How to Crate Train a French Bulldog

Medium
3-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

Contrary to popular opinion, teaching your "Frenchy" to use a crate is far from cruel. In fact, when you give your pup a crate, you are giving him a private place that's all his own. In turn, this will give him a sense of security. More importantly, French Bulldogs love to have a "den" to hide away in and cuddle with a nice blanket or bed.

At the same time, crate training your Frenchy so that he will stay in it while you are not available to supervise him is a great way to protect your pup--and your home--from injury. You can also use crate training as part of your overall potty training process, as most dogs will not eliminate where they sleep. They prefer to have a clean "den" and will learn to hold it for longer periods of time to ensure they don't make a mess in their home. 

Defining Tasks

French Bulldogs are both curious and highly intelligent by nature. You can use these traits to your advantage at the outset of training by encouraging your pup to explore his crate by using toys, treats, a soft bed, or a fluffed-up blanket to "lure" him in. The main intent of this training is to take your pup's natural instinct to find a den and put it to good use by training him to see the crate as his "den", which, in turn, will ensure he wants to spend time in it.

You can start teaching your pup to use his crate from the day you bring him home. At the same time, you can teach the same behavior to an older dog. The only real difference is that it might take you a little longer to teach an older dog to accept the crate as his den. 

Getting Started

Start by shopping for the right crate, one that will fit your pup once he is fully grown. Since Frenchies are not considered to be a "large" breed of dog, you can get away with buying only one crate. It should be big enough for your dog to move around in comfortably once he is fully grown. You will also need a few items to furnish it comfortably for your pup.

The furnishings should include a pad or wall-to-wall carpeting, a comfy bed, some really fun toys, and a blanket. You don't have to go overboard, but you need to make sure he is going to be comfortable and enjoys spending time in his "den." Oh, and you will need a plentiful supply of his favorite smelly treats. 

The A Crate is a Home Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Crate placement is critical
Finding just the right spot for your pup's crate is one of the most vital steps in training your Frenchie to treat it like his home. Choose a spot that is out of the main flow of traffic, but that is in a room where the family spends the majority of their time. Dogs are pack animals and don't like being separated from their pack. Set it up as described above.
Step
2
Say hello to your new home
Pick your pup up, fuss over him a little and then place him in the center of his "den". Let him find the toys and close the door. Allow him to spend a little time nosing around and investigating his surroundings.
Step
3
If he barks
Part of how long you leave him in the crate depends on his reaction to it. If he barks, fusses, and whines, leave him to it. It's perfectly normal for him to voice his displeasure. In fact, let him go on and on until he gets tired of hearing himself. It won't hurt him, and most dogs stop after a few minutes.
Step
4
When he stops
If he doesn't fuss you can open the door and let him out after five minutes at first. If he does, you simply wait for him to stop before you let him out. In either case, take him straight outside to pee. (This works as part of potty training as well.)
Step
5
Making it last
Continue the training started above for a few days (several sessions per day), and then start increasing the time he must stay in the crate before being let out. Never be afraid to give him treats and plenty of praise each time he goes in his crate when told to. Take your time and make it fun, soon you will find your pup snoozing in his den simply because he wants to.
Recommend training method?

The Explorer Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Find a home for his home
Find a spot in your home that can become a permanent home for your pup's crate. Try to choose a spot in the room where your family spends most of their time, you don't want your pup feeling isolated. But, at the same time keep it out of the main flow of traffic. Set it up as above and leave the door open.
Step
2
Set the dinner table
Bring your pup's food and water dishes over to the crate. Place them beside the door and fill them both. Then simply walk away and watch the action. It might take 5 minutes, it might take 5 hours, but at some point, your pup's curiosity and hunger are going to get the better of his caution. At this point, he is going to wander in to find his food. Each time you see him going in, be sure to praise him and give him one of his favorite treats.
Step
3
Time to close the door
After giving your pup a few days to get used to going in and out of his crate, it's time to close the door. If he decides to fuss about it, that's okay, let him. It may take a few minutes, but in time he will stop fussing and settle down.
Step
4
All is calm
Now that your pup has calmed down, you can give him a treat and take him outside for a potty break. This is also a good time to let your pup run around and get a little sunshine and exercise.
Step
5
Staying power
From here, continue working with your pup, increasing the amount of time he spends in the crate in five-minute increments. In time, he should learn to stay in his den for as long as necessary. Never keep a puppy in the crate for more than 2 hours as they cannot hold themselves that long and may injure themselves trying.
Recommend training method?

The Coax Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Find the crate a home
Locate your pup's crate in a spot where the family likes to spend a lot of time, like the living room. Set it up as above, tie the door open and leave it alone.
Step
2
Find your spot
Find a spot where you can sit comfortably and toss treats in the crate to help coax your pup to enter it. Let your pup see and smell a treat, then toss it into the crate. While doing so, introduce your cue word. Choose a simple one like "kennel" or "crate", stick with it and use it with a firm voice. This will help your pup associate the cue with the action.
Step
3
On the outs
When your pup decides it's time to leave the crate, give him the cue "out" as he walks through the door. Praise him when he comes out, but do not give him a treat. You want him to understand that he only gets the goodies when he goes in.
Step
4
Keep working it
The next time he goes in, close the door. If he fusses, leave him there until he stops. If he doesn't, wait five minutes and then let him out.
Step
5
The rest takes time
Keep repeating the above training, adding more time in five-minute increments until your pup will happily go into his crate and stay there for as long as needed. Remember, puppies should never be left in a crate for more than 30 minutes, adolescents up to 2 hours, and adults several hours.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd