Although many owners feel that dog crates and kennels are cruel, they are actually one of the best things you can give to your dog. Crates and kennels provide your dog with a place to call their own, a home within your home, and a safe place while you are away.
Crate training helps with housebreaking, helps with separation anxiety, and helps reduce destructive behaviors such as chewing, and it keeps your dog safe while you're away. While training is always easier the younger your dog is, it is still possible to crate train your older dog.
5 tips to properly crate train your dog:
1) Buying the right sized crate: Your dogs crate should be large enough for him to sit, stand and stretch out comfortably.
2) Introduce The Crate Gradually: Place the crate in a room with the most activity and let your dog investigate it on his own before placing him in there. You can place a few bits of his favorite treat to entice him to enter in on his own. Praise him whenever he goes near or enters the crate.
3) Get him used to being locked inside the crate: After enough time exploring and getting used to the crate it is time to get your dog used to being locked in there. Be sure to keep the crate in an active part of your home, lock him in only for a few minutes at a time while you're still within sight. Start slowly, just a few minutes at a time and be sure to give plenty of praise when he is quiet and well behaved.
4) Get him used to being in the crate when you are gone: This is the next and most crucial step to crate training your dog. Keep his crate in an active part of the house and for small periods of time leave the room while he is locked in there. Start gradually with just a few minutes at a time, praising him reassuring him each time you come back into the room.
5) Reinforcement: In the beginning your dog will probably start whining, crying, or barking. It is important to not move or say anything after you get back until he has quieted down. If you hear your dog whining stay firm for the entire amount of time you have decided to be out of the room or until he has quieted down. When you return let your dog out of the kennel, if he was whining the entire time ignore him until he has calmed down, once he has praise him enthusiastically.
Crate training is an important tool that can help curb many bad behaviors in your dog no matter how young or old. Here are some important reminders: remove all collars and harnesses, provide water for your dog, let your dog go to the bathroom before you leave, and lastly if your puppy is exceptionally young and has not been properly potty trained yet it is best to leave him in an open pen with paper so as not to soil inside the kennel.