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Service Dog Registration Of America

Crate Basics

2019-04-24

A crate can be a great asset and a place of calm and safety for your dog. But getting your dog to
acclimate correctly to a crate is more than simply buying one and putting the little guy in it. Like
everything else when it comes to dogs, it requires research, patience, and decision-making.
Let’s go over some of the steps you’ll want to take to make sure your dog takes to a crate
smoothly.

First thing’s first: picking the right crate. A good crate is one will be comfortable to your dog and
act as a “den.” Good crates come in metal, plastic, and even fabric. We recommend metal or
plastic crates. While fabric sounds comfy, they actually tend to lose their structure easily and
provide less space. Besides, even these harder crates are going to be filled with lots of soft
blankets and toys anyway. Make sure the crate you choose is large enough for your dog to be
able to turn around in and have a little extra space. Remember, this should be a cozy den, not a
jail cell.

Once you choose a crate, put it in a place in the house where you spend time. You don’t want
the dog to feel like when he’s in the crate he’s banished from the family. A crate far away in a
private room is not a good situation. Before you introduce your dog to the crate, set it up with
some comfy and familiar toys and blankets. You might be surprised to find that he takes to it
right away and immediately goes in and lies down. Every dog is different and that certainly
might happen! If not, get down on his level, make sure the door is open, and gently put some
treats in the crate. This will get a lot of dogs in as well, but if your little friend is still hesitant,
just be patient. Keep encouraging him softly while putting more treats inside. Eventually, you’ll
find that he warms up to the crate. Whatever you do, make sure you never force or push a dog
inside.

Once your little friend is inside, you might want to try feeding him his meals inside too. This
builds on the concept of putting treats in the crate and reinforces the idea in the dog’s mind
that the crate is a safe, cozy place where good things happen.
Once your dog is familiar and comfortable in the new space, you can begin practicing keeping
him in for longer periods of time. Don’t push it too much, but 15 to 30 minutes is a good start
for most dogs. Let him in, praise him and give him a treat. Then sit next to him for a few
minutes before moving away. You can do this several times a day and increase the time your
pet spends in the crate each time.

If all goes smoothly, you should be able to keep your dog in the crate for longer periods of up to
several hours. It’s important to remember that dogs shouldn’t be left in the crate for too long,
and certainly not for the whole day. You may find that your dog likes the crate so much that he
goes in whenever he needs to relax. If you’ve done everything right, you will have succeeded in
creating a safe, private space for your dog in the home. And this is about more than just safety
and your own peace of mind; it’s a big part of maintaining your dog’s emotional wellbeing too.