Although a dog is never as difficult to get a dog into a crate as a recalcitrant cat, you may have a hard time convincing him. Or, every time you manage to get him in, he starts scratching vigorously and barking his way out, as if he were living in a nameless hell.
Here’s a simple and effective way to get your dog into his crate.
Choosing the right dog crate
Before going into the details of taming your dog’s crate, it should be said that it may be normal for him to be afraid of it if it is a dark, small and smelly box!
A good dog crate is an accessory designed especially for animals like the ones you can see on our cage comparator.
It should be sized to fit the animal so that it can’t feel oppressed, enough air coming in and a nice view of the surroundings. The dog being a very curious person, he needs to see what is going on around him to be reassured and avoid boredom.
Now that you’ve made the right choice, let’s get him used to HIS space.
The cage is not a punishment, but a refuge!
You should not leave with the idea of forcing the dog to go in his crate, but how to get him used to this space and make him comfortable.
First of all, let’s eliminate an annoying habit that some masters have: turning the cage into a punishment. If your dog makes a mistake, locking him in the crate is a disastrous idea. Instead, lock your dog in a room alone for about 20 seconds. Since he hates being outside of the social group, this will be a real punishment and will not affect his relationship with the crate.
Setting up the dog crate
To keep your dog in his crate easily, make a cozy nest. Among the possible arrangements, here are a few quick ideas to put in place:
- Put a blanket or clothing with your scent on the ground so that your dog can feel on familiar ground.
- Place a bowl of water for him to drink. It is best to fix it so that it does not overturn if he moves.
- Add one or two toys for him to chew on if he gets bored or to relieve anxiety.
- Decide on a location for the cage if he is at home so that he can associate it with a basket and not with a special event.
- Store the cage in a place where there is a little movement and noise (e.g., outside view, TV or radio in the background).
Start without closing the door
The first time, don’t close the door. Put a toy in the crate or put a treat for the dog to go in of his own free will. He will do it very quickly. Then, leave the door wide open for a while so that he can understand that this is not a trap, but an accessory like any other.
This phase is very important. Do not neglect it. For example, if you are considering buying a cage just for an airplane trip, take the time to apply this method a few weeks before departure to reduce his anxiety on D-day.
Close the door in your presence
The first few times you want to lock your dog in the crate, do it in your presence. For example, one day when you are vacuuming, bring him in and close it. He’ll see you moving around with him. Seeing you reassure him. If he barks to get out, ignore him.
Upstream, give him a treat like a chewed bone to keep him busy. Put the cage in front of the window with a view of the street so that he can observe the passers-by and even forget he is in his cage.
Repeat this step regularly. Your dog will eventually get used to being locked in the crate.
Remember, there’s never a sure thing about a dog. If you don’t use the crate for two years, you’ll have to start the process again the next time you want to see him go in and close the door.
Choosing the right moments in the crate
Once your dog supports the crate, regression only occurs if you misuse the crate. Thus, you should not :
- Leave the dog in the crate too long.
- Lock him in the indoor crate while he sees you getting ready and leaving.
- Put him in a crate in a stressful place (in the dark, a lot of noise)
- Reduce the cage to negative situations such as a visit to the vet .
The cage will serve you on many occasions
Getting your dog used to the crate is a great thing because it can be used in many situations. Personally, I only use it when I am on vacation rental and I have to leave Jodie and Mookie alone for less than an hour.
Since they love to eat whatever they can, especially when they are stressed, I avoid possible destruction. They are never reluctant to go to their cage, even though when I come back, they celebrate as if I had abandoned them for three weeks.
The cage can also be used for :
- To take the plane or other public transport
- Put the dog in the trunk of the car (make sure the crate is securely fastened)
- Going to the vet
- Avoid running away from the dog (e.g., eating at a person’s home that does not have an enclosed garden).
- Preventing the dog from eating bad stuff in an outdoor area
- Enjoying your privacy (ex: prevent your dog from getting on the bed, but let him sleep in the crate next to your bed)