Crates can be useful for travel for dogs that need crate rest for a medical reason or to keep dogs safe and out of trouble for short periods during the day. Some dogs can be comfortable in a crate overnight as they sleep, but they should not be used for more than 2 to 3 hours during the day. Overuse of crates can be detrimental to a dog’s mental and physical health. The sessions should be roughly 5 to 10 minutes in length and should be conducted at least one time each day for 10 weeks.
These training exercises require a high rate of reinforcement. You can use a moist meaty nutritious food that supplements meals. The goal is to help dogs become comfortable with an open- or closed-door crate, calmly and casually walking in and out and exhibiting relaxed body language and behavior inside.
Step 1 Disassemble the Crate
If your dog is very nervous with a crate, it’s a good idea to disassemble the crate and help them become comfortable with approaching and interacting with the bottom half first. If your dog is nervous about taking the food from the front lip of the crate, then place it 1 to 2 feet in front of the crate or more if that’s what your dog needs. Your dog will progress if you allow them the opportunity to progress at their paces.
Step 2 Two Paws in
Once your dog is freely taking food off of the lip of the crate, you can begin to reinforce if he places 1 or 2 paws in the crate. Placing a non-slip training knot inside can facilitate this process. Aim to reinforce for 10 to 15 second period before providing a short one-minute break. This break will allow your dog to process the training while building focus and engagement. It will also help because your dog will come to trust that you will never push them beyond their comfort level. The less force you use the more confident your dog will become, and the faster your training will progress.
Step 3 Four Paws In
The next step is to teach your dog to step inside the crate and then subsequently turn around. Break this down into 2 separate parts. If your dog steps in and quickly backs out or if your dog is stretching to take the food, this is a sign that you have raised criteria too high.
Step 4 Bottom and Top
Once your dog is stepping in and turning around, you can begin the process of reassembling the crate. You may need to drop criteria by reinforcing once again for 1 or 2 paws inside. In some cases, it can be helpful for your dog to see another dog model the desired behavior.
Step 5 Crate with the Gate
Add the gate back into the picture when your dog is fluently walking in and out of the assembled crate. When you first put the gate back on, you do not need to begin closing the gate right away. Assume that the sight and sound of the gate will be challenging enough. If you see your dog reaching for the food or stretching out their back legs, this is a sign that criterion is set to high. Deliver the food in a way that allows your dog to step forward and take it without any sign of hesitation.
Step 6 Closing the Gate
Close the gate for 10 to 20 second periods and provide a high rate of reinforcement while the door is closed. When you open the gate, provide a few more pieces of food before ending that training set. Many dogs find the step to be very challenging because they could experience stress associated with being confined, in combination with the sound generated by the gates locking mechanism. If your dog is not taking the food or rushes out the second the gate opens, this is an indication you should spend more time on the previous step. Let your dog set the pace, just close the gate once each session. Opening and closing the gate in repetition has the potential to generate more anxiety, especially for dogs that are sound sensitive or anxious with confinement.
Step 7 Sleeping in the Crate
The final step is adding duration in a manner that helps your dog associate the crate with a place of relaxation. You can do this by positioning the crate next to your bed and having your dog sleep there at night. Place comfortable bedding and crate and keep the crate door open for 3 to 7 days before you attempt to close the door at night.
WellTurn was founded in 2005 and specializing in developing, producing and exporting quality pet training products, such as remote dog training collar, citronella dog collar, electric dog fence, etc. We believe it is our responsibility to provide the best dog training collars for every dog owners and trainers around the world.