Not everyone likes the idea of confining their dog to use a cage – but you’ll be providing your dog with a safe, comfortable den they can choose to lie in and make their own.
Introduced correctly, a cage can be a very useful piece of equipment:
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.
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:
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.
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.
Once your dog happily walks into the cage on their own you can start closing the door while they eat and open it when they finish. Repeat this for every meal.
Now try feeding your dog part of their dinner in a Kong or give them a long-lasting chew to prolong the time they’re in the cage. Repeat as above, opening the door as soon as they’re finished.
By gradually building up the time they spend in the cage and using food each time, your dog will soon realise the den is a great place to be. Use the cage for no more than 4 hours at a time.