First, before beginning crate training, you have first to find the right crate for your dog. There are several types of crates, some made of Aluminum, steel, and plastic. Sometimes dog behavior can determine the cage you will buy, for example, dogs that are chewers and scratchers, crate made using steel or aluminum is the best. For small dogs like French bulldogs or pugs, a quick search online for pug crate size will give you several options to choose.
Now that you have the right crate for your dog, you need to start training immediately. Generally, crate training is not a one day process; it can take several days and even weeks. The training period is determined by dog age, temperament, and earlier experiences. It is important to note two things before beginning the crate training. The crate should be associated with freebies and toys. Food dispensing toys are the best especially for small dogs like pugs. Crate training should also be done in steps.
Step 1: Introduce the dog to the crate
Introducing the dog to the crate is the first step of cage training. Place crate in the living room where there are family members. Make the crate comfortable by placing a soft blanket inside. Open the dog and allow your dog to explore the crate.
Some dogs will automatically get curious and they will get inside the crate and even start sleeping there at their leisure. If your dog is not the curious one:
- Open the crate dog and take your dog over to the crate talking to them nicely.
- Drop some food treats near the crate all the way to the door and inside the crate. The first day the dog may refuse to go inside, do not worry take time and do not force them.
- Continue throwing the food treats inside the crate until the dog will feel comfortable to go and get the treats calmly.
The dog may not enter the crate on the first day. It can take several minutes or even days but finally, the pet will enter the crate.
Step 2: Feed your dog inside the crate
Before you can place the food inside the crate, first feed them their regular meals near the crate so that he can have a good association however if the dog is comfortable entering the crate, place the food inside the crate at the back.
If the dog is reluctant to enter, have their bowl placed where they can go without fear. During subsequent feeding, place the dish little further inside the cage.
Once you realize the dog can comfortably eat inside the crate, close the door for some time while they are eating and open it once they are done. Increase the time you close the door with subsequent feeding. Make sure the dogs can at least stay for 10 minutes after they are through with eating. If the dog whines and barks to be let out of the crate do not let him go out until he stops, otherwise the dog will learn that the only way out of the crate is by whining.
Step 3: Try to crate your dog for a longer period
Now that your dog is comfortable having meals inside the crate, it is time to confine him for a longer period. Below are the steps.
- Call your dog near the crate and offer them a treat.
- Give the dog command like “Cage” while pointing inside the crate with a food treat he loves in your hand.
- Once the dog goes inside the crate, offer them the treat and close the door.
- Stay near the crate for at least four minutes and quietly go to another room. Return silently after a short time. Open the door and let him out.
- Repeat the above process on several days increasing the time the dog spends in the crate.
- If your dog can stay in the crate for more than 30 minutes, it is the time now you should leave the dog to sleep in the crate over the night or when gone for a short period.
Now that your dog can stay for more than 30 minutes, it is time to leave them inside the crate when leaving home. To avoid anxiety, arrive silently and crate them for a longer period before you let them out. Keep in mind that crate training is a process and can take several weeks or months before your dog can comfortably enjoy staying in his own place’ cage’.