One of the first things you should do after bringing a new puppy home is to start a training routine. If you’ve already thought about housetraining, chances are you’ve already wondered about how to crate train your mini husky. This is one of the most effective ways to train your pup and to allow them to fit in with their new home and family.
What is crate training?
Exactly what it says on the tin: training your dog to stay in their crate for long periods of time.
Crate training taps into the doggy instinct of being a ‘den’ animal. All dogs, including mini huskies, love to create a space that is truly their own. That can be on a dog bed, for instance, under the table, or in a crate.
The benefits of your mini husky seeing their crate as their den are huge:
- It allows you to housetrain them quickly as they typically won’t soil where they sleep
- It ensures your dog is safe and not wandering the house when you’re not home
- It’s an easy way to transport your dog
But it does take a bit of practice as most dogs will not automatically see a crate as their den — hence, crate training.
Let’s find out how to do it…
The key to any dog training is consistency: start small, go slowly, but do it regularly.
Crate training is no different, although it’s likely that your mini husky will pick up the behavior quickly as they’re such intelligent dogs with a good memory for training.
It’s best to start early with crate training — ideally as soon as you bring your puppy home — as that’s when they’re most open to learning new behaviors and they hopefully haven’t acquired any bad habits yet.
Firstly, make sure that your crate is the correct size for your mini husky. Ideally, it should be big enough for them to stand up and turn around in when they’re at full size (perhaps talk to the breeder to ascertain their likely adult size). If it’s too small, your pup will be cramped and uncomfortable, but if it’s too big, they may well establish a ‘toilet’ corner.
When you’re ready to start, lure your pup into the crate by leaving one of their favorite treats just inside the door. Allow them to enter the crate and have a look around, praising them gently, but don’t shut the door.
The idea is to have your dog associate the crate as a “good thing”, rather than somewhere that they’ll be trapped. Repeat this a few times until they get the hang of it.
Shutting the door
Once your pup has got used to going into the crate of their own accord to find treats and perhaps even to take a nap, it’s time to take things to the next level: closing the door.
Again, start slowly, and build up the amount of time you keep the door closed. It’s likely that your mini husky will start howling the first few times you shut the door; wait for them to stop, then count to 30 seconds before opening the door and letting them out. Make sure that they can see you and even put your fingers through the crate to reassure them.
Carrying on increasing this time by increments of 30 seconds every day until they no longer cry when you shut the door. Remember, take it slowly!
Leaving them in the crate
Once your mini husky is happy to stay for long periods in their crate while you’re in the vicinity, it’s time to train them to accept you leaving the house while they’re in the crate.
Start small and be prepared with a distraction treat to do this well. Call your mini husky into the crate and put a stuffed KONG toy (or another safe chew toy) in with them.
Leave the house, shutting the door behind you. It’s likely that your pup will start howling again — just like you did before, wait until they stop, wait for another 30 seconds, then re-enter the house and let them out of the crate.
Keep gradually increasing the time you’re away — 30 minutes to an hour, to four hours — until they happily jump in their crate when they see you ready to leave.
It’s unwise to keep a puppy in a crate for over four hours — their bladders generally can’t hold themselves for any longer and they will likely soil the crate.
Here’s a YouTube video on how to effectively crate train your husky puppy:
Tips for successful crate training
Once you’ve followed the above steps, you should find crate training your mini husky to be a breeze, and they’ll hopefully love their new crate den in no time at all.
Here are some extra tips to make the training go smoothly.
- Make sure that the crate is inviting to them — add a blanket and a safe chew toy (NOT rawhide), for instance. It’s also a good idea to affix a water dispenser on the door so they’re able to drink.
- Word association is important with crate training — when you lead them in, say something like “go home”, and when you lead them out to go to the toilet, use the same word or phrase every time: “outside!”, for instance. They will then learn this as crate commands.
- Never reward your mini husky for howling by letting them out straight away — wait until they’ve finished before you allow them to leave the crate.
- Take off any collars or leashes when you put them in the crate – these can be a choking hazard.
- When you first start the training, tire your mini husky out beforehand with a long walk. If they’re a little sleepy, they’ll be less anxious and more likely to take a nap in the crate.
- Bring your crate into your bedroom overnight where your pup can see you. Even once they’re used to their den, mini huskies are pack animals and like to be near their alpha — i.e. you.