Crate training refers to the process of training or teaching your pet to accept a dog crate as his safe space or home. While it may seem inhumane, mostly due to misinformation, when done gently and correctly, crate training can bring satisfaction to both you and your dog. It is essential, however, to note that this training is not a one-day affair. It requires your patience and consistency to make it successful.
What Are the Benefits of Crate Training Your Golden Retriever?
Before getting started, it is crucial to understand the benefits of crate training, as this will help you to take the necessary steps confidently.
- Crate training your Golden retriever pup ensures that they stay safe and confined while you’re away.
- If you enjoy taking trips with your family dog, crate training will put them at ease during the journeys, regardless of the form of transportation.
- After training, your pup will grow to love their crate and will see it as a place of refuge, especially if they want some alone time.
- Crate training your Golden retriever can help you efficiently train them on how to control their bladder and bowels.
- Have you ever noticed how your pup likes chewing on your shoe or scratching at your favorite chair when you’re not around? Well, all this can stop once you crate train them. You’ll be able to put them in their crate and go about your business without worrying.
- If you have friends with dog allergies, then crate training will be very beneficial to both your guests and your dog. Win-win!
What Does Crate Training Entail?
So now that you understand the tremendous benefits, you must be wondering what the crate training process entails. Do you need to hire a professional dog trainer? Or is it something you can do by yourself? Well, the latter is not only more effective because it helps you establish trust between you and your pup, but it also ensures that you (the trainer) fully understand and appreciate the process.
You first must realize that there’s not a stipulated length of time to train your dog. However, if you’re working in a full-time office instead of working from home, it will take you longer. Nonetheless, this should not worry you. Just take it one step at a time.
Before getting started on crate training, let’s delve into some of the driving factors that you need to consider when choosing the perfect crate for your dog.
- Size: Choosing a crate that correctly fits your Golden retriever’s size is a crucial first step. If it’s too small, your pup is most likely to feel confined, yet what you need is to make them feel comfortable. If the crate is too big, you’ll probably mislead your pup to assume that it’s okay for them also to use it as a bathroom. The most effective solution is to buy an adult dog crate and divide it into smaller sections that you can adjust as your pup grows.
- Material: You also need to decide what material you’d like the crate to comprise of, i.e., wood, metal, plastic, or fabric. Each element will have its advantages over all the others, so it all comes down to your taste and budget.
- Location: Figuring out the best locations for the crate is another crucial factor to consider. Luckily, this is not too hard to figure out. If your dog enjoys getting attention, then it is best to position the crate in the busiest room where they can interact with people. If your dog prefers quiet alone time, then pick a spot where they won’t be disturbed as often.
The Crate Training Process
So how do you teach your fur baby to adapt to the crate? Below we’ll cover some of the crucial steps that you’ll need to take.
Familiarizing Your Puppy to the Crate
The last thing you want is to have your Golden retriever jumping away from the crate because they think it’s a punishment tool. The best approach is to leave the crate open and unattended for your dog to wander in and out. You can also occasionally, albeit secretly, put in a few treats and toys to keep your dog interested. Soon enough, they’ll get used to its presence and begin seeing the crate as a safe and fun place for them.
Another method you can use to familiarize your dog with the crate is by putting their food bowl in the crate. Place the food bowl inside the crate so that they need to only poke their heads in to eat. Once your furry buddy gets used to it, you can move the container halfway into the crate, and eventually to the back of the crate, and your puppy will be just fine.
However, as your pup plays around in the crate, you should ensure not to express any interest or acknowledgment in these activities. Try to act as normal as possible so that they believe that they’re the mastermind.
Deciding on Cue Words to Use
The essence of using cue words is to let your pup know when you need them to get into the crate and also when to get out. This is a crucial part of crate training as a whole. Given that Golden retrievers are often eager to please their owners, they are sure to enjoy this process as well.
You can also use regular words like “sit” once your puppy is inside the crate to establish that they can relax. You must remember to reward your pup whenever they correctly respond to the cue words.
Extending Your Puppy’s Time in the Crate
Once you’re confident that your pup has understood the cue words, the next step is to extend their stay in the crate. This step entails using the cue words, as well as finally closing the crate door. One of the best cue words to come in handy here other than “sit” is “stay.” What you need here, as with the previous stages, is a gentle tone to your voice. Your pup needs to feel safe, even as you shut the door. Ensure to praise them once they’re sitting still inside the crate.
You can now proceed to close the door. Ensure that you don’t bang the door or shut it too fast as this may scare your dog and cause a panic. Praise them again, give them a treat through the closed door and watch them calmly enjoy their reward. After a few moments, you can gently open the latch and use your preferred cue words to alert them to get out.
To successfully train your furry companion, repeat this process for almost ten times over a couple of days. Ensure that you extend the stay period in the crate with each session.
Leaving Your Puppy in the Crate
So your puppy is responding well to the training, but now you need to find out if they’re okay being in the crate without seeing you. Repeat the previous steps first, just to ease your pet into it. After about three to four refresher reps, start to move backward after locking the latch slowly. Begin with a few steps first and make a brief pause. Monitor your dog’s reaction. Move a few steps further back until you eventually get to the back of the room.
Once your puppy gets used to the distance, repeat the same process, but this time you should pretend to be doing other activities while they stay in the crate. Within no time, they’ll get the hang of it, and you can go a step farther by stepping out of the room. Ensure to extend this period, depending on your pet’s level of comfort gradually.
Extending Your Puppy’s Time Alone in the Crate
After you have completed all the above necessary steps, you can proceed to train your dog to get used to staying in the crate for more extended periods, e.g., overnight. Cue words like “bedtime” and “crate” will come in handy to help you in instances when you need your pet to get into the crate to sleep, or when you want to deal with some personal matters. Once again, this stage requires consistency and patience. It is also the final stage that will enable you to confidently travel with your dog on long-distance trips, among other things.
While Golden retrievers are some of the most intelligent and trainable dogs, it is crucial to note that crate training will vary from one dog to the next. You should also know that your fur baby’s performance will significantly depend on your availability as well as encouragement. However, if all else fails, then you just might need to consult a professional trainer.