Mon-Fri 8 to 5:30
Sat. by appointment only
31310 Woodhaven Trail
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
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651-222-0885 Twin Cities
Like wolves, dogs are den
animals and love the security of their own space. Dogs that
are properly crate trained, love to go to their crate on
their own to relax, sleep and store their toys. The crate
should be large enough for your dog to comfortably stand up
and turn around in as an adult. Never use the crate for”
time out” or punishment! It creates a negative association
with their “den or safe space”.
For crate training puppies, the first crate should be only
large enough for the puppy to comfortably stand up and turn
around in. It is harder to train them if they have too much
space. If the crate is the appropriate size, they learn that
they have a comfortable area to rest or sleep in and
typically will not urinate or defecate in that area. If
their crate is too large, from their canine perceptive they
have an area to rest in and an area to “potty” in. To save
you from purchasing several crates, pet stores may carry
divider panels to install in the larger crates.
Place the crate in a convenient location where your family
spends quiet time. It should not be placed in an isolated
room. Introduce your puppy to the crate in a positive
manner. Praise and reward him/her with treats when they
enter the crate. Curious puppies willingly enter the crate.
Reluctant puppies are a bit more work. Place a soft bed,
rug, or fleece in the crate for them to lie on. Also put
toys and bones for them to chew on, and treats for them to
eat. Each time they enter the crate, immediately praise them
and give treats. Continue to give praise and treats at
regular intervals for the duration of time he/she is in the
crate. Place a long lasting treat in the crate such as a
stuffed Kong. Encourage them to remain in the crate for 10–15 minutes each time, 6 -10 times per day until the puppy
feels comfortable in the crate.
When your puppy willingly enters their crate, and remains in
the crate for a while, you can slowly close the door without
latching it for a short period of time. If your puppy is
relaxed and quiet, reward it with praise and a treat. If it
whines, barks or scratches at the door, just shut the door
part way and open it back up. Gradually lengthen the time
the door can be closed and latched (1 second, 5 seconds, 10
seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, etc. If they react
negatively (whining, barking, or scratching at the door),
start over for shorter periods of time. Do not reprimand
them, avoid eye contact and avoid giving them attention.
When the behavior stops, (even for a second) open the door
to reward the good behavior. Do not praise them however.
Stop the session, take them outside for a “potty break”, and
then allow them to play independently in order to burn off
some energy. At this stage, do not leave the room with your
puppy in the crate and the door latched.
When your puppy willingly accepts being in the crate with
the door shut and latched (does not whine, bark, or
scratch), you can start leaving the room for short periods
of time. If they are quiet, reward them with praise and
treats. Spend several daily sessions (gradually increasing
distance and length of time) when your puppy is in the crate
and you are out of the room.
Gradually increase the length
of time to accommodate your lifestyle or work schedule.
Always provide them with bones to chew on and non
destructible toys to play with.
When you return to the room with the crate, let them out and
quietly praise them. Take them outside for a “potty break”
and play with them. If possible, spend quality time and
obedience train them.
Always leave the crate doors open if you are not actively
training. Allow them the freedom to come and go as they
please. They quickly learn that the crate is a place of
comfort. Once they are comfortable, the crate can be moved
to another location, if needed.