How to Train your Dog to Love their Crate!
Why cage my dog?
Dogs have a natural tendency to seek out an area where they feel safe. Think of how wild dogs and wolves use their dens. The idea is to create a haven in your home that will help make your dog better adjusted to different situations.
Crate training your dog early will help with future travel and medical confinement (e.g. broken leg or hospitalization). It can also make housetraining easier and decrease the likelihood that your dog will develop anxiety when alone.
With appropriate training, many dogs see the crate as a refuge or bedroom of sorts.
How do I get my dog to go in?
Start by feeding your dog just outside the opening to the crate. Day-by-day, move the food bowl into the crate then toward the back.
When your dog is in the crate, give him/her treats. It is OK to use the hand with treats to block your dog from leaving the crate. When your dog’s head crosses the doorway out of the crate, then the treats stop.
If your dog cries when in the crate, do not respond. When your dog is quiet, praise him/her or give treats. Do this frequently at first and then increase the interval between rewards.
Once you can leave your dog in the crate, hide treats in the blankets or fill a Kong with a variety of treat types to keep your dog busy. It is a good idea to have treats that your dog only gets when in the crate (e.g. spray cheese).
- Tether a Kong inside the crate so that it is a reward only for when the dog is inside the crate.
- Fill a Kong with 3 tiers of treats:Use a puzzle feeder, Buster Ball, treat ball, etc. to provide food or treats.
- One that comes out easily to interest your dog
- One that the dog can work at (frozen canned food, peanut butter, spray cheese)
- One that can be removed by you before letting your dog out (large piece of dog food or biscuit)
Do not force your dog into the crate!
Do not use the crate as punishment!