9 Crate training Tips to Help your Dog Adjust to the Crate


  1. Hide treats in crate- This builds a positive association of the crate by making a game out of going into the crate. Simply place your dog in another room and put a few treats in the crate and then allow your dog to come into the room. Give the dog a few minutes to pick up the food scent and go into the crate to find their surprise.
  2. Place food in crate with door closed- Place the dog’s food or a few appealing treats inside the crate with the door closed. The dog will smell the treats and try to figure out how to get inside the crate to get the food. This creates a desire to want to be inside the crate. After a couple of minutes of the dog trying to get into the crate, open the door, and let the dog run in and receive their reward.
  3. Practice leading your dog into the crate to receive a treat, and then immediately let them come out of the crate- This shows the dog that when they go into the crate they are not always immediately locked inside for long periods of time. You can use your dog’s kibble or some small treats. Make a game out of it.
  4. Cover the crate- Try experimenting with putting a blanket over the crate. Some dogs prefer their crate to resemble a den like environment. You can try to cover 3 sides of the crate or even completely cover the crate. Completely covering the crate can help reduce barking and whining in the crate with some dogs.
  5. Place the crate in high traffic areas- Dogs like to be around their owners. Placing the crate in high traffic areas of your house allows the dog to feel like they are part of the family when they still need to be confined.
  6. Feed all meals in crate- This helps create a positive association of the crate. You can start out feeding the dog in the crate with the door open and then progress to feeding the dog with the door closed.
  7. Place your dog in crate for short periods while your home- If you only put your dog in the crate when you leave the house, the crate becomes a predictor of an unwanted event (you leaving). Let your dog spend short periods of time in the crate while you are home.
  8. Give the dog a special chew toy inside the crate- Give your dog interesting chew items when you place them inside the crate. Check out my favorite chew toys.
  9. Leave access to the crate at all times with door open- All of my personal dogs spend time in crates throughout the day on their own volition. Always leave the crate door open so the dog can choose to relax in a confined space. Dogs are naturally attracted to small confined areas such as underneath tables, between objects, and crates.

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Published on July 23, 2017

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