How to Crate Train Your Dog

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Mention crate training and you're likely to hear either people singing it's praises or complain about how much trouble they have getting their dog into the crate.
Enter: Crate Love!
We have a new puppy in the house every year to raise as a service dog. The first thing I do is teach them Crate Love.

Here's how we teach Crate Love:

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33 Comments on “How to Crate Train Your Dog”

  1. Thank you for putting into Video what I try to tell my students!!! Only Good Things happen in the crate. Look forward to seeing you someday at Expo…..
    Toni in Oklahoma
    PS….I call it “Your Nest”….. 🙂

    1. Hi Kitty, thanks for the great question. As soon as the dog is done eating, he gets to go right out to do his business. 

  2. I got a little 3 week old yorkie from a family that always put her to bed in a crate. She loves laying on soft  stuff so there is a pillow in it. She isn’t in love with her food and it would get lost in the pillow if i put it in. She sleeps in it but won’t go in on her own. any ideas?

    1. +bob talbot Sure! Feed all the meals in there! 🙂 There are other ideas in the video (put food in the crate, close the door so the dog can’t get in…then later open the door and let him run in to get his goodies!).

    2. +Laurie Luck Thanks  for the response i will try some things out. i meant she is 3 months old. lol a little different… also she gets nervous on car rides and has thrown up a couple times on them. any ideas how to get her more comfortable being in the car? Thanks again.

    3. +bob talbot Short car rides may help (short can be as fast as going to the bottom of your driveway and back!). Also, feeding meals in the car (while car isn’t moving — just creating a good association with being in the car).

  3. yes I loved how you treat the dog, this the best tutorial I seen yet, I just got a 4 wk full breed black pitbull w/ a white stripe in the middle btw

  4. What a great idea!! My dog is 4 yrs old now and I have had her for 3 yrs now. She was never kennel trained when I got her and once I started placing her in the kennel she would literally scream and attempt to get out. I realized I was only placing her in the kennel when I would leave, therefore Layla (my dog) associated the kennel with me leaving, which is a bad thing in her mind. I will definitely try this method. Thank you so much for posting this video, wish me luck!! 🙂

  5. Hi Laurie,
    What are a few good ways to increase the duration of dog-in-crate? Do you feed at a variable rate? Do you premack it like S. Garret? Or ????? I’m retraining a dog and so far I’ve been able to shape the pup into the crate and then I send him out so that he “wants” to go back in for another treat. Do I just delay the click or food presentation? Do I give the food toy for various durations? What has worked best for you? This particular dog is a 5 month old Doberman puppy with the attention span of a gnat right now! Thanks!

    1. Hi Deb, I have used stuffed Kongs to help them stay in the crate for longer. What I do with the young pups (8-10 weeks old) is put them in the crate for their naptime. It’s fairly easy to see when the pup is getting sleepy and I take that opportunity to use the crate then, too. It may take a little smear of peanut butter on the crate floor to get them started, but before you know it, they’re fast asleep! 🙂

    2. Pretty much what I do. Create CER+ to the crate and then use food puzzles or other great chew items. Especially for pups. For older or adult dogs, do you ever Premack it?

  6. Loved the video! I have a 12 wk beagle puppy and crate training is non-existent. I am definitely going to try your technique! As soon as I buy a new crate 🙂 I ruined the one I bought. I stupidly bought a soft sided. I am an experienced dog owner and have owned one other beagle. I have had dogs in the past that were great with their crate ( Irish Setter) . OK…finally my question. When do you close the door? Also my little one has separation issues with me. Thank you.

    1. I love those soft crates, but they’re tough if that’s the first crate for your dog. They’re so easy to “jailbreak!” 🙂 I start to close the door after the pup is happily going in and out of the crate on his own. I’ll close the door (not latch it) as he’s eating his food. Then when he’s done, I’ll open it up and let him come out. When he goes back in, I’ll close it again, systematically increasing the duration that the door is closed. For longer closed door sessions, I’ll add the stuffed Kong to the mix so he has a distraction and a reason to stay in with the door closed.

  7. Great demo! We’re getting our new pup at 8 weeks. Would you suggest having the crate beside our bed in the begning? Also, should we not let him out during the night? I get up a lot to goo to the bathroom during the night ( I drink a lot of water) lol. and I always get up at 4:30am every morning, Should I just ignore him, then let him out after I get lets say…my coffee, so as not to train him to have to go immidiately when he sees me get out of bed? I will be doing the potty bell’s w/clicker for housebreak training as soon as we get him. Thank you!

    1. I hope your pup is doing well! How very exciting. I do suggest having the crate in the bedroom with you. The pup is usually more comfortable that way, as he knows where you are, AND it’s much easier to hear him whine when he needs to go out.

      For young pups like yours, I do let them out as soon as I’ve gotten up because I know they need to go. You could then put him back in his crate with a little bit of his breakfast in a Kong if you wanted to have your coffee in peace. 🙂 LOL.

      Enjoy that puppyhood, it goes so quickly!

    2. Hi Laurie! Thank you so much for your reply. He likes his crate now. I have it beside our bed and he gets fed and has his water in there. After about a week, he stopped the whinning and howling when we went to bed, until he fell asleep. That was a lil’rough lol… and when I had to leave him in there at times during the day. Jack’s going on 12 weeks now and using the Potty Bells. What a blessing those are! I’m training him the way you demonstrate in your videos and I’m in love with the clicker method. It makes training him go so much faster! The “Leave It” command is such a smart thing to teach, I never would have thought of it without your video. He has it down very well now and I still practice it by dropping diff. items near him in and outside the house to really reinforce it. He was chasing the ball with our Chihuahua, I said it and he stopped dead in his tracks, I was surprised! I clicked and treated when he came to me using dried Cranberries, he loves them, lol. Thank you and God bless for taking the time to post your videos. I watch and re-watch them. Jack’s an Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog.

  8. thankyou for this info about crate training. you put my mind at ease, I’ve always trained with out a create and never had problems. but now since I have my staff pup, which is my 3rd dog he’s created problems which I haven’t encountered before. I always thought caging was mean. but this video and your explanation is great that makes me feel happy and at ease about crate training.

    1. Giovanny Melendez I have a male English Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He would pee inside after being taken outside to pee, very challenging behaviour, waking up through the night more often than my previous dogs and relieving himself any where other than the news paper that he was introduced too from birth. All this even though he had a routine, and plenty of play and exercise, and socialisation with young children, males and females.

  9. does your dog sleep in the crate overnight? does that cause separation issues at night with whining, etc…? how do you handle that on the first night before the dog is familiar with the crate?

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