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  • Jeffrey Causby, ABCDT

Riding the crate train!

Puppy sleeping in crate

I hear it all the time, people tell me "I would never use a crate, that is cruel" But, wouldn't it be cruel to leave an animal that explores the world by putting things in their mouth in a place filled with items that can cause that animal to choke or die from a blockage? Crates are amazing, not cruel! Dog's like to have a place they can escape our world and go to so make the crate comfy from a dog's point of view. It should be dark, have waterproof and chew proof padding, a bowl for water, and a chew item like an everlasting treat wheeler or a knuckle bone.

Fearful dogs love crates. Confident dogs love crates. Puppies don't really love crates right away but, I have seen some take to it immediately and especially after some training. It takes time and it takes training but, you can build a reinforcement history with your dog's crate and your dog and the dog will actually view going in the crate as something rewarding. Here is a training plan to help give you an extra push in your training, hope it helps!! ~HAPPY DOGS THROUGH PAWSITIVE TRAINING~


Capture your dog going in the crate with a click and treat (place the treat inside the crate, then reset by holding a treat outside and away from crate) until you see that your dog is consistently offering to go in the crate throughout the day then add the cue "Your Crate" to the behavior by saying "your crate" as your dog is going in the crate, clicking when they are all the way in, place the treat inside the crate then reset the dog with a treat outside the crate. Repeat this for 3 minutes each session for 2-5 times a day. After your dog is good at this it is time to proof the behavior. If you don't proof the behavior it will go away eventually. So, practice making it harder by adding small bits of distraction building up to heavy distraction. Practice cueing the behavior at a small bit of distance, adding small amounts of distance to where you cue the behavior away from the crate until you have built up a large distance. Add duration by cueing the dog to go in the crate, marking the behavior, and placing one treat let the dog eat treat and keep placing treats over and over five times then stand back and click then repeat by adding 5 more pieaces of treats inside the crate, do not reset the dog for the full three minutes.

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