When crate training is done properly, a crate is a place where your dog will feel safe. Dogs are “den” animals naturally, and they enjoy being in safe, enclosed spaces. That being said, be patient when crate training your puppy or dog. With the crate training plan below, you’ll build trust with your dog, and he or she will learn the role of the crate. As with any dog training, it’s all about reinforcing good behavior (rather than focusing on bad behavior).

Want to download a handy pdf of our Puppy and Dog Crate Training Plan? Click here.

Process: 

Do 5 reps at a time with your dog, and count your successful reps. If you have 4-5 successful reps, increase your criteria. If you have 3 out of 5 that are successful, stay at this level until you hit 4 or 5. If you have less than 3, then lower your criteria.

Step 1:

With the crate door open AND fixed back with a clip or tie, click and treat for any glance at the crate. Toss the treat on the floor further away from the crate and wait for the dog to return towards you.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 2:

Click and treat for any movement TOWARDS the crate. Toss the treat on the floor further away from the crate and wait for the dog to return towards you.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 3:

Click and treat for movement CLOSER to the crate (go in increments of distance).

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 4:

Click and treat for 1 paw in the crate, two paws in the crate, etc., being sure to reward IN the crate and then tossing a treat away to reset.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 5:

Click and treat IN crate for all four paws in the crate.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 6:

When your dog enters the crate on the next repetition, cue a SIT or a DOWN (whichever your dog knows best). Click and treat.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 7:

When your dog enters the crate on the next set, WAIT for a SIT or a DOWN to happen on its own. If this criteria doesn’t happen, do a few more reps of this step.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 8:

When your dog is entering the crate on cue and then sitting or lying down automatically, remove the tie-back of the gate door and start swinging the door shut for a second, then opening and releasing your dog.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

Step 9:

Increase the time spent in the crate gradually, first by seconds, then by minutes, working up to longer periods with a puzzle toy inside. Make sure he/she is crated for at-home and not-at-home times so it becomes a comfortable place.

Record Successful Reps:       / 5

At the end of the day, it’s all about your dog feeling safe and comfortable in his or her crate. Send or tag us a photo of your dog enjoying their crate time!

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