How to Crate Train a Dalmatian

Medium
3-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

While there are those who firmly believe that crating a dog is, in essence, caging them like a wild animal and that it is cruel, the reality is that teaching your pup to use his crate can be a very good thing. The only time it takes on a negative aspect is if you try to use it as a form of punishment. Every aspect of the training process must be positive in nature, even when your pup is struggling to get it right.

In the wild, it is quite natural for dogs to seek a cave or some other form of shelter for a den. This will become their "safe place" where they can sleep, stay dry, raise a family, or hide from predators. In essence, crate training your Dalmatian is little more than bringing this natural instinct to the surface and providing him with a place to call his own.  

Defining Tasks

So, here we are talking about crate training your pup, but relating it to his natural desire to have a den. In the wild, his den would be little more than a rock or dirt floor deep inside a natural cave or perhaps one formed by a number of trees falling on top of each other. Domesticated dogs have long since felt the need to live in a dark cave. If you want your pup to enjoy the one you are creating for him, it has to be a bit more than a spartan crate.

Okay, so you don’t need to create a palace for your pup; hold off on his own TV, no personal air conditioning. But at the same time, you need to make it comfortable for your pooch. So, what it does need is a nice piece of wall to wall carpeting, a plush and comfy bed to nap on, some really cool toys to gnaw on and, of course, a hanging water bottle. Sounds like heaven and to your pup that is exactly what it will be. 

Getting Started

You already know you need a crate, but it needs to be the right size or you are just making things harder for yourself. If your Dalmatian is a puppy, you need to start with one that will fit him through young adulthood. But, by the time your pup reaches his full size, you are going to need one big enough to give him plenty of room to stand up and move around.

When you are looking for the perfect spot for the crate, you need one that is out of the main flow of traffic but is where your family tends to spend a large amount of time. The idea is that even though your pup might be in his kennel, you don't want him to feel isolated.  It will also entice him to spend time in there when he wants a little peace and quiet. When not in use, you should always leave the door open so he can come and go as he pleases. 

The Investigate Method

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Step
1
Set up
Go ahead and set the crate up in its proper location with the inside ready to go. Leave the door open and then walk away. Leave it this way for a few days.
Step
2
Let him investigate
Let your pup investigate this new "thing" at his own pace. It may take several days for him to go in or he might let his curiosity overcome his fears and walk right in. No matter which it is, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
3
Flying treats
This time, toss the treat into the crate and let your pup go in and get it. Repeat until your pup can stay in there for longer periods of time.
Step
4
Behind closed doors
Start closing the door for a short time and then quietly open and sneak away. Don't say a word, your pup will know what's up.
Step
5
Add more time
Slowly build up the amount of time you have the door closed, allowing your dog to get used to the new time. Once you have him trained to stay in the crate, you can leave the door open when you are at home so that he can slip inside and take a nap.
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The What Did You Say? Method

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Step
1
Install one crate
Once you have put the crate in its permanent spot, tie the door open and give your pup plenty of time to get used to it being there.
Step
2
Looking out from inside
It's time to show your pup what the inside of his new "den" looks like. If you can, catch him when he is already inside, if not pick him up and put him inside. Close the door, secure the latch, and wait for the fireworks.
Step
3
Why me?
Your pup is going to let you know how he feels quite verbally. In fact, you may want to get yourself some earplugs for a while. Just go on about your daily business, totally ignoring him.
Step
4
Silence is golden
Once your pup has gotten the clue that no one wants to hear him, he will settle down and be quiet. When he does, calmly open the door and take him outside to pee. This is a good time to let your Dalmatian run off a little of that pent-up energy.
Step
5
Keep the time growing
At this point, you can start slowly increasing the time your pup spends in his "den" until he can remain inside for the day while you are at work or at night when you are trying to sleep.
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The Easy Lure Method

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Step
1
Open door
With the door to the crate open, place a treat or one of your pup's favorite toys in the middle of the crate and give your pup the command, "crate" or "kennel."
Step
2
When he goes in
When your pup goes in to investigate, gently close the door behind him and go sit somewhere close.
Step
3
Oh, the noise
No dog is going to be happy the first few times you put in him in his crate, especially a very active Dalmatian. Your pup is going to be quite vocal in his attempt to let you know how unhappy he is. Let him bellyache until he gets fed up with the noise and calms down.
Step
4
Open up
Before you open the door to let your pup out, give him a treat and praise him. This will help him to associate being quiet and staying in his "den" earns him a treat. Let him eat and then open the door. You can praise him when he comes out, but no treat. You want him to have a good reason to go into the kennel, not come out.
Step
5
Potty break
Once you let your pup out and get past the praise part, be sure to take him out so he can run around and pee.
Step
6
It's a long way to go
It's still a long way to go before your pup will stay in the kennel while you are out for a few hours or while you are at work. Be patient and in time your pup will spend more time in his den than you actually need him to.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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