Crate Setup and Introduction
Written by Pat Schaap,
posted here with author's
permission (Thanks Pat, for sharing!)
Set up crate - preferably in a heavily used
area - family room, kitchen, bedroom (not in front of a window or glass
door). The dog should be quiet in the crate, not constantly stimulated
by outside distractions. Put a rug or mat in if you wish, and chew toys
(a marrow bone stuffed with string cheese or hotdogs will keep most dogs
busy for a while and teach them that this is a proper chew toy). If the
dog is a young puppy, a soft stuffed toy (like a PUFF-A-LUMP) gives the
puppy something to cuddle with.
Allow the dog to investigate the crate - throw
a few small treats in and allow him to go in and out at will.
With the leash and collar on the dog (not
necessary if very young puppy) tempt him into the crate with food. If he
will not go in on his own, pick him up and put him in. DO NOT SHUT THE
DOOR. You should be sitting right outside of the crate door. Use leash
or your hand and do not let him out of the crate. You donít need to say
anything when shoving him back, but you can say "wait" if you feel the
need to use words. Praise him when he sits or lays down. Wait approximately
10 minutes before you release him from the crate with a release command
(i.e. "RELEASE" or "OUT"). Do the above at least 3 times - each time longer
than the previous one.
The 4th time you put him in the
crate (with a small treat) shut the door and sit in a chair next to the
crate. Talk to him if he gets anxious, but do not touch him. Ignore whimpering
or mild crying, but correct all frantic or temper tantrum behavior. When
you finally open the door the let him out do not allow him rush out. If
he tries to come out without the command to leave, quickly shut the door
again (perhaps bumping his feet or nose). Continue to try to open the door,
popping it closed again if necessary until he waits quietly for you to
give the command to come out. Examples of corrections:
"NO NO NO" and bang, bang, bang on top of
"NO NO NO" and rock crate back and forth once
"NO NO NO" and squirt lemon juice in dogís
Repeat #4 at least 3 different sessions -
each session at least 45 minutes. Do not release him from the crate if
he is complaining.
NOTE: Itís important to
understand that the dog must be taught how to behave in the crate. You
cannot just put him in and let him try to fight his way out. Any signs
of discontent - salivating, barking, digging at the bottom, biting the
bars, etc. - must immediately be controlled. This means that he must be
in the crate some of the time when you are home - even after months of
using the crate.
Now you can start putting the dog in the crate
(with a small treat) when leaving the room. When he is comfortable in the
crate (no clawing at crate or barking) for several hours at a time with
you in and out of the room, he is ready to be left in the crate when you
leave the house.
1 - The first time you
put the dog in the crate should be when he is tired and ready to take a
2 - Be sure there are toys
for the dog to chew on or play with in the crate.
3 - Do not leave the dog
with a mat in the crate when you start leaving the house if the dog is
likely to chew it. It just encourages the dog to chew cloth.
4 - Take the dog to the crate
with a leash and collar and put him in with a treat and a command such
as "CRATE" or "KENNEL". Do not call the dog to the crate to put him in.
5 - The dog should not be
allowed to rush out of the crate when you open the door. Use a command
to exit the crate as well as enter it.
6 - THE CRATE MUST NOT BE
ASSOCIATED STRICTLY WITH BEING LEFT - therefore you must continue leaving
the dog in the crate some of the time when you are home.
7 - Feed the dog in the crate
- this is a positive association.
8 - Using the crate as the
dogís bed at night is another positive association.
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