Let me start off by saying that the reasons crates were created originally was to simply keep your dog safe and secure. As an added benefit, it keeps the dog from destroying your house meanwhile you are not there to supervise your dog.
Let me follow this by simply also letting you know that not all dogs can be crated, furthermore. Plenty of dogs just simply sleep during the day outside of a crate and the owner comes back home to a house, just as they left it.
To the good stuff (which is why I am assuming you have decided to read this article in the first place)
If you are struggling with Crate training, do not worry. You are not alone. What makes crate training so difficult is for a variety of reasons:
1) The dog has never been in a confined space before, and has not been able to create a positive association with the crate.
2) The dog has been in a crate before, and has been under some terrible or traumatic stress while being inside a crate and never wants to repeat this lesson again.
3) The owner feels as though they are putting their dog into a prison.
4) While trying to crate train the dog, the owner has resorted to physically pushing the dog into the crate and then closed it. To add to this, the dog owner then walked away. Leaving the dog owner agitated and the dog in a state of fear.
Before get into how to solve the crate issue.
A) Make sure you get the right crate. Get a crate that have slits in them, and of the correct size. The dog should be able to do a 180, and be able to sit and stand without any issues.
B) Make your crate into a dog’s favorite place to be. It has to be comfortable! Although, we want your dog to be comfortable in the crate, we want to avoid putting a bed into the crate if the dog is of ages between 4 weeks to 12 months. When you put a bed into a crate and the dog is a puppy or teenager. Then there is a strong possiblity that they can chew on the bed, and end up swallowing part of the bed. Remember that puppies are putting everything in their mouths.
C) Always allow your dog to have water while inside the crate. Food is a different topic, but water should never be denied.
So, let’s go ahead and work these points together
1) We open up the crate and we crate a treat trail all the way into the crate. We will have a treat inside the crate at where the crate opens, then another one in the middle of the crate and then at the end of the crate. (We do not close the gate, the dog should be allowed to enter and leave on it’s own). If the dog decides to go back outside, we don’t take it personally, we just try again. Every time the dog goes inside, we say the word “Crate”
2) While the dog is inside your crate, we want to give it some high value treats. Our goal is to get all four paws inside the crate. Then we can close the door, just partially…then we re open the door immediately…and let the dog back out.
3) We repeat steps 1 and 2 and this time we will close the close the door.
Please keep in mind that although I have narrowed this down to only 3 steps. Steps 1 and 2 may take multiple attempts, and might have to be done over a course of time.
We will only do step 3 once the dog can go inside it’s crate on it’s own. We want the dog to make the decision to go in on their own. Otherwise, the dog may never want to go in on it’s own.
4) Once your dog is actually inside your crate. Please play with your dog while they are inside the crate. Step number 4 can be added to steps 1&2, but I have found it hard to instill in real practice until at least step 2 has been successfully accomplished.
5) Never physically push your dog into going into a crate. The dog has to make a decision on their own. Otherwise, they can create a negative association, and at that point we have to start all over again. Remember every step of training a dog, is asking yourself. Is this going to help or hurt my relationship with my dog?
6) The owner is tired and has been trying to crate train the dog on his or her own. They do not want to call for help and think they are making progress. This might be happening, but how frustrated the is the owner getting? Do they feel guilty about putting their dog into what they think subconsciously is a prison for dogs? Even if they feel good about putting the dog into the crate, the more stressed they get. The more nervous the dog is getting. The stress is now the one thing the dog and dog owner have in common.
a) The first step in this situation. Is to simply take a break. Sit down, recover, have a glass of lemonade, or whatever it is that you do. But you need a breather.
b) Looking at your dog with a look of anger is not going to help your relationship with your dog.
c) Maybe it’s okay, to put your ego aside and let the dog, just be. You can always pick it up tomorrow.
d) If you are truly at the end of your rope. Please call in a professional. Life is too short, to stress out about something this minor.
Of course, if you have any questions, I hope you have found this article of value.