Do you have an adult dog that has never been crate trained? But now something changed and you need to know how to do it?
There are many reasons dogs do not get crate trained, and some never do. But crate training your dog can be beneficial to both you and your dog.
Crates can provide safety and comfort for your dog by giving them their own territory to retreat to. By having your dog crate trained, you’ll be able to travel easier with them. And crates can also keep a dog from acting out while you are away from home.
Read on to learn some great tips on how to crate train an adult dog.
9 Tips for How to Crate Train an Adult Dog
Training an adult dog to be comfortable when inside pet carriers & crates requires patience and trust between you and your dog.
Crates should only be used when you are happy with your dog and when you let them out as soon as you notice they are under any distress.
If follow these tips you’ll ensure you and your dog remain best friends and your dog will likely end up loving their crate as much as you will.
Make the Crate Comfortable For Your Dog
Put a cushion or blanket on the bottom of the crate for your dog to lie on. Once trained, your dog will be lying in its crate for long periods of time so having something cushy to lie on will help keep your dog comfortable.
For a short stay in a crate, a towel will suffice. But it won’t take long for an ordinary towel to get compacted and lose its comfiness.
If it’s cold (and you opted for a cushion for the inside of the crate), add a blanket inside the crate for your dog to snuggle.
Put the Crate Where Your Dog Can See It
Before you even start trying to get your dog to go into the crate, put the crate out where your dog can see it. Leave the door open and ignore it for a day or two. This will give your dog time to accept it and get familiar with any unusual scents it may emit.
Since dogs are den animals, it is possible your dog may go in straight away to investigate. If so, don’t attempt to close the door.
Remember to Be Patient
Crate training adult dogs can be a slow process. So remember to be patient. Your dog can recognize when you’re unhappy, so you need to remain calm.
Preparing Your Dog
Prior to attempting to encourage your dog into the crate, take them out for a walk or a run, depending on your dog’s energy level. You’ll want your dog to be ready for a little nap, so don’t skip this step.
By having your dog a little worn out, your dog will be more likely to be more relaxed and ready for a lie-down.
You’ll also want to make sure your dog has an opportunity to take care of “business” so they won’t be agitated because they need to use the restroom.
Use Treats as Encouragement
If your dog is reluctant to even enter the crate, place one of its favorite treats inside the crate. Sit down next to the crate so your dog understands you are going to stay nearby.
Talk Encouragingly to Your Dog
Your dog knows the voice you use when you are happy. Try to use this voice and smile at your dog while you speak words of encouragement to coax them to enter the crate. At this point, that’s all you should be hoping for.
If your dog grabs the treat and heads back out, restart at Step 4 after your dog has had a chance to recover.
When to Try Closing the Door
Once your dog begins entering the crate easily and appears to have adjusted to being inside it, you’ve reached the next phase in how to crate train your dog. This is when you can then start getting your dog used to having the door closed.
For the first attempt, be sure to give your dog a treat or their favorite toy prior to attempting to close the door. A little distraction can go a long way toward keeping your dog calm. Once their focus is distracted, close the door.
Do not leave the door closed for more than 30 or 60 seconds, even if your dog remains calm. You want your dog to know you can let them out.
During this phase in the training, you need to stay nearby and keep an eye on your dog. Because if your dog starts to freak out and attempt to get out of the crate on its own, it could get hurt.
After each visit into the crate, be sure to reward your dog with plenty of affection and voice your approval of their job well done.
Slowly Begin Increasing the Time
Once your dog is entering the crate and remains calm, you can begin to lengthen the time you leave them in the crate. You can also then begin moving further away from the crate to let your dog get adjusted to being in the crate without you nearby.
Once your dog appears to be relaxed while staying in the crate with you on the other side of the room, begin exiting the room for brief moments of time, returning soon so your dog knows they weren’t abandoned.
As your dog’s temperament stays positive, you can begin extending the time you spend outside of the room in increments of five minutes.
Some dogs have bladder and circulation issues that may limit their ability to remain restful and comfortable in a crate for extended periods of time. So you can extend the time you leave your dog in the crate up to the point where your dog’s individual bathroom needs and health issues require otherwise.
Leaving the House When Your Dog is Crated
Depending on your reasons for crate training an adult dog, you may have not planned to ever leave them in the crate while you are out of the house. But there are good reasons to add this to your crate training schedule.
There may come a time when you need to crate your dog during a move or to travel. Having your dog already accustomed to being in its crate without you there will save your dog from a lot of unnecessary stress if that time comes.
Start Your Dog’s Crate Training
Now that you know how to crate train an adult dog, you have likely realized it can be a slow process. So the earlier you get started, the easier it will be on you and your dog.
Neither of you needs the pressure of trying to crate train in a hurry.
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