German shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and trainability. However, German shepherds can also be notorious for their destructive behavior if not properly trained.
One way to help prevent your German shepherd from wreaking havoc on your home is to crate train them. Crate training may seem like a daunting task, but our guide can help you every step of the way.
In as little as a few weeks, you can have a well-behaved dog that knows how to behave itself in its crate. Not only will this help to keep your home clean and safe, but it will also give your dog a sense of security and routine.
What Do You Need To Prepare for Crate Training?
Before you start crate training, there are a few things you need to gather:
1. A Dog Crate
There are many different types and sizes of dog crates available on the market. It is important to choose the right size crate for your German shepherd. If the crate is too small, your dog will feel cramped and uncomfortable.
If the crate is too big, your dog may be able to urinate in one corner and sleep in another. A good rule of thumb is to choose a crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
If you’re looking for a good dog crate for your German shepherd, be sure to check out our best dog crates for German shepherds page. We’ve compiled a list of the top-rated crates on the market, so you can find the perfect one for your pup.
2. A Comfortable Dog Bed
Your German shepherd will be spending a lot of time in their crate, so it is important to make sure they have a comfortable place to sleep. There are many different types of dog beds available, but I recommend choosing one that is soft, washable, and durable.
If you’re looking for a comfortable and durable dog bed for your German shepherd, be sure to check out our best dog beds for German shepherds page. We’ve compiled a list of the top-rated dog beds on the market, so you can find the perfect one for your shepherd.
3. A Few of Their Favorite Toys
To help your German shepherd feel at home in their crate, I recommend putting a few of their favorite toys inside. This will give them something to do when they are in their crate and help to make the crate feel like a safe and comforting place.
4. High-Value Treats
To help your German shepherd associate their crate with positive experiences, I recommend using high-value treats during training. These can be anything that your dog loves and gets excited about, such as chicken, cheese, or hot dogs.
How To Crate Train Your German Shepherd: Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Introduce Your Shepherd To The Crate
The first step in crate training is to introduce your dog to the crate. You want to do this in a positive and relaxed manner. I recommend putting the crate in a room where your family spends a lot of time, such as the living room or kitchen.
Then, put their bed and a few of their favorite toys inside the crate. Leave the door open and let your dog explore the crate at their own pace.
Step 2: Feed Your Dog Their Favorite Treats Inside The Crate
The next step is to start feeding your German shepherd their favorite treats once they enter the crate. This will help to create a positive association with the crate.
To do this, tell your dog to “go inside” and then give them a treat once they enter the crate. At first, you may need to guide them inside with your hand. But, eventually, they will start going in on their own.
You can also try tossing a few treats inside the crate and letting your dog go in after them.
Step 3: Begin Closing The Door While Your Dog Is Inside The Crate
Once your dog is comfortable going into the crate and eating treats inside, you can start closing the door while they are inside. At first, only close the door for a few seconds. Then, gradually increase the amount of time you have the door closed.
If your dog starts to whine or bark, you may be closing the door for too long. In this case, open the door and try again later.
Step 4: Leave The House For Short Periods Of Time
After several successful attempts at closing the door, you can start leaving the house for short periods of time while your dog is in their crate. At first, only leave for a few minutes. Then, gradually increase the amount of time you are gone.
Make sure to leave everything they need, such as food, water, toys, and a comfy bed.
Step 5: Increase The Amount Of Time You Are Gone
The last step is to begin leaving for longer periods of time. I recommend starting with 30 minutes to 1 hour and then gradually increasing the time as your shepherd gets more comfortable.
If you need to leave for longer periods of time, I recommend hiring a dog sitter or dog walker to check on your shepherd and let them out to stretch their legs.
As any German shepherd owner knows, accidents are inevitable. Even the most well-trained shepherd pup will have the occasional accident, and crates can sometimes make the situation worse. If your puppy has an accident while in their crate, don’t panic.
First, remove any soiled bedding and clean the crate with a pet-safe cleaner. Then, line the bottom of the crate with absorbent pads or newspaper. You may also want to consider using a crate liner, which can make cleanup easier.
If your puppy has multiple accidents in their crate, it’s important to get to the root of the problem. They may be suffering from separation anxiety or simply isn’t ready to be crated for long periods of time.
If you’re not sure what’s causing the accidents, consult your veterinarian or a dog trainer for help.
Potential problems with crate training
There are a few potential problems that you should be aware of with crate training.
Crate training your dog can be an effective way to house train them, but it’s not without its challenges. One of the biggest potential problems is that it can be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate.
If you’re not careful, you could end up letting them out too often and create a bad habit. On the other hand, if you leave them in too long, they may have an accident in their crate.
It’s a delicate balance, but with a little trial and error, you should be able to figure out what works best for your dog.
For my dog, I’ve found that if they whine for more than a few minutes, it’s usually because he needs to go to the bathroom.
Another potential problem with crate training is that it can sometimes exacerbate separation anxiety.
The crate won’t cure the separation anxiety, it’ll just give the dog a confinement issue on top of the existing anxiety. And trust me, you do not want to deal with two problematic behaviors at once.
So, unless you’re planning on spending the next few months Zen training your pooch, I suggest you find another solution to your dog’s separation anxiety.
- Always make sure to give your dog a potty break before putting them in the crate. This will help to avoid accidents and make the crate training process easier.
- Don’t put your dog in a crate as punishment. This will only make them associate the crate with negative experiences.
- Avoid putting your dog in a crate for more than 3-4 hours at a time. Doing so might cause them to soil their crate, which will make training harder. If you work long hours, I recommend hiring a dog walker or dog sitter to check on your dog and let them out for a potty break.
- Feeding your dog in their crate can also help to make the crate a positive experience. If they’re reluctant to eat in the crate at first, try putting their food bowl near the door so they can see it. Then, gradually move it further inside as they get more comfortable.
Crate training is an important part of dog ownership and German shepherds are no exception. By following the steps above, you can crate train your shepherd in no time. Just remember to be patient and consistent, and you’ll be well on your way to a happy and healthy dog.