Crate training your dog can be tough and can feel straight up cruel, but don’t worry! Crates can be extremely helpful while training a dog or transporting a dog and the crate can even feel like a safe space for your pup, if you acclimate him to it the right way. So here’s what to do:
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- Introduce your dog to the crate
Make sure your dog’s crate is always a positive place – like a new friend! Speak to your dog in a happy voice near the crate and even give him treats when he goes inside. Be sure to never use the crate as punishment or “time out” if you plan to put your dog in there at other times – that would be confusing to anyone!
- Feed your dog in the crate
Leave your pup’s meals inside the crate so he must go near it to get food. Over a few days, put the food further back in the crate to your pup must be completely inside to eat. Once he’s in the crate distracted by his breakfast/lunch/dinner, gently close the door behind him. As soon as he’s done eating, open the door and let him out so he knows he isn’t trapped. Leave the door closed for more and more minutes each day, even if your pup whines a little at first!
- Create a command and get the treats ready
Create a command like “kennel” or “crate” that you can use each time you need your pup to go inside. Work on the command just like you would with “sit” or “stay.” Give him treats and lots of praise when he successfully enters the crate, but do not punish him for failing to do so. With time, he’ll get the hang of it!
It may seem impossible at first, but have patience! Eventually, your dog will learn your new command and love his crate like an old friend.