Last week, I talked about introducing your dog to a crate and this week, I will move into getting your dog used to being in the crate. Once your dog is comfortable going in and out of the crate, you will want to start training on getting him used to staying in there for periods of time with the door latched. (It is important that you let your dog out to relieve himself before crating for any period of time to prevent ‘accidents’)
In order to get Ellie used to being left in the crate, home alone, I leave the TV on. This way, she can’t hear every little creak of the house or footsteps down the hallway. I also do this so that turning off the TV won’t trigger the thought of “uh oh, TV’s off, that means mom’s about to leave me alone”. I also cover her crate with a blanket, except for the front door to it, so that she can’t see my every movement (ie. see me enter/leave the room).
To begin, ask your dog to enter the crate, give him a treat, and close the door. Don’t make a big fuss when you close and open the door; you want to give your dog the impression that this is no big deal. Be sure to remain in the room, but divert your attention to something other than your dog and the crate. Practice this throughout the day for 5-10 minutes at a time so that your dog gets used to the concept of being confined. When you are sure that he is comfortable with this, gradually increase crate time. Try 20-30 minutes.
Is your dog used to a crate? How did you train him?