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A good crate may be one of the best things you can purchase for your Whippet puppy. You can use the crate as part of a potty training program, a safe place for him when you can't keep your eyes on your pup, a way to keep him safe in the car, or as a place for your pup to spend time when you are not home.
In the wild, dogs have their own dens where they can keep themselves out of the rain, away from predators, raise a family, and simply sleep. In your home, the crate will become his indoor den. A place where he can get away from people, other pets, and anything that causes distress. Your pup will not only learn to stay in his kennel when you need him to but, in time, is likely to start going into it on his own, just to take a nap.
Your job as a responsible pet owner is to train your pup to follow his natural "den" instinct into the crate, turning it into his new home. While he might seek a den in the wild naturally, this need has been repressed in domesticated dogs, so your job is to coax this instinct out and then make use of it to teach your Whippet puppy that the crate is his safe place.
Be prepared, this process can take several weeks for your pup to master. The best way to speed the process along is to work in several short sessions every day until he masters it. Be patient, it will happen. Remember to start out in short sessions and slowly work your way up to the point where he can stay in the crate for extended periods of time.
The most important part of crate training your Whippet puppy is the crate. You need one that gives your pup room to move around, stand up, lay down, relax, and even play a little since he will be spending a fair amount of time there. You also need to outfit the crate with carpeting, a comfy bed, some toys or balls for your pup to play with, a water bottle, and anything else you can think of, just don't make it overcrowded.
You should also set aside plenty of training time and, of course, a nice bag of your pup's favorite treats. This will all go together to help make the training process go more easily for both of you. Make it fun for both of you and let your pup set the pace. Remember, you should never use the crate as a form of punishment. If you do, your pup will not want to go inside.
The Look Who's Talking Method
A quiet place
Set your pup's kennel up in a quiet area of the house, one where your family tends to spend a lot of time. This way your pup will never feel alone while he is in his crate.
Install one pup
Giving your pup a "kennel" or "crate" cue, gently pick him up and set him in his crate. Go ahead and close the door and latch it.
Cue the howling
Your pup is probably not going to like being locked in his crate at first and is going to protest quite loudly. It's only natural, so let him have his say. While he does this, go on about your daily routine and totally ignore him.
After the fallout
Once the lamentations have ceased and he has calmed down, open the door and take your pup out for a pee break.
Repeat, only longer
Keep working with your pup, extending how long he stays in his crate before you let him out. With time and patience, he will learn to stay quietly in his crate when you need him to.
The Digging In Method
Find a good spot
Find a good spot in your home for your pup's crate. Consider where your family spends the majority of their time, this is the best place for it. Bury a couple of your pup's favorite smelly treats under a small pile of toys, then close the door.
Release the hound
Bring your pup in the room and let him go. Give him plenty of time to wander over to the crate and investigate it using his eyes and, of course, his nose. When he starts whimpering around it and using his paws to try and dig his way into it, open the door and let him in. Let him find the treat, praise him and let him come back out. But, do not praise him for coming out. The idea is to teach your pup that the good stuff happens in the crate, not outside of it.
Go in your crate
Time to start teaching your pup the cue word you want to use. Keep it simple; "kennel" or "crate" work well. Now toss a treat into the back of the crate using your cue word. When your Whippet goes into the crate after the treat, praise him and let him enjoy his treat. Repeat this over the course of several days until you can give the cue from another room and he will go right into his "den."
Time to close the door
Now that he is comfortable with going into his crate, it's time to close the door and release his inner demon. Or at least it may seem that way when he starts barking, whining, crying, and generally trying to wake the dead. Completely ignore this nonsense. When he quiets down, then you can praise him, give him a treat and let him come out so he can go outside and pee.
More time, please
The rest is all about extending the time he spends in his crate before you let him out. In time, he will stay there without fussing. You may even find him napping in there on his own from time to time.
The Coax Him In Method
A good place to start
After you find a good place for your pup's new crate, go ahead and tie the door back or better yet, remove it temporarily if you can.
Find a spot near the crate where you can easily toss treats into it as you attempt to lure your pup inside. Call your pup over, show him the treats, let him get a good sniff in and then toss it in the crate. At the same time, give him your cue word, like "crate" or "kennel".
Let him go in
Let your pup go all the way in after his treat and when he does, praise him and let him enjoy his treat.
Let him out
Step back and give your pup room to get out of his crate if you were standing in front of the door. When he comes out, it's okay to praise him, but do not give him a treat. This will reinforce the fact he gets the goods only when he goes into his kennel.
Spend time adding time
Spend the next few weeks slowly adding more time to how long your pup spends in the crate until he will stay there anytime you need him to for as long as you need him to, within reason. In time, he will come to see it as his den and will start spending time in there on his own.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021