The benefits of den training
Introduced correctly, a cage can be a very useful piece of equipment:
- In the home for home alone training, toilet training and when non-doggy visitors come over
- In the car for safety and security
- On holiday to provide a home from home.
The cage must be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down in comfortably. There should also be room for a bowl of water. If you’re buying a cage for your puppy, make sure you plan ahead and buy one they’ll fit into when they’re fully grown.
Making the cage into a den
Introduce the cage to your dog slowly and make it as attractive as possible by turning it into a ‘den’. Put in some thick comfy bedding and always have some tasty titbits on hand for encouragement and reward.
Choose a quiet position to place the cage in and cover it with a blanket. Never push your dog in and shut the door. Here is our step-by-step guide to den training:
Step 1: Introduce the den
Start by calling your dog and throwing a treat into the cage. Praise them as they move in. Repeat this several times, throwing the treat a little further into the cage until your dog has to go all the way in to eat it. You can then start to add a phrase to this such as ‘in your bed’ before you throw the treat in.
Leave the cage door open at all times and allow your dog to wander in and out when they like. If the den is inviting enough they may start to choose it as a sleeping area.
Step 2: Dinner in the den
Next, start to feed your dog their whole dinner in the cage instead of just a treat. Leave the door open the whole time. Shutting the door too soon will make them reluctant to go back in again.