Perhaps your dog is a rescue and was never properly house trained. Or you have to move across the country and need to put her in a crate for the trip. Or maybe the pooch has just started acting out in destructive ways while you’re away from the house. There are many reasons why you might need to train your adult dog to sit calmly and quietly in a crate.
Unfortunately, this is something that can cause harm to your dog if you don’t do it in the right way. What you don’t want is for your pooch to panic in the crate and end up getting hurt.
So what do you need to do to crate train your adult dog in the right way?
Get them ready
Before you begin crate training, always exercise your dog with a long walk to drain excess energy. Additionally, you want to take him outside to go to the bathroom, so you don’t have to interrupt your training for a “potty break.”
Unlike with puppies, which don’t have habits they’ve been forming for their entire lives, adult dogs may have spent years without ever entering a crate. This means they’re probably going to be a lot more resistant to the idea and may fight against it more. Your job is to bear with them and keep trying. Over time, most adult dogs will come to accept a crate with the right training.
Your goal is to make your dog associate the crate with positive feelings, so encourage her to go to the crate by putting treats and even food inside. Eventually she’ll see the crate as the place where good things happen and won’t be as fearful.
Make it comfy
Dogs love it when they can find a nice, comfortable place to sit or lie down, so one of the best things you can do is to treat your dog’s crate like it’s just another resting place. Place a favorite blanket inside or buy a new one and leave the door open, so he can come and go as he pleases.
Close the door — briefly!
Obviously, the eventual goal with the crate is to be able to close the door and still have your dog keep calm. Once you get to the point where your pooch seems comfortable hanging out in the open crate, offer some kind of distraction (perhaps a toy or treat) and close the door while she is engaged.
Start with intervals of five minutes or less and make sure you stay close by and visible. Gradually keep it closed for longer periods and leave the room so your dog can come to understand that she is still safe — and will eventually get out — even if you’re not right there in front of her.
Keep it up with these methods and most adult dogs will eventually come to accept a crate willingly. You may even discover that it becomes your dog’s new favorite place to sleep!
Are you currently trying to crate train an adult dog? What type of problems are you encountering?