Although many people do not like the idea of crate training, most dogs enjoy their crate as a den that provides privacy, comfort, and security. Crate training can be extremely useful in a variety of circumstances:
I. It prevents vocalization at night, because the crate can be placed in your bedroom.
II. It prevents 'investigative' activity, such as chewing or destructive behaviour.
III. It is the best method for house training.
IV. A crate trained dog will travel calmly and will not need to be sedated.
V. Crate trained dogs are happier when boarded (if their crate goes with them)
The only disadvantage of crate training is that it cannot be used if the pup is isolated for a long period of time. The dog should never be left in the crate for more than 4 hours during the day, although it is fine to leave them in it all night.
Steps in crate training:
1. The crate should be large enough for the adult dog to stand up and turn around in. A laundry room is fine for a Great Dane.
2. The crate should be kept in the kitchen or bedroom. You may wish to keep it in the kitchen for the day, and move it to the bedroom at night. It should not be left in an isolated area.
3. To start with, put treats, meals, water and toys, in the crate, so the pup can go into the crate on its own. Try to associate the crate with pleasant experiences. DO NOT USE THE CRATE AS PUNISHMENT.
4. Put the pup in the crate for a few minutes with the door closed. If the puppy misbehaves, discipline it with a loud noise. Try for 10 minutes (if the puppy is quiet), then let him out. After one hour, try again for 30 minutes. If the puppy is happy for this length of time, he is conditioned to be left alone. Never let the puppy out of the cage, or pay attention to it, if it is barking, whining, howling, or doing anything you don't want. Make a loud noise, and if he is quiet for 5 seconds, let him out. This makes him learn that he cannot get out by making a fuss, and that you reward quiet behaviour with attention.
5. You may want to put a blanket over a wire cage to make it seem more like a den. Give the pup a chew toy, and also something to lie on is optional.
6. Do not put food, water, or a chew toy in the crate while house training the puppy.