Categorized | General

Crate Training

Crate Training

Why Crate Train?

Crates or pens can be an invaluable tool in training your Chi.  Housebreaking is made simpler and quicker with the use of a crate as your new puppy will instinctively avoid going to the bathroom in their “den” area.

When used correctly crates provide a sense of security to most dogs, especially smaller breeds like Chihuahuas.  In an ideal situation your Chi will treat the crate as his or her own bedroom and go to their crate willingly.  This is very helpful for you as the owner because you can ask your Chi to go to their crate when you need to confine them for some reason.  This could be for safety reasons such as getting out from underfoot of the appliance delivery men.

When a new situation arises that your Chi is unsure of they will often go to their crate and wait until the situation passes or until they have come to terms with what is going on.  An example of this type of scenario would be when your friend brings their toddler over for a visit.  Your Chi needs a safe place to retreat should the toddler be too grabby or touchy.

Type of Crates

Crates come in two basic styles:  hard plastic with closed in sides; and metal crates.  Either style of crate is fine just be sure to buy a crate that is the appropriate size for a Chihuahua.  Getting a jumbo size crate for a small dog will not provide the closed-in comfort it is supposed to.  Nor will it help with housetraining as there will be so much room your Chi will simply go potty in one corner.

The one advantage that metal crates often have over the hard plastic ones is that they collapse and fold flat.  Plastic crates for Chihuahuas are not very large but the ability to fold a metal one flat may come in handy when travelling.

How to Crate Train

Your Chihuahua should associate their crate with only positive memories.  It is therefore, important to make the first introductions to a crate in a calm, positive manner.  Don’t buy the crate, stuff your Chi into it, leave the house for several hours and then expect that your little one will want to go back in the crate again.

Introduce the crate by using a treat to entice your Chi to enter on their own.  Let them enter and exit several times, retrieving a small treat each time.  Put a favourite toy into the crate and entice them inside again but this time close the door for a few moments.  Hopefully the toy will provide a distraction even after the treat has been eaten.

Keep extending the amount of time you close the door until you can leave it shut for several minutes at a time.  Don’t rush the process.  It is better to let your Chi get used to the idea of the crate gradually.  If your Chi cries or whines when the door is closed, talk calmly but don’t open the door.  Rewarding crying will only teach your Chi to cry when in the crate.

Once your Chi has become accustomed to the crate for short periods of time with you right outside the door, try again but leave the room.  You will quickly get to the point where you can leave your Chi crated for several hours without concerns.

Crate training allows you to leave your Chi unattended without worry about messes in the house and also without concern for your pooch’s safety.  Very young puppies should not be crated for more than a few hours depending on age, and no dog should be crated for longer than 8 hours.

When used correctly and humanely crate training benefits both owners and their dogs.  Increased confidence, safety and control all lead to a happier Chihuahua and a happier household.


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