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Crate training is a great way to keep your pet safe when you are not home. It also helps to provide a safe haven of sorts for the pet. First, you'll want to make sure that the crate is never used as a form of punishment (i.e., if the dog is carrying on or was just corrected these are not the times to confine him to his crate). To regain his confidence in the crate, leave the door of it open during when you are home. Place treats wihtin the crate and provide a great deal of praise when he enters it. You can begin to feed him in the crate (with the door open) as an aditional way to make him feel more comfortable with it. Next, you'll want to him have him in his crate for short periods of time (15-30 minutes) with the cage door closed. Let him out and offer play as a reward.
Crating should only be used for several hours out of the day (try to limit it to six to eight so if possible). A toy, such as a Kong, can be left in the crate with your dog for those hours. These can be filled with treats and provided something for him to do to thward boredom.
As an alternative to crating, some individuals elect to use X-Pens or baby gates to block off a safe area of their home. Kitchens, laundry rooms and areas without dangers to the dog (such as cords etc) are often used. Some dogs respond better to this as it gives them more space and is less restircting. If you have any other questions, let me know. -Robyn
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