Need to know about crate training? A crate can act as a safe haven, a space where your dog can go when they are feeling overwhelmed, or even just a space all of their own for five minutes away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Jerry Green Dog Rescue believes in ethical crate training and teaching your dog that their crate is their very own space to relax in peace and tranquility. A place they can love and enjoy. Please do not think of crating your dog as “caging them up”, a crate is like their very own bedroom where they can put a “do not disturb” sign on the door when they want a bit of time on their own. Crate size A general rule of thumb is to buy a crate big enough for your dog to stand up in and lie down with their front paws outstretched. Most crates will have a size guide on their instructions but for young/growing dogs, you may need to change the size of the crate as they are growing. (A large crate may be too daunting for a smaller puppy to be comfortable in). Getting comfy Pad the bottom of the crate with blankets, making it super cosy for your dog to snuggle up in. Some dogs may prefer a blanket over the top and sides of the crate for that extra secure, safe feel. Place the crate in a quiet, calm area of your home that doesn’t have a lot of human traffic. When introducing the crate, make it ‘The Centre of All Good Things.’ Maybe serve breakfast and dinner in it, or make sure special sweeties are given in it or brand new squeaky toys are found in it. Help your dog to associate being in the crate with fabulous and lovely things. Take your time When you begin crate training your dog, start by letting them go in and out as they please – it is essential that your dog feels like it is their choice to be in or out of the crate. We never force a dog inside, as we want them to find the crate an amazing place to be, not somewhere they have been made to go. When they go into the crate – they’re a genius – tell them so and give extra treats for being in the crate. Once your dog is pretty sure that the crate is a seriously good place to be, give them an extra fantastic treat and gently move the door, praise and reward your dog with a treat and move the door back to its original position. Build this up steadily until you can close the door for a second or two and open it again. It is essential that you make this really fun and rewarding as you are building your dog up to understand staying in the crate for short periods of time. Keeping busy Always give your something to do when you ask them to go into the crate, so that they feel happy about being in there – a big smelly chew toy often does the trick! You will know if you have trained your dog right when you see your dog voluntarily using the crate to hide in, snooze in or stash their prized possessions in – give yourself a big pat on the back for giving them their own super safe place! Keep it a safe haven Please remember that you have spent lots of time teaching your dog that the crate is “their” place – make sure that everyone in your home respects this. Make sure that children understand that your dog’s crate is not for playing in or teasing them with, and if your dog is in it that they are not to be disturbed. This gives both your dog and your child clear boundaries that will help to keep both of them safe. As you have spent time teaching your dog that their crate is safe and lovely please don’t use it as a place to send them if they are in trouble. If they have been told off or sent to it when punished, they will then associate it with a negative experience, ruining all of your hard work.