Crate training your Frenchie may take some time and effort but can be useful in a variety of situations. If you have a new Frenchie, you can use the crate to limit his access to the house until he learns all the house rules – like what he can and can’t chew on and where he can and can’t eliminate. A crate is also a safe way of transporting your Frenchie in the car, as well as a way of taking him places where he may not be welcome to run freely.
While many people view crates through the human lens of being “caged up,” dogs are naturally den animals and enjoy being in small, enclosed places. It provides a sense of security. If you properly train your Frenchie to use the crate, he’ll think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed.
1. Selecting The Crate
First thing’s first—picking out the perfect crate. It is important to get a crate that is durable, comfortable, and the correct size. Most of the time an airline crate or kennel is the best way to go for a Frenchie. It should be just big enough for your Frenchie to stand up and turn around. Try not to get one that’s too big. If he/she is a puppy and you want the crate to grow with them, get a divider wall.
2. Introducing Your Frenchie to The Crate
Put the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your Frenchie over to the crate and speak in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secure, so it won’t hit or scare your Frenchie.
To encourage your Frenchie to enter the crate, drop some food or treats near it, then move them just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If your Frenchie refuses to go all the way in at first, that’s okay – don’t force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your Frenchie will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isn’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.
If your Frenchie doesn’t love the treats you have try looking into better ones: Best Treats for Your French Bulldog
3. Feeding Your Frenchie in The Crate
After introducing your Frenchie to the crate, begin feeding regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your Frenchie is readily entering the crate, put the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If your Frenchie is still reluctant to enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as he will go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little further back in the crate.
Once your Frenchie is standing comfortably in the crate to eat a meal, you can close the door. At first, you can open the door as soon as he finishes his meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until he’s staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the crate, it’s imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, he’ll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so he’ll keep doing it.
4. Conditioning Your Frenchie For Longer Periods of Time.
After your Frenchie is eating regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you’re home. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Give him a command to enter such as, “kennel up.” Encourage him by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your Frenchie enters the crate, praise him, give him the treat and close the door.
Sit quietly near the crate for 5 to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the crate. Repeat this process several times a day. With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time you’re out of his sight. Once your Frenchie will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when you’re gone for short time periods and/or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks.
While keeping your Frenchie in a crate for long periods of time is not ideal, sometimes it is necessary like if you want to travel with your Frenchie. Which we made a blog post about you can find read here: Traveling With Your Frenchie.
5. Crating Your Frenchie
Part A: Crating Your Frenchie When Left Alone
After your Frenchie is spending about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the crate. You’ll want to vary at what point in your “getting ready to leave” routine you put your Frenchie in the crate. Although he shouldn’t be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don’t make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter-of-fact. Praise your Frenchie briefly, give him a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don’t reward your Frenchie for excited behavior by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key. Continue to crate your Frenchie for short periods from time to time when you’re home so he doesn’t associate crating with being left alone. Your Frenchie should not be left alone in the crate for more than 4 to 5 hours at a time during the day.
Part B: Crating Your Frenchie at Night
Put your Frenchie in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night, and you’ll want to be able to hear your puppy when he whines to be let outside. Older French Bulldogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that crating doesn’t become associated with social isolation. Once your Frenchie is sleeping comfortably through the night with his crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer.
|There are always problems that could arise like whining and separation anxiety, but if you’re persistent and follow these steps, it should work. It’s challenging to see this through, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run. Good luck!|