CHENNAI : Crate training a dog is not cruel confinement, as is often misconstrued. In fact, dogs have a natural instinct to be in a den and the crate satisfies this, thereby giving the dog a sense of security when used correctly. Only when the dog is enclosed in the crate for prolonged hours restricting his natural movements, it is abuse. When used correctly, the crate will become a safe haven for the dog.
The crate has to be spacious, comfortable and safe for the dog. Make sure you buy the right sized crate so the dog can move inside with ease — this is very important. Do not force the dog inside the crate. The dog will show a natural curiosity towards the crate, and if he does go around sniffing it, don’t stop him. Instead, encourage him with kind words and a treat. Slowly entice him to explore the insides of the crate by leaving his favourite treats or toys inside.
When doing so, leave the treat inside and walk away without giving him or the crate any attention. At first, he might be wary, but eventually, he will get over his reservations and start exploring inside. Eventually, he’ll see the crate as the place where good things happen and won’t be as fearful. If you see that he doesn’t mind going in and out of the crate, you can also put something familiar like his bed inside, tempting him to spend more time inside.
Over a period of time you will catch him sleeping in the crate. Do not close the gate yet and continue this for a few days. Once you know that he is comfortable, you can slowly start locking him in only when required while giving him free access in and out otherwise. The crate has to be a positive and happy place for the dog. Consult a professional trainer to help you with this.