008 CDog Run Agility