Five Top tips on how to introduce your dog to their new crate

Every January celebrates National Dog Training Month and we are sharing top tips on how to introduce your dog to their new crate or pet bedroom. It is likely that before setting your heart on designing and building a bespoke piece of pet furniture with us you are confident that your dog enjoys spending time in a crate space. However it is important to be mindful that your new furniture is a new crate space to your dog and so there may be a need to revisit crate training exercises to help you dogs become comfortable and enjoy their new space.

One. Make their new crate a comfortable space.

When your new pet furniture arrives you need to make it a comfortable space to help introduce your dog to their new crate. For some dogs this could even start by ensuring they feel comfortable during the delivery of their new crate. Our shipping courier will help to deliver your furniture into your home and if new people make your dog anxious you should keep them somewhere safe during the delivery. Your furniture will also be securely wrapped in recyclable packaging and the unpacking might also be stressful for your dog. Once their new crate furniture is in place pop one of their existing cushions or blankets inside and some of their favourite toys. You could also put some of their favourite treats in their too.

Two. Invite your dog to explore their new crate.

Now you have made your new pet furniture comfortable you need to invite your dog to explore their new crate. Make sure the crate door is open and call your dog using a friendly and positive voice. Allow your dog to explore of their own accord. When they first enter avoid shutting the door immediately. Instead let your dog come and go as they please. Whilst most of our clients dogs transition very easily between different crate spaces some may require a bit more time and encouragement.

Three. Make your dogs new crate an enjoyable space.

Once your dog has started to familiarise themselves with their new crate it is important to make it an enjoyable space. The best way to do this is through games and playing with something that is of high value to them. If you feed your dog with kibble then you can use some of their daily food allowance to play games. Here is one example of a crate training game to help your dog enjoy their new space. Encourage your dog to go into their crate by throwing the high value reward into the furniture. Once inside reward throw another reward outside of the bedroom. Repeat this until your dog starts to feel confident about entering the space and will offer to enter before you’ve even thrown a treat. Once they have reached this stage continue the game by increasing the rewards whilst they are in the crate. Every so often bring them out with a single reward and then encourage them to re-enter and repeat. Over time your dog will associate that being in their new space brings much more reward than outside. You can see this game in action with the video below from Absolute Dogs.

Four. Securing your dog in their new crate.

Most if not all of our clients will have a routine for how and when they and their dog use the crated space and throughout a dogs life there are different reasons why dog crates are used. Whatever the routine you use it is beneficial to practice securing your dog in their new crate before commencing your “crate as usual routine” for example an hour whilst you drop the children to school.

Start by using the game in the previous section and closing the crate door for short periods of time. Start with a few seconds and gradually increase the duration. The aim is for your dog to remain calm and content during each closed door period. Reward you dog for calm behaviour. If your dog doesn’t remain calm you may have increased the time too quickly. Reduce the time between door openings and even revisit the confidence building game from the beginning.

Once your dog has mastered calmness for these very short durations you can work towards leaving your dog for longer periods e.g. with their evening meal or a stuffed kong toy to entertain them. This will continue to help your dog associate their new crate space as a positive place to be.

Five. Transitioning made easy

In summary it is likely that the transition to your dogs new pet furniture crate will be seamless. However it is always good to be mindful of the ways in which you can make it easier. You can also continue you ensure the bedroom remains a positive space by playing games even once they are older and trained. And of course if you are ever concerned about changes in your dogs behaviour we encourage you to seek veterinary advice to make sure your dog is not unwell or a behaviourist to address training concerns.

If this is your first time visiting us at The Pet Carpenter please explore what we do and visit our gallery and bespoke pet furniture page.

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