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The Silky Terrier goes under a couple of other names such as the Sydney Silky and the Australian Silky Terrier. They were originally developed specifically as family pets, but they are from a bloodline that is considered to be master vermin hunters. While highly intelligent little pups, they also have a very stubborn streak that can make crate training them or training them to do just about anything more challenging than with other breeds.
Like any other breed of dog in the wild, Silkies would seek out a cave or other form of hiding place to use for a den. A den gives him shelter from the weather, from any predators, and a place to sleep. In your home, the only predators your pup is likely to encounter is your kids, and your cat if you have one. But, at the same time, he still needs a den to sleep in and get away from everything and everyone.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to train your Silky to see the wire crate you so lovingly bought for him as his personal space or den. Since this is his natural instinct anyway, all you are really doing is bringing this buried habit back to the forefront. Every dog needs a place he can call his own, just like he would have out in the wild.
To do this, you need to turn that metal and plastic crate into an inviting and comfortable den your pup will look forward to spending time in. Sounds impossible, but it's not really. All you need to do is outfit his crate with a few creature comforts such as a bed, carpeting, toys, a water bottle, and a blanket to turn it into a cave. The more comfortable you make it, the more time your pup will want to spend time in it.
Choose a crate that is big enough for your pup to stand up in and move around in. Don't get carried away, stick to the size recommended for your pup. If you get him one that is too big, he may start using one area in it as a bathroom. When choosing a location for your pup's crate, you need to find a spot where he can be part of the family, but is out of the main flow of traffic, so he doesn't get over-excited.
Along with this, you need a plentiful supply of treats, patience, and time. Silkies are very stubborn by nature, so be prepared for this to take you a significant amount of time. The more you practice, the faster it will go for both of you.
The Hello New Home Method
Go ahead and set his crate up
Once you have found the perfect spot for your pup's crate, go ahead and set it up and make it as comfy as possible.
Hide a few treats under the pile of toys in the middle of his crate and then place your pup inside next to them. Close the door and let him find the treats. Leave him alone for five minutes to explore.
Woof, woof, woof
If your pup decides to voice his displeasure, let him go on until he gets tired of hearing himself complain. Then praise him, give him a treat, and let him out.
I gotta pee
Your pup will need to be taken outside immediately so he can go potty.
Make it so
The rest is all about extending the amount of time your pup spends in the crate before you let him out. Keep working with him until he will stay in his crate without fussing for as long as necessary. Bear in mind there are limits to how long your pup can stay in his crate based on his need to pee. In time he will start napping in there all by himself.
The One Step at a Time Method
Set up your pup's new home
Set up his crate in your living room, family room, or any other room where your family spends a lot of their time. Cover it with the blanket to complete the illusion of a cave.
Enter the den
Using one of your pup's favorite treats, entice him into the den by letting him smell it and then tossing it into the crate. If he wants to, let him explore until he is done. He may only stay long enough to eat the treat, but in time he will stay in a little longer and a little longer.
Choose your command word
Choose your command word. Make it simple like "kennel" or "crate" and stick to it. Using different cue words will only confuse your pup.
Toss and command
Toss a treat in his crate while at the same time using the command word you have chosen. Praise him each time he goes in the crate.
With the door closed
Start closing the door when he goes in. If he barks, let him carry on until he is all done. Then give him a treat, praise him and let him out. Continue this, extending the time he spends in his crate in small increments until he no longer fusses, but instead settles down and relaxes. You can then increase the time to cover how long you need to be gone.
The Fast and Easy Method
Get the crate ready
Set up the crate as described above and while your pup is watching you, toss a treat inside. Give your pup the command you have chosen, such as "kennel" or "crate" as he walks through the door.
Close the door behind him
Once he is inside, go ahead and close the door gently behind him. Then go find somewhere to sit down for a few minutes. Sit quietly and watch to see what your pup does. If he starts to fuss, let him do so until he stops on his own.
Reward for silence
Once he stops fussing, praise him and give him one of his favorite treats. This way he associates being in the crate with getting rewarded.
Now, go ahead and let him out and take him straight out to go potty.
Rinse and repeat
Keep working at this several times a day over the course of several weeks, slowly building up the amount of time he is able to stay in his crate until he can happily stay in there for as long as you need him to.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021