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Crate Training

Start by choosing the appropriate crate size for your dog. If it is a puppy then buy the size for the dog she will be when full grown and block off an area if needed.

We need to show our pups that being in the crate is a great thing, this is their space.

Start by taking off the door to the crate or securing it open with a bungee cord. If the crate has more than one door open them all. This will allow for access at all times, letting your dog sniff around comfortably.

Begin with a baggy of your dog’s favorite treats broken up into tiny pieces. Drop some in the crate. If your pup goes in, praise her and drop some more treats in there. Allow your dog to come out if she wants to.

If she doesn’t go in, praise and feed any movement towards the crate; it can be the head turning towards the crate, a step in that direction or even just the eyes looking that way. Slowly encourage a little more by luring her with treats on the ground getting closer and closer to the crate until she puts her nose in. Praise her for the success then toss treats further away from the crate to restart the process; this will allow your dog the confidence she needs to return to the crate on her own. Repeat the luring process and this time end with one paw inside the crate, then two paws, then all four.

Once your pup goes in voluntarily you can start adding a cue like “crate”, “kennel” or “to bed”. Say the cue and wait, see if she moves towards the crate, if she does encourage with your voice and as she gets in, praise handsomely with treats. If she doesn’t go in on her own, then lure and still reward her effort with a few treats. Continue until every time you say the cue, she goes in voluntarily.

Now you are ready to attach the door back on or remove the bungee cords. Lure your dog into the crate, praise her and while she is eating the treats inside the crate close the door momentarily. Open it up again and let her come out.

Slowly increase the time she is inside the crate, feeding treats through the door. Once she can stay in the crate comfortably for a few minutes, begin to go out of site. At this point you can leave a chew toy or bone inside the crate as entertainment for her. Eventually she will be so comfortable in her crate it will be one of her favorite places.

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This story was written by nora.vangenderen@alphagraphics.com

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