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Crate training can help with potty training, discourage unwanted behaviors and make traveling with your dog easier. Professional dog trainer Amber Aquart shares her expert insights on how to make the crate training process go smoothly!

Pick the Right Crate for Your Dog

It’s important to pick an appropriate size for your dog’s crate. In order for your dog to be completely comfortable in their crate, they should be able to stand up, lie down, and turn around. If you have a growing puppy on your hands, be sure to choose a crate that will fit them at their full-grown size, and use a crate divider to slowly give them more space over time.

Pick the right size crate for your dog

Don’t Set Your Dog Up for Failure

Recognize that your dog’s crate is a cage and not a den. Many dogs won’t naturally go to their crate if it has no previous positive association, so don’t expect your dog to always want to be in their crate. Here are some realistic scenarios that can occur while crate training a dog. Keep these in mind to avoid setting up your dog for failure: 

Make the Crate a Positive Place

Make the crate the comfiest place in the house by adding a cozy bed and giving your dog all of their favorite treats and chews while they’re in their crate! It can be really beneficial to give your dog a special bone or food-filled toy to chew while inside their crate to teach them that great things happen in the crate. Try setting your crate up in a spot that your dog naturally likes to be. Many dogs want to be in the same room as their human(s) while in their crate. This can help your dog feel more comfortable being in their crate because they won’t feel alone.

If your dog likes peace and quiet, covering their crate with a blanket can help them feel settled in their crate. You can also play some music or white noise to drown out distracting or startling noises.
Many times, I suggest using a snuffle mat or chew in your dog’s crate before they need to sleep to help them decompress. Be sure to never leave your pup with chews unattended.

Enrich Before Crating

It is absolutely necessary that you make sure your dog’s needs are fully met before crate training. This means making sure they’re already physically and mentally exercised and have received enough enrichment

A few timely things to consider before you putting your dog in their crate include:

If you’re having a hard time meeting your dog’s needs, reach out to a dog trainer, dog walker, or doggie day care to ensure that your dog is fulfilled.

Overview of Crate Training Do’s and Don’ts

Overall, crate training can be great for your dog if you take the time and precautions to ensure that it is a positive experience! 

Cats Can Be Crate Trained Too!

Don’t forget about the furry felines! Crate training can be extremely helpful for cats and cat parents as well, especially to prepare them for travel, moving, or vet visits. Many of the same do’s and don’ts discussed for dogs are applicable to cats, too.

About the Author

Amber Oliver Aquart is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Studio Animal Trainer, Pet Lifestyle Expert and Influencer. Amber and her pet family have been featured on Animal Planet, and in several films and productions. Amber helps  educate and inspire others to develop a better relationship with their dogs through positive-relationship based tips and techniques.

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Amber Oliver Aquart was paid for her time, but all opinions remain her own.