Under natural conditions, dogs would seek den-like places to live. You can provide your pet with similar conditions by using a crate. By confining your dog in this manner, you will also expedite housebreaking and minimize destructive behavior. When used appropriately, confinement to a restricted area is not damaging to your pet. In fact, it actually enhances your pet’s ability to adapt to its new home.
Pets being crate-trained must be slowly introduced to the new confinement. To introduce your pet to the crate, follow the procedure outlined below. This will guard against your pet having any ill feelings towards confinement.
To minimize stress, begin with the crate door open. Use a piece of cheese or hot dog to get your pet to put its head through the opening. (Placing your hand inside the crate does this.) Say the phrase “Kennel Up!” in an excited, happy manner. Once your pet reaches readily for the treat, begin to toss the treat to the opposite end of the crate. Each time you wish the pet to enter the crate, say “Kennel Up!” After the pet goes in the crate without hesitation, close the door behind it. Talk to the pet in a reassuring fashion and praise. Give the pet treats through the openings of the crate. When the pet is comfortable, leave the room while it is in the crate. Begin by leaving the pet for short periods of time (3-5 minutes). Gradually increase the time left alone. When you are at home, leave the crate door open. Hide treats in it so that your pet finds them.
The crate should be placed in a convenient living area of the house. Do not confine the pet as a form of punishment. Even if the pet needs a “time-out” period for misbehavior, make sure no anger is expressed when confining him. Metal crates provide better ventilation than do plastic ones. You need not leave water or food in the crate. Make sure that the crate fits your pet. The pet should be able to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably. Conversely, pets should not be in so large a crate that they could use one section for a bathroom area.