Crate training can be incredibly useful for you and your dog. Providing them with a safe home within the home gives them somewhere to escape to when the world gets big and scary, and is useful for when guests who aren’t so great with dogs come over to visit (though they should get over it!) It’s also especially helpful for households with new babies or young kids – your dog will need somewhere to escape for a quick respite.
If you’re not used to it, it can seem intimidating at first, but there are a number of ways to ease your dog into using a crate, no matter what his or her age.
Start with their favourite treat – leave a Hansel and Gretel trail of goodies leading into the crate to coax them in. And make sure the place you’re leading them to is welcoming and comfortable. If there’s a wire mesh base, make sure to line it with a comfy bed, and make sure the crate is positioned just right. Treat your dog like goldilocks – make sure it’s in a spot that’s neither too hot nor too cold, and certainly don’t leave the crate in a spot that’s out in the midday Sun.
Once they’re in, give them a special toy – preferably one that they will take a long time to get bored of – like a particularly tough chew or complicated puzzle or Kong. This toy is for crate time only, and make sure you stick to that rule.
The first few times you get them in the crate, leave the door open and stay in sight of them at all times. Gradually, start closing the door, once it’s clear to your dog that the crate is a fun place to be. Always try to stay within your dog’s sight line – it’ll make them much more comfortable.
And that’s pretty much it! Treats, love, and your presence are all that are really needed to crate train even the most stubborn dogs. Happy Crating!