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Crate Training

For Puppies

It is a good idea to train your puppy to use a crate to sleep in, to ride in when you need to take her to the vet or on a trip, or simply for periods of time while you are gone for a while during the day. If you start at a young age, you will have good results. Your puppy will consider it a safe place. Put puppy toys in their crate to attract their attention. You can also feed them in the crate to get them used to being inside. Remove the food and water dishes after they have eaten so they don't spill them and make a mess. If you want them to sleep in the crate, start them when you bring her home. Don’t confuse them by letting them sleep in different places all the time. Keep it consistent. However, give them a lot of time outside of the crate as well.

Older Dogs

Training a dog to spend time in a crate is going to be more difficult if he is grown rather than starting as a puppy. The dog may feel isolated and anxious with this new activity and may display frustration, whining, pawing, whimpering, scratching at the crate and perhaps chewing on it to seek freedom.

There can be many reasons to crate train an older dog. There are times your dog cannot be watched and he may display unacceptable behavior. There are times when he needs to sit in a crate so he will not disturb guests in your home. A crate is often needed when you are traveling and the dog needs to feel comfortable in his small space for a period of time.

If there is a need to do crate training with an older dog, there are techniques to help accomplish this task.

  • First, make sure the crate is a comfortable size for your dog. The dog should be able to stand, sit down, turn around and lie down comfortably.
  • Make sure the crate is safe, with no sharp edges or protrusions and nothing your dog can ingest.
  • Make sure the crate is dog-proof. Use a crate that is tough and can take some chewing and scratching.

Once you have a crate for the dog, begin your training by putting familiar items inside to draw your dog’s attention. Your dog will be attracted to a blanket he sleeps on, familiar toys or snack foods you put inside. Close the gate and let him stay for a few minutes. He may get restless right away. If that is the case, let him out and try this technique again later. As he begins to adjust to going inside the crate, leave him for a few minutes at a time and walk away. He will need to spend some time in the crate without activity around him, so this will begin his training process. You might want to feed your dog in the crate. Wait until the dog is done eating before letting him out. Get him used to being inside the crate for longer periods of time.

Once he has been fed in the crate a few times, you will need to teach him to enter and exit the crate on your command. As you hold onto his collar, place him at the entrance of the crate. Pull him into the crate and say the command "bed." Place your hand on his backside to keep him from backing out. If you need to, lift him into the crate. After he has been inside the crate for a few moments, say "okay" and motion for him to come out. Try again a few more times and practice this routine every day until he goes into the crate on your command. As you practice with your dog to go into the crate on command, he will begin to accept being enclosed in the crate as well.

Your dog may look forward to going into the crate if you offer him special toys only when he is inside. After training the dog, stop putting food or water inside to prevent spillage and messes that can occur.

If your dog persists in making whining or howling sounds, you can try shaking something loud at him, such as a can of pennies, clapping your hands loudly, or spray water on him as you say "quiet." In time your dog will learn to be in his crate quietly.

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