For many dogs, getting in the crate can be a struggle! Here is one way we can help them out!

Step One: New Crate or New Location!

  • You can make much faster progress with a new crate in a different location! The new crate and the new spot won’t carry all the memories and learning attached to the old crate.
  • The new location doesn’t have to be far, just don’t put it in the exact same place as the old crate. (Even across the room is good!)
  • Leave your old crate set up. You’ll use this when your dog doesn’t have a choice
  • If you need to use the same crate, change its location for training sessions. This helps keep the “safety” signal predictable. It’s okay if it’s just another location in the same room.

Step Two: Train Your Dog to Go In On Cue!

  • Separately from your dog’s crate training (at first), teach them to go willingly into their new crate.
  • Choose a word or phrase that you all agree to use to cue him. It should not have any of the words you used for his previous crate.
  • Cue in a happy tone, “Name, go to your house” (or your chosen phrase)
  • Move your pointed hand in a big sweeping motion to point at his crate. This will be his hand signal.
  • Then, lure him to the crate with treats (at first), toss one toward the back as he goes in, and then feed him several rapid-fire as he stands in the crate.
    • If your dog doesn’t want to get near the crate or can’t go in all the way right away, that’s okay! Instead of trying to get him to do this all at once, reward smaller pieces. For example, if your dog doesn’t want to walk all the way up to the crate door, start with placing a treat a few feet away, let him eat it, toss a treat away from the crate for him to chase, and then place the next treat a little closer. Work where your dog is comfortable. (Let your trainer know if you need help here!)
  • Say “okay!” to release your dog from his crate and let him know he can come out.
  • Once he’s doing really well (A or B student!) you can begin cueing him with your hand signal, but not leading him with treats. He should still get treats when he gets in the crate.
  • Optional: Begin gradually increasing your distance from the crate when you cue “go to your house”. Start by standing 5 feet away, then try 8 or 10, then 15, and so on. Try it from various locations in the house. Your dog should be getting it right at least 80% of the time (4 out of 5 tries) before you increase your distance.

Step Three: Combine Crate Skills!

  • Once your dog can go to his crate on cue AND he is comfortable in his crate for a whole meal, you can start to combine these steps! Cue your dog to go to his crate, then feed him his meal in it and/or start your crate training session!
  • PS: Do NOT use this cue to get him into his old crate. Once he gets good at doing it with the new crate, it will be tempting. But, doing this can very quickly ruin all your hard work.
  • In the meantime, use your old crate (or old location) as normal.

That’s it! Please email your consultant if you have questions, we’re always happy to help!