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Far too many dog owners seem to believe crating a Rottweiler is cruel and inhumane. Yet, the reality is that this is simply not the case if you take the proper approach to crate training your Rottie. Bear in mind that crate training a puppy tends to be significantly easier than training an older dog, but no matter what age your dog is, you can still crate train him, it might just take a little longer. However, if you are going to train your pup, remember that his tiny bladder cannot hold much, so he needs to be taken outside frequently.
Although one of the main reasons many people choose to crate train their Rotties is as a part of potty training, we are concentrating on training your pup to see his crate as his den. There is a big difference in some ways, yet most dogs will avoid soiling their bed or den, so in a way, crate training can help with potty training as an incidental side benefit.
The task at hand is to train your pup to go into his crate on command and to remain there without fussing for long periods of time such as when are at work or when you are trying to sleep at night. The idea is to teach your dog that the crate is his "den" and that it is perfectly okay if he spends time in it. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
In some cases, dogs will enter out of curiosity, like what they find, and stay in there on their own. But in most cases, you will need to work with your Rottie until he is ready to accept the fact he must spend hours in his crate. Crate training a Rottweiler accomplishes a number of things, like teaching him to chew on the toys you give him instead of inappropriate items. It can save him from injury or death that could result from getting into chemicals or electric wires.
Of course, you are going to need a crate to work with. At first, you need a smaller crate, but by the time your pup reaches full size, you will need a much bigger crate. You can buy or borrow a smaller one for use while he is a pup. This is important, as a crate that is too big for your pup will make him nervous and could lead to his using one corner as a potty since there plenty of space. One that is too small will not give him enough room to move around in.
Be sure you set up the crate with a pad or carpeting, a bed, a water bottle and, of course, a selection of your pup's favorite chew toys. The idea is to turn the crate from a bare wire cage into a comfortable den your pup will enjoy spending time in.
The Love My Crate Method
Show the treat
Show your puppy one of his favorite treats and let him get a good whiff of it. Then toss the treat all the way to the very back of the crate. When your pup goes in to retrieve the treat, make sure you praise him heavily. Repeat this over the course of several days without closing the door.
Dinner and a movie
Well, maybe no movie, but you can start feeding your Rottie inside his crate. Place his food bowl inside the crate towards the back and step back. Leave the door open for now. Do this for several meals and then start closing the door. As soon as he is done eating, open the door and take him outside.
While you are busy
Put your pup in the crate in 30-minute intervals while you go about your chores around the house. Be sure he has toys to keep him busy. It might also help if you take him out and exercise him a little at first to tire him out.
Add more time
Continue leaving your pup in his crate for longer periods of time until he can stay in it for as long as you need him to without fussing.
And the rest
The rest is all about practice, practice, and more practice. Just always make sure that his crate is an inviting place your Rottie won't mind spending time in.
The Quieting Down Method
Establish your pup's new home
Set up your Rottie's crate in a part of the house where he will be with the family, but not in the main flow of traffic. Make sure your pup sees you setting it up. Place a few toys in it and bury a treat under them.
Give the cue
Give your pup the cue word "kennel" or "crate" and then place him in the crate near the toys.
Let him stay
Let your pup stay in the crate, which he will do while he searches for the treat he can smell. Repeat over several days until he gets used to being in the crate.
Close the door
Time to start closing the door. At first, it won't bother him, but once his treats are gone, he may start barking and fussing. When he does, go on about your daily routine.
When he calms down
Your Rottie will only make a fuss for so long--when he finally calms down, go ahead and let him out using your cue "come out." When he does, praise him and give him a treat before taking him outside to pee.
The only thing left to do is extend the amount of time he spends in his crate before you take him out. In time, he will come to see his crate as a den and will be happy to spend time in it.
The Create a Den Method
Find a home for the crate
Find a permanent spot in your home for the crate. One where your pup can still interact with everyone, but that is not in the way. Using soft carpeting, a comfortable puppy bed, a few toys, and either a crate cover or a blanket make a nice den for your pup.
Add one Rottie
Go ahead and pick up your pup and put him in his new den, show him his toys, then close the door and let him explore. He might be done in a few seconds, it might take several minutes. Let him set the pace to a point.
Al that noise
At some point, your pup is going to let you know just how upset he is at being locked in the crate. It’s only natural as no dog likes being locked up. Let him have his say, it won't last long. When he stops fussing and calms down, praise him and give him a tasty treat.
Let him out
Let your pup out of his crate and take him out to go potty and get some exercise.
Keep working at it
Keep working with your pup to extend the time he spends in his crate until he goes in willingly with no fuss. In time you may even find your Rottie napping in there all by himself. When he does this, you know you have done a good job.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021