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:
- Feed all meals in the crate. You can feed them from their bowl, or, if you have speedy eaters, put the meal into a food-dispensing toy. In either case, the food is delivered in the crate.
- Leave the door open, let the dog enter and exit the crate as he pleases to eat his meal.
- When offering treats or chews, toss them into the crate. The message you’re giving the dog is: all good things are delivered in the crate.
- When you have to put the dog in the crate and leave him, it’s important to put a safe food-dispensing toy in there with him to help occupy his time. (I don’t offer rawhide-type chews when I’m gone — too high risk for choking.)
We’ve never had any trouble convincing a dog that the crate is a great place to be using the Crate Love system.
Things to avoid when teaching Crate Love:
- Don’t force your dog into the crate when you’re teaching Crate Love. Part of the beauty is that it’s the dog’s choice to go into the crate.
- Don’t use the crate as punishment.
- Don’t yell at the dog if they bark in the crate. The crate is always a happy place when teaching Crate Love.
Talk to me: Does your dog love his crate? Share your tips and things that have worked for you. (Only positive, dog-friendly ideas, please…)