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Crate training is a journey many puppy parents embark upon in an effort to teach their dogs boundaries, good behavior and general obedience. The thing is, it takes a lot more than just an empty crate to get all this done. Mistakes will be made, accidents may be had and extra treats will always come in handy. Below, everything you should have on hand.

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Crate

It takes more than just this, yes, but you definitely do need one. Ideally, you’ll want a crate that is big enough for your dog to fully stand up inside, but small enough so that if he relieves himself, he can’t get away from it. Why? Because if he can pee or poop whenever he wants without getting uncomfortable, he won’t wait for you to let him out. 

If you purchase a crate when your dog is still a puppy, get one that will be suitable for him as a full-grown dog. To ensure the space is small enough for crate training, simply section it off to prevent your pup from using the entire space. This folding black wire crate from Lucky Dog is a great place to start and offers two different door options to make blocking off certain zones easier.

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Plush bed or mat

More often than not, your dog will be snoozing in his crate (either overnight or during naptime). Make sure he is comfortable and feels secure by lining the crate floor with something soft. This Vibrant Life Cozy Luxe Crate Mat works well, as does this Ultra Plush Dog Nap Mat

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Toys

While your dog is learning to pass the time until he’s let out to eat, walk or play, he may need some entertainment in there. For big chewers, go for something durable like Nylabone’s Stick Dog Chew Toy. For smaller canines or any dog in need of a little companionship, try a small stuffed animal (maybe even one that squeaks, like this alligator).

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Treats

Nothing works better than positive reinforcement, and the key to this type of teaching is delicious treats. Be sure to have plenty on hand during crate training. Not only will these help coax your dog into his crate for the first time, but delivering treats each time your dog accomplishes another step in the process is the best way to express a job well done. Your puppy will need to learn to associate being in the crate with positive emotions and experiences. Why not clean his teeth in the process? The Pioneer Woman Grain-Free Natural Dog Treats taste good and work wonders on dog teeth. 

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Gate

Crate training goes hand in hand with defining where your dog is allowed to go in your home. Establish early and often where your pup can and can’t go when he’s outside his crate. A pet gate, like this Richell Convertible Elite 4-Panel Pet Gate with a built-in door, helps draw the line for your dog. It’s also a nice way to make sure he feels included (but is safe from chewing on TV cords and other hazards) while you’re busy cooking dinner.

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