Crate Training Your Dog

A German Shepherd Dog in his crate

Crate training a dog is a common topic for debate among pet owners.  At Longoriahaus Dog Training, we believe it is an essential tool for training your dog, keeping your dog safe and preserving your home and it’s décor in your absence.  This article is not intended to debate the merits or shortfalls of crate training; we’ll save that for another article.

To crate train your dog, you will need the following equipment:

  • A bait bag in which to place all the dog’s food/treats.
  • A clicker
  • High value food reward
  • A crate

* It is a good idea to have done the work of clicker training or at least conditioning the clicker prior to beginning crate training.*

Begin with a crate where the top or back panel can be removed.  You will need to access the dog freely without impeding the dog’s exit.  Do not rush this process, the dog will tell you when he is comfortable and ready to spend time in his crate.  Rushing a dog through this training could lead to a variety of issues down the road.

Once you have configured the crate as described above, toss a few high value food rewards into the crate while you point to it and say, “Go to your crate”.  (You may choose whatever phrase you plan to use to command your dog to enter the crate.)  As soon as your dog steps into the crate, if even with only one or two paws, “click” and offer additional treats to your dog, while he remains with a least one paw in the crate.  Allow the dog to exit the crate at any time.  Repeat this 3-6 times.

Toss treats into the crate again while pointing and repeating your command.  Focus on getting treats as far from the entrance as possible.  When the dog enters the crate, “click” and begin to offer the dog additional treats while he remains in the crate.  Use this opportunity to lure the dog all the way into the crate so that all four paws are in the crate.  Praise your dog profusely while he remains in the crate.  Allow him to exit the crate freely.

Continue to repeat this exercise until the dog begins to relax and spend more time in the crate accepting treats.  Begin to introduce slow, calming pets down your dogs back to increase the amount of time the dog will spend in the crate.  Once the dog begins to relax and linger in the crate, reattach the top or back panel.

Repeat the exercise from the beginning by throwing treats into the crate while pointing to it and repeating your chosen command.  When the dog has entered the crate, “click” and offer the dog treats while he remains in the crate.  Do not entice the dog to exit the crate with these additional treats.  At no time during this phase of training should you close the door to the crate.

Repeat this phase of the exercise until your dog will go to the crate and enter it on your command.  When the dog shows he is comfortable in the crate without treats or pressure, you may begin to close the door.  Start by closing the door for a few moments, “click” and offer a few treats to the dog, while he remains in the crate.  Gradually work on increasing the time between closing the door and “clicking”.

Do not expect to train your dog to love his crate in one afternoon.  For some dogs, it is a behavior that is slow to come.  When I begin crate training a dog, I usually expect the process to take at least 2-3 weeks and as long as six weeks.  Keep your patience intact, there are few dogs that can’t be trained to enjoy a crate.

Are you looking for a better behaved, more obedient dog?  Longoriahaus Dog Training provides customized Dog Training in Houston for your pet or your competition prospect.  Contact us today to learn more about our exciting program.






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