EXCLUSIVE MEMORIAL WEEKEND SALE! SAVE 15% SITEWIDE WITH CODE MEM15

0

Your Cart is Empty

Shop
  • PAWD® Pet crate

  • PAWD® Pet Pad

  • PAWD® Lounger

  • Portabowls

  • Medium PAWD Divider

  • April 18, 2024 4 min read

    This guide covers how to form a positive association with your dog’s crate, adding a cue for your dog to get into their crate, and working on closing the crate door. Adding duration and absences will be covered in parts 2 and 3.

    Supplies

    Before you get started, you'll need lots of treats on hand and somewhere easy to store them like a treat pouch. You might even opt to use some of your dog’s meal to work on crate training.

    Getting In & Out of The Crate

    To start acclimating a dog to their crate, we can start by working on our dog’s ability to get into and out of the crate comfortable without a cue. To do this, follow the steps below:

    1) Toss a treat all the way inside the crate. Once your dog enters the crate, mark with a verbal "yes" and reward with several treats inside the crate.

    a) Tip: It’s okay if your dog doesn’t go all the way inside the crate on the first repetition. Use the placement of your treats to help your dog get all the way in the crate. Do NOT push or force your dog into the crate. We want the crate to be a positive place to be and adding any kind of force will be counterintuitive to what we’re trying to accomplish.

    2) Release your dog from the crate by giving a consistent cue (I use “free”), pause for a moment, and then toss a treat outside of the crate for your dog to chase after.

    3) Repeat steps 1-2 until your dog is comfortable going into and getting out of the crate

    Adding a Cue

    Once your dog is comfortable going into the crate, you might want to put the behavior on cue.

    To do this, follow the steps below:

    1) Give a verbal cue before tossing the treat into the crate (I use "kennel"). Just like before when your dog enters the crate, mark with a verbal "yes,” and reward with several treats inside the crate.

    2) Release your dog from the crate by giving a consistent cue (I use “free”), pause for a moment, and then toss a treat outside of the crate for your dog to chase after.

    3) Repeat steps 1-2 until your dog is comfortably getting into and out of the crate.

    4) Give your cue and wait to see if your dog goes into the crate on cue.

    a) If they do, mark with a verbal "yes" and reward 2-3 treats inside the crate.

    b) If they do not, go back to steps 1-2 for more practice and try again.

    5) Release your dog from the crate by giving a consistent cue (I use “free”), pause for a moment, and then toss a treat outside of the crate for your dog to chase after.

    Closing The Crate Door

    Once your dog can go into their crate on cue, you can start to work on closing the crate door gradually.

    1) Cue your dog to go into the crate. When your dog enters the crate, mark with a verbal "yes,” and reward with several treats inside the crate.

    2) Pause to let your dog finish eating and then close the door one quarter of the way. Mark with a verbal "yes" and reward your dog inside the crate.

    3) Release your dog by saying "free" and tossing a treat outside of the crate.

    4) Repeat steps 1-3 gradually closing the crate door more each repetition until you can hold the door closed with your hands. At this point deliver a reward through the side of the crate before opening the door then deliver 2-3 more treats inside the crate after opening the door.

    a) Tip: If your dog is uncomfortable with the crate door movement at any step, go back to the previously successful step.

    5) Cue your dog into the crate and latch the crate door. Deliver 2-3 rewards through the crate and then 2-3 more rewards inside the crate once you opened the door.

    6) Release your dog by saying "free" and tossing a treat outside of the crate.

    Tips

    • Always go at your dog’s pace and comfort level! Don’t rush it. You want the crate to be a positive, calm place for your dog.
    • Never use the crate as a punishment. This will quickly make a negative association with the crate.
    • For the same reasons as #2, do not use physical force to put your dog in the crate.

    Important Notes

    • If at any point your dog seems uncomfortable, anxious, or nervous, end the training session and contact a positive reinforcement based, certified dog trainer for help.
    • Crates are a great option for many, but may not be the right solution for you and that's okay! There are some modifications you might make like adding an ex-pen around the crate to give your dog more space or foregoing the crate all together. Personally, I recommend crate training at least in case of an emergency and for prep in case your dog needs to be crated at the vet. This will give prepare your dog with a positive history with crates and make the experience should it be required, much less stressful.
    • If you suspect your dog has generalized anxiety or separation anxiety, consult your veterinarian and reach out to a dog trainer with a certification in separation anxiety like a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT). Crates are NEVER a solution for generalized anxiety or separation anxiety. Both generalized anxiety and separation anxiety are medical diagnoses that require multi-faceted treatment coordinated with your veterinarian, a veterinary behavior, and/or a certified, specialized trainer.

    KindTail Pawd

    The crate shown in the above picture is the medium, limited edition blue, KindTail Pawd. If you’d like to purchase one you can use my affiliate code: kindtail.com/SFF3XHYJ. If you choose to do so, please know that I do received a small profit from your purchase; however, I would never recommend a product that I personally did not like.

     

    Copyright Engineering Optimism Dog Training, LLC 2024. All rights reserved.

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.