Crate Training your Dog

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Crate training your pooch may have a number of benefits. While some dog-parents see crates as a form of punishment, that may in fact not be true.  A crate may provide a safe haven for your furry friend, and even give him or her somewhere to retreat when they need some quiet time.  

Equally, it gives you peace of mind that your pup is safe from getting into things they shouldn’t be. 

However, it must be done correctly. 

Poor crate training can often lead to anxiety, or even destructive behaviors, so we’ve put together a guide of helpful tips for crate training your dog. 

When Should You Start Crate Training

A new dog owner may start crate training as soon as they bring their pup home.  This doesn’t mean the dog will spend his first night in the crate, but it can be important to start the process as soon as possible. 

Buying a crate that is big enough for your dog is very important.  If the crate is too small, your dog may not have enough room to lay, turn around, or relax.  Check out this guide for buying the right size crate for your dog

If you have a puppy, you may decide to purchase a crate that will suit him or her when they are fully grown.  Crates like these may come with a divider -so that the crate fits them as a puppy.  This divider can allow you to limit the space he or she has access to when crate training. 

Set Up The Dog Crate Properly

Bedding or blankets can help make your dog’s crate more comfortable. 

You may also decide to add a cover on top of the crate to block sunlight. If you bought a wire crate that has a removable tray, be mindful of it. As a dog stands on them, they often move- which can be unnerving for a training dog. Thick bedding can help with this. 

Start with Exploration and Positive Reinforcement

Allowing your dog to sniff and explore the crate can be important. Placing treats inside the crate may help encourage your dog to enter the crate independently, and even associate the crate with positive reinforcement.   

The more comfortable your pup is in and around the crate, especially while eating a treat or meal, the better. 

Increase Time inside the Dog Crate

Gradually, you may be able to increase the amount of time he or she spends inside the crate. Before long, you can change how he spends his time in the crate. The crate may come to symbolize many different things.  A safe space for your dog to relax when there are people at the house.  A quiet place to sleep.  Or even an area to bring treats. 

To get your pup integrated with the idea of resting in their crate, you may be able to try taking him or her out for a long walk to tire them out.  When you return, encourage them into the crate and praise and reward once inside. 

If he or she only sleeps for 5-10 minutes, that’s okay.  The more time you spend repeating this, the more they should get used to the crate, and accept that it’s not so bad after all. 

Once your pup has accepted the crate without showing signs of distress, destruction or wanting to escape, you can consider letting him sleep during the night. 

Benefits of Crate Training your Dog  

Having your pup crate-trained may be helpful when it comes to toilet training.  

Puppies dislike soiling where they sleep, so they’ll be more likely to wait for you to let them out of their crate before going to the bathroom.  Taking your pup straight outside when they leave the create and showing them where they can use the potty can help reinforce toilet habits.  

Crates may also help dogs during their teething phase – in which pups love to have everything in their mouth. While your dog is teething, having them in their crate with chew toys can help ensure they don’t put anything in their mouth that could be potentially harmful.  

Should I Crate Train my Dog? 

Aside from the practicalities, a crate provides a safe retreat for your pup.  

Crates can be useful for toilet training, keeping your pup safe, keeping your house in one piece and providing a safe-haven where your pup knows he or she can have some peace.

That being said, sometimes pups can wander. The team at MetLife Pet Insurance1 helps provide pet parents with peace of mind, as well as the ability to give their pets the best care possible.2 We understand that accidents and illnesses do happen (especially outside the crate.) Pet insurance may provide peace of mind for pet owners if their furry friend gets sick or injured. 

With options to fit every pet and parent in the nation, it’s never been easier to provide your pet with the coverage they deserve.  Get a free, customizable quote that fits your family today! 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.