Crate Training

Another training post so soon after the last one?! It’s bonkers! πŸ™‚

I’ve already written on crate training a few times (see here for tips on how to crate train your dog), but oh well…this topic is slightly different & I have a – terribly out of focus – video to share of Kasper πŸ™‚

Crate training is awesome for several reasons. When trained the right way it provides the dog with a safe, den-like area. It’s a great tool for toilet training puppies, as most dogs don’t like to potty where they sleep. In a household where dogs resource guard or don’t tolerate each other very well, crates and baby gates become indispensable. And if you have a dog that wrecks the house every time you leave, crate training can become a valuable tool in protecting your home πŸ™‚

When Kasper came to us he had severe separation anxiety. We were dog newbies at the time and really weren’t expecting it, nor did we know how to treat it. All we knew was that we were living in rented accommodation and Kasper had just half chewed his way through a door!!

first

Hey there destructo-dog! (Kasper, March 26th 2011)

Previously I’d always been against crating dogs; I thought it was cruel and unnecessary. However when I read up on it I learnt that crate training is great for all the reasons listed above but, most of all, because when crate trained properlyΒ it provides the dog with somewhere safe.

And that’s exactly what we wanted. So we crate trained him. It was a long process, if I remember correctly it took us almost two months, but it was so worth it. We now have a dog that can be left happily – and who will race to his crate for safety if he’s been counter surfing!! πŸ˜‰

However, Kasper hated going into his crate. Once in there he settled immediately and began to de-stuff his food-filled Kong…but getting him in when we wanted used to be a chore. So now we play what I call ‘crate confidence’ games. We work on desensitising him to going in and out of his crate, and add in some impulse control fun of him waiting in there willingly with the door open.

I keep the training sessions very short (never longer than a few minutes each). I use a nice easy to eat high value reward, such as peanut butter. And I vary the difficulty of the task Kasper is asked to perform…for example one time he might have to go into his crate and wait five seconds before he gets his click / treat, whereas the next time he will go in and be c/t immediately. Gotta keep them on their toes! πŸ™‚

Anywhoo, here’s the video…and I do apologise for it being so badly out of focus. The camera is supposed to focus itself whilst filming, but I guess it didn’t fancy it that day…

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5 thoughts on “Crate Training

  1. Interesting. Stitch is the first crate trained dog I have ever had and he came to me that way. When he was new here it was so obviously his security blanket, the one thing that hadn’t changed in his life and he loves it still. I am pleased to say that when life gets REALLY scary (thunder) of late, I trump the crate for security.

    • That’s awesome, a huge congratulations to you πŸ˜€

      Zoey loves her crate, but she doesn’t need it in the same way Kasper does. I don’t doubt that if we suddenly left the house with Kasper out of his crate his separation anxiety would return full force.

      • I don’t think his last temporary family bought Stitch his own crate. I think it was one they had for smaller dogs. He can’t even stretch out in it… I want to replace it but I am so afraid to because it means so much to him. Any advice?

      • Does he have blankets in his crate? If so move any smelly blankets (that will smell of him) into his new crate so it smells familiar. You can scatter treats into his crate when he’s not looking, so he associates it with awesome things.

        You can also use a marker (such as “yes” or “good boy”) every time he sniffs at the new crate and reward him with a treat. As he gets braver and may go inside the crate, do the same thing, mark with a “yes” and reward heavily. Just build up any positivity you can with the crate πŸ™‚

        We’ve swapped Kasper and Zoey’s crates around quite a few times, and they’ve never minded at all…hopefully Mr Stitch will be the same πŸ˜‰

        If he didn’t accept the new one after a few days could you switch back to the old one?

        Good luck!

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