- Crate training can help control your dog’s aggressive and whining attitude. This is very important! You can lose your mind when your dog barking all night long. But with crate training, you can control negative behaviors from your dog.
- Your dog feels safe and comfortable.
- Your dog respects you more.
German Shepherd Crate
Before doing crate training, let’s first find out what kind of crate that your dog needs. There are several types of crates available for German shepherds: the collapsible wire mesh type, the plastic vari-kennel, and the wooden box. Find out more about my recommended German shepherds crates here: trainyourgsd.com/the-best-crate-for-german-shepherd/
It is really up to you which type you want to buy, however here are some basic guidelines:
- The crate needs to have enough room. Your dog must be able to do its activities comfortably inside the crate, like sleep or sit around.
- The ground needs to be soft and comfortable. It should have cloth, towel or blanket.
- The crate needs to be warm without being over-heated.
- The crate should be draft-free.
- The crate should have plenty of supply of fresh water, so your dog can drink anytime, day and night.
- You can add a few dog toys for your dog to play — read my reviews for the best German shepherd toys.
For me, I will get a wire mesh type crate first preferably the black wire crate, then get a wooden crate type a year or so when my dog has completely housebroken and crate trained.
How Much Does It Cost?
A quick search on Amazon can give you the price range between $100 to $300 for wire type crate. For the plastic-type crate, the price range is between $30 to $100, and for the wooden box type crate, the price range is between $100 to $600.
- Wire Type Crate
- Plastic Type Crate
- Wooden Box Type Crate
Where Do You Place Your Crate?
Since German Shepherd is a breed with high social needs, the best place to put your crate is in the place when you spend most of your time. I would recommend putting your crate in the bedroom.
If you have some money, you can buy two crates, one in the bedroom and the second in the family room. However, if you just have one crate, it is best to put your crate in your bedroom. Your dog should sleep in the same room with you to develop trust and security. (1)
Let’s Start The Training
Now you have had the crate, let’s start crate training your dog.
How Long Does It Take?
Crate training can take days or weeks depending on your dog situation. The most important thing is to keep doing the training slowly but surely.
1. Introduce Your Dog To The Crate
Call your dog and throw a treat inside the crate. When you call your dog, you should name this event “Crate”. For example, I would say something like this: “Lucy come here, come to crate”. You should induce this commands early from the very first day of training, so after quite a while, whenever your dog hears this command “Crate”, your dog has been accustomed to go into the crate willingly.
When your dog goes into the crate, praise your dog and throw another treat or two. Remember, your voice should be calm and relaxed when you call your dog.
In the first few days, you should consider to take the door off. Many dogs have been scared off by the door closing, so they refuse to go into the crate. When your dog refuses to go into the crate, don’t be angry. You can try to throw another treat and walk away as though nothing happens. Your dog may be willing to enter the crate when you are not around. It’s a new experience for your dog, so it is perfectly normal when your dog feels a little shy.
It might take anywhere from hours to days for your dog to willingly go into the crate. Once, your dog is in the crate, you should give your dog a reward and compliment.
This phase takes 3-4 days.
2. The Adaptation Phase
After the introduction phase, the next step is the adaptation phase. The adaptation phase has two parts: close the door and walk away phases.
Close the door when your dog inside the crate. At first, you might want to close the door for a minute and reopen it again quickly. Reward your dog by giving a treat or a bone when your dog stays inside the crate. Gradually, lengthen the time you close the door from 1 minute to 10 minutes then 30 minutes and so on.
After closing the door phase, the next step is the walk-away phase. Once your dog is comfortable in the crate, you need to slowly walk away from the crate. Do your normal activities as though everything is perfectly normal. Then slowly, walk away to another room then walk back and give your dog a treat. Gradually, lengthen the time you walk away from the crate. When your dog chooses to rest in the crate, you have successfully completed your goal.
This phase takes 2-3 days.
3. Final Things to Remember
- Don’t leave your dog inside the crate for a whole day. This will create negative and destructive behaviors. I would recommend keeping your dog between 5 to 6 hours a day.
- Don’t use the crate for punishment. Remember the main idea of crate training is to make the crate becomes a safe and comfortable place for your dog.
- Never release your dog when it’s whined or barked. You should not pay attention to any sign of negative behavior from your dog.