Crate Training For Freedom

Crate training your dog allows you certain dog owner freedoms. If your dog can stay in a crate quietly, you can travel to any hotel that accepts pets and know that your dog will not be disruptive.

They are one of my essential tools for training. They are especially handy when house training a puppy. My dogs sleep in their kennels at night and I never have to worry if they’ve gotten into anything while I’m sleeping. I also use a dog crate to transport my dogs to the veterinarian and when we go on a trip or hunting.

When you aren’t watching your dog in your house, he could be chewing on the chair leg, using the corner as the toilet, or stealing food off the counter. These behaviors are rewarding themselves and quickly become a habit. Using a crate when you’re busy, decreases the chances of your dog developing these bad behaviors.

A dog will not like his crate if it's used as a punishment. As the owner, you have to make it a safe haven for your dog.

Even if you have the most well-behaved dog on the planet, there will be times when a crate would be an ideal solution. Our family will pet-sit for our friends and neighbors and it’s really nice if their pets can come and stay at our house. Having them crate-trained allows them to interact with our family’s routine.

Start Training

To start crate training your dog you'll need the following items:

  • The crate
  • A blanket or crate pad
  • Treats or your dog’s favorite toy
  • And, of course, your dog.
  • Leash and collar - optional

If your dog is prone to running away from you, then a leash and collar is recommended. Be sure to praise your dog when he gets it right.

  1. Place a blanket or crate pad inside the crate for comfort.
  2. Sit in front of the crate with your dog and the treats/toys.
  3. Place the treat/toy toy just inside the crate and let your dog get it. Repeat 3 or 4 times.
  4. Now toss the treat/toy into the middle of the crate. Have your dog get it and repeat this 3 or 4 times.
  5. Next, toss the treat/toy to the back to the crate. Have your dog get in 3 or 4 times.
  6. Once your dog is comfortable going in and out for the treats, toss the treat/toy in and then close the door. Wait about 30 seconds and then let your dog out.

  7. Now let’s add the command. First decide on what command you want to use. Here are a couple of popular ones:

    Kennel
    Kennel Up
    Get In
    Bedtime

  8. Toss the treat into the crate and say the command. Repeat 3 or 4 times.
  9. Now, give the command, wait for your dog to go into the crate, and then give the treat. Repeat 3 or 4 times
  10. After your dog has been consistently going in and out of the kennel, vary the times that you give the treat or toy.

Now that your dog is going in reliably, will he stay there quietly?

Puppies just brought home naturally will have some separation anxiety, especially when it comes to bedtime. If your dog doesn’t sleep with you, or you don’t want your dog to sleep with you, crate training is an ideal solution.

To help puppies sleep at night without barking and whining, I’ve used this trick.

On the day or day after your bring your puppy home, wear a t-shirt that you don’t mind throwing away. Wear this all day long.

At the end of the day, when it’s time for bed, throw the t-shirt into the crate or kennel with your puppy.

This shirt has been absorbing your odor all day and will help calm your puppy at bedtime. He will smell you in the crate and be comforted by your scent.

This may or may not work with an older dog, but it’s worth a try. Anything for a peaceful night of sleep, right?

”Be Quiet” Command

If your dog is whining and crying and carrying on and on, I recommend teaching your dog a command that tells them to be quiet.

First, you must stop the barking or whining. To do this, you can startle the dog or make some sort of noise that gets their attention.

Clapping your hands, stomping your foot, or using a squeaker toy can be a good distraction. When your dog stops barking and whining, say “Be Quiet.” Then say nothing. If they start again, repeat the startle/distraction.

When your dog is quiet, say “Good dog” and leave it at that. The more fuss you make, the more excited your dog may get.

Crate training your dog isn’t too difficult and sometimes it sure does come in handy!

Return to Puppy Training from Crate Training

Return to Dog Training for Living from Crate Training

Get dog training tips delivered to your inbox!

Dogs inhabit our homes, our lives, our very souls.  They show us how to live our lives; with compassion, with vigor, with purpose. 

Share your life with a dog.