Getting a Dog to Fall Asleep in a Crateby Kimberly Caines
Although sharing your bed with your dog might seem like a loving gesture, it might also lead to a dominance problem. Your dog might start thinking he's your equal, or he even might think he's superior to you. To avoid this, maintain your leadership and have your furry friend sleep in a crate. Rather than just locking him in a crate overnight, gradually work your way up toward confining him for longer periods. Before you know it, he'll be snoozing the night away.
Place your dog's crate in your bedroom. Understand you are part of his pack, and dogs like to sleep near their pack. Avoid placing the crate in an isolated area, because your pet companion might think he's being punished -- you don't want him to associate the crate with unpleasant experiences, such as punishment. If your dog is a puppy, having him close by can also help you detect signs that it's time for a potty break.
Familiarize your dog with the crate. Place treats and dog toys in and around it to lure him toward it. Keep the door to the crate open so he can go in and out as he pleases.
Say "go in your crate," and toss a treat inside. When your dog goes after it, praise him and give him another treat to reinforce his behavior. Repeat this until your dog starts understanding what "go in your crate" means and associates it with getting rewarded.
Feed your pet companion in his crate. Place his food near the entrance of the crate so he doesn't completely have to go in it to eat it. With each feeding, move the bowl further toward the back of the crate until your dog is fully inside as he eats. Close the door and open it after he's done eating. Gradually leave him longer in the crate after each feeding.
Give your dog the "go in your crate" command and reward him with a treat when he listens. Close the door to the crate and sit next to it for five minutes. Walk away and leave him alone in the crate for five minutes. When you return, sit next to the crate for another five minutes before opening it and letting your dog out. Over time, increase the duration that your dog is alone in the crate. When he can be confined for 30 minutes, he's ready to start sleeping there.
Bring your dog outside for a walk before bedtime so he can go potty and tire himself out. When you return, tell him to go in the crate and give him a treat for obeying. Close the crate so he can go to sleep.
Ignore your dog if he starts whining instead of falling asleep. If you pay attention to him or take him out of the crate, you're reinforcing the bad behavior, and he might whine each time you confine him in a crate. Alternatively, shake a can of coins to startle your dog and stop his whining.
Items You Will Need
- Dog treats
- Dog toys
- Create a routine for your dog so he eats, plays, goes potty and sleeps at the same times each day.
- Use a crate that's large enough so your dog can stand up, turn around and lie down.
- Dog Training In 10 Minutes; Carol Lea Benjamin
- Cesar's Way: Crate Expectations
- The Humane Society of the United States: Crate Training
- Cesar's Way: Problem: Dog Won’t Sleep Through the Night
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images