First time crate training
For those not aware, we recently welcomed Coco into our family. Coco is a Siberian Husky girl. Before we welcomed Coco home we made sure we was fully prepared for her as we wanted to make sure we had all the basics in place needed. Before we collected Coco we defiantly wanted to make sure we had a crate.
Reasons to get a crate
Our reason behind getting a crate and crate training her is because we believe a crate can help with preventing destructive and obnoxious behavior when we can’t be with her and keep her safe. We also want Coco to feel that a crate can be a safe and happy place for her to go when things get too much for her and she wants to be left alone.
A crate also helps when going out in our car to make travelling safe for her. Our aim for crate training is purely for safety and positive reasons and is never used as a punishment for her. Coco is never in her crate for long periods of time, an hour at the most.
Type of crate
When the decision was made to get a crate for Coco we then had to decide on what type of crate as there are a few different types to choose from. After our research into the crate we decided that a collapsible metal crate would be best for training her. We then had to decide on the size of crate to get.
With Coco only being a pup but a puppy that will grow quickly we went for a medium size one to start off with and will change size as and when needed. We hope that a medium size crate will be of correct size for her for a while, allowing her to have the height and movement room needed to stand and turn round.
Comfort of the crate
Cocos crate is located in our living room. This is where we are most of the time when we are at home. She can see us at all times when she is in her crate so she still feels apart of everything but feels safe at the same time. Her crate is in the corner of our living room so she gets a full view of whats going on. In her crate she has a lovely comfortable bed for added comfort
Making the crate welcoming
We wanted to make the crate a welcoming place to her, a place she will love to go so we made the crate comfortable with a bed. We made it a rewarding place to go so she gets a treat of some kind when she goes in, either a treat or her meal. We have placed a blanket over the top of the crate to cover the back and sides to give it a den feel to help her feel that bit more safer.
Length of time in the crate
Coco is only in her crate for short periods of time (no more than an hour maximum) when we ask her to go in, otherwise the crate door is left open for her to freely go in and out as she pleases. She always has access to water when inside with the door closed. We gradually increased the length of time she is in the crate starting off with just a few seconds at a time as we didn’t want her to be scared of going inside. The length of time inside the crate with the door closed was increased upon our judgment of Coco being confident enough.
Make it fun
With Coco only being a puppy everything to her is a game. We found that if we turned entering the crate into a game she listened more and picked up commands much easier. It’s a way of making learning fun. To her it is just a game but for us we are getting her to listen and do as asked but in a rewarding way so it’s a win win situation.
When playing ball after a while roll it into the crate – When it’s treat time hide 1 or 2 in the crate and say go crate – We fill her Kong toy up and ask her to go crate to have it and she can only have it if she stays in her crate, if she comes out with it we put it back inside and command go crate, this is repeated until she knows she only has it if in her crate. Another thing we do with coco is when we are doing daily training we now do them inside her crate – such as sit, down, paw etc as each command completed she gets a treat.
Coco wasn’t keen on the crate at first but we allowed her the time to get used to it being there before we introduced her more to it. We started off by getting her to enter the crate using the command go crate and come out as she wished, making it as fun as possible and using the command EVERY TIME we want her to go inside her crate.
We then got her to enter the crate and try and keep her inside for a few seconds with the door open and us sat by the door. Treats are given each time she enters the crate. I use a few treats and then some of her dry food biscuits from her meal, saves on an upset stomach. From here we then went on to feeding her some of her meals inside the crate, after a few feeds we then gradually worked ourselves further away from the crate door leaving it open.
Once we felt Coco was happy enough we then went on to closing the door, starting off with a few seconds at a time and gradually increasing this each time. We always reward with a treat of some kind upon entering the crate, NEVER on coming out – reason being because we want it to be more fun staying put once inside otherwise she will be crying to come out to get a treat. We want her thinking that her crate is a good positive place to be!
We have had Coco six weeks now and she is currently happy to go in and out of her crate on her own. It took a few weeks to get her to do so but being patient paid off in the end. We have now moved on to Crate training Coco in the car – so far it is going very well. If you would like to follow our travels and adventures you can do so over on our travel blog.
Do you have a pet?