Training your dog to enter a crate willingly can seem like a daunting task whether you have a puppy or an adult dog. A crate can be likened to a dog's den if you make it inviting and comfortable. With some practice and positive reinforcement, your dog will see his crate as a place of tranquility and protection.
Choose a crate that is the appropriate size for your dog. A larger dog will need a larger crate. The dog should be able to stand and turn around comfortably in his crate. Crates come in a variety of materials, such as soft mesh, canvas or metal.
Place items that your dog will find comforting in the crate. A soft blanket, clean towel or dog bed is most important. You may choose to place his favorite toy in the crate to encourage him to enter.
Remove the door from the crate if your dog is anxious or new to crate training. This will avoid unnecessary banging or swinging of the door, and your dog will feel more comfortable entering the crate if he knows an exit is available.
Place a few treats or your dog's food inside the crate. If he appears nervous, place the treats at the entrance to the crate so he is encouraged to step inside. Gradually move the treats farther back into the crate until he is completely in the crate.
Attach the door onto the crate once your dog has entered and exited a number of times. Close the crate door momentarily, and then release your dog. Over time, gradually increase the amount of time your dog must stay in the crate.