Clinic Hours:
Mon-Fri 8 to 5:30
Sat. by appointment only

31310 Woodhaven Trail
Cannon Falls, MN 55009

Click here for map

Phone Numbers:
651-258-4050 office
651-258-4051 fax
651-222-0885 Twin Cities


Join our Email List:



Website Map


Crate Training

Like wolves, dogs are den animals and love the security of their own space. Dogs that are properly crate trained, love to go to their crate on their own to relax, sleep and store their toys. The crate should be large enough for your dog to comfortably stand up and turn around in as an adult. Never use the crate for” time out” or punishment! It creates a negative association with their “den or safe space”.

For crate training puppies, the first crate should be only large enough for the puppy to comfortably stand up and turn around in. It is harder to train them if they have too much space. If the crate is the appropriate size, they learn that they have a comfortable area to rest or sleep in and typically will not urinate or defecate in that area. If their crate is too large, from their canine perceptive they have an area to rest in and an area to “potty” in. To save you from purchasing several crates, pet stores may carry divider panels to install in the larger crates.

Place the crate in a convenient location where your family spends quiet time. It should not be placed in an isolated room. Introduce your puppy to the crate in a positive manner. Praise and reward him/her with treats when they enter the crate. Curious puppies willingly enter the crate. Reluctant puppies are a bit more work. Place a soft bed, rug, or fleece in the crate for them to lie on. Also put toys and bones for them to chew on, and treats for them to eat. Each time they enter the crate, immediately praise them and give treats. Continue to give praise and treats at regular intervals for the duration of time he/she is in the crate. Place a long lasting treat in the crate such as a stuffed Kong. Encourage them to remain in the crate for 10–15 minutes each time, 6 -10 times per day until the puppy feels comfortable in the crate.

When your puppy willingly enters their crate, and remains in the crate for a while, you can slowly close the door without latching it for a short period of time. If your puppy is relaxed and quiet, reward it with praise and a treat. If it whines, barks or scratches at the door, just shut the door part way and open it back up. Gradually lengthen the time the door can be closed and latched (1 second, 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, etc. If they react negatively (whining, barking, or scratching at the door), start over for shorter periods of time. Do not reprimand them, avoid eye contact and avoid giving them attention. When the behavior stops, (even for a second) open the door to reward the good behavior. Do not praise them however. Stop the session, take them outside for a “potty break”, and then allow them to play independently in order to burn off some energy. At this stage, do not leave the room with your puppy in the crate and the door latched.

When your puppy willingly accepts being in the crate with the door shut and latched (does not whine, bark, or scratch), you can start leaving the room for short periods of time. If they are quiet, reward them with praise and treats. Spend several daily sessions (gradually increasing distance and length of time) when your puppy is in the crate and you are out of the room.

Gradually increase the length of time to accommodate your lifestyle or work schedule. Always provide them with bones to chew on and non destructible toys to play with.
When you return to the room with the crate, let them out and quietly praise them. Take them outside for a “potty break” and play with them. If possible, spend quality time and obedience train them.

Always leave the crate doors open if you are not actively training. Allow them the freedom to come and go as they please. They quickly learn that the crate is a place of comfort. Once they are comfortable, the crate can be moved to another location, if needed.



Cannon Veterinary Services.   All Rights Reserved.            Proudly designed and hosted by Big Sky Internet Design.