A kennel is your dog's safe haven -- it protects him from harm, provides a sleeping space and promotes the house-training process. If you think you can push Fido into a crate and expect him to like being behind bars, think again. Your pet companion might start crying while frantically trying to find a way to escape. To avoid this, gradually introduce your dog to the crate. With persistence, patience and plenty of treats and toys, he'll start loving his crate and enjoy spending time in it.
Tempt your dog with treats and toys to get him to explore the kennel. When your pet companion isn't watching, place some treats near the kennel to lure him closer to it, and place some treats in the kennel to get him to go inside. Do this daily for one or more weeks, and keep the kennel door open so he can walk in and out as he pleases.
Associate a command with going into the crate. Say "crate," show your dog a treat and place it in his kennel. When he goes after the treat, praise him and give him another treat. Always use the same command and give him the treats in the crate so he associates it with getting rewarded. Over time you can just use the "crate" command and won't have to bribe him to get him to go into his kennel.
Feed your dog his dinner in the crate. Place his food bowl near the crate entrance so he can just stick his head in to eat. Gradually move the bowl toward the back of the crate so your dog has to go into the crate to get to his food. Once he's completely in the crate, close the door and open it when he's done eating. Keep the door closed longer with each feeding.
Ignore your dog if he starts crying while he's in the crate. Avoid scolding him or taking him out of the crate, because this teaches him that he gets your attention when he cries and he'll keep repeating the behavior. Walk out of the room, returning when your dog stops crying to let him out of the crate. He'll start noticing that you give him attention when he's quiet and ignore him when he's crying.
Increase the duration that your dog is in the crate. Say "crate" and wait for your pet companion to go into the crate. Give him a food-stuffed dog toy, close the crate and sit next to it for about three minutes. Walk out of the room and leave your dog alone in the crate for three minutes. When you return, sit next to the crate for three minutes before letting your dog out. Gradually increase the time you leave your dog alone in the crate. Once he's in the crate for 30 minutes without crying, you can leave the house for short periods and let him sleep in the crate at night.
Items You Will Need
- Dog treats
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Never use your dog's crate for punishment, because he might start disliking it. You want him to associate the crate with pleasant experiences.
- Place your dog's kennel in a frequently visited room of the house so he doesn't feel isolated from the family.
- Always walk your dog so he can exercise and go potty before you confine him to a crate.
- Placing a shirt with your scent on it in the crate can help comfort your dog while you're away.
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