Let me start by saying if you work crate training is a must!! Now I do not crate them at night. They both sleep in our bed. Crowley was 12 weeks old when we brought him home. Our children were home for the summer so we didn’t start trying to crate him until he was 5 months old. He’s a very nervous dog and has terrible separation anxiety (we will get into that later). I gave up on crate training Crowley at that time. We did try closing all bedroom/bathroom doors and leaving him in the house. He was fine unless it stormed or he heard a noise ( which was most days) then it appeared he would literally bounce off of the walls! Break things, chew things. Lucky for us we have a room in the basement where he could stay when we were not home. Now when we got Madame she was only 8 weeks old and began crating her day 1. She never had a problem. She has had one accident in her crate to date. I would like to remind everyone that I have learned from having two dogs at the same time, they are very much like humans and have very different personalities!!! Keep that in mind when you are researching crate trainings tips.
About 3 weeks ago I decided to revisit crate training for Crowley. I just like the idea of them being secure and comfortable while we are away! I ordered a 2nd crate (Amazon). The crate needs to be cozy for them, like a den, but not too small. They should be able to stand and turn around with ease. I will add the links to the training sites that I used to this post.
My mistake the first go around was that I went too fast. You need to give them all the time that they need to make it a comfortable positive place to be. The moment you close that crate door and they feel scared or panicked you will be starting over from scare one! As I mentioned above some pups are just easy and you have no problems. From the research that I have done that isn’t the norm. I also learned that you can crate train any age dog. If you have adopted or have a rescue, they can still be trained. It just takes more time.
First week I put one of his blankets in and fed him every meal in his crate. I DID NOT CLOSE THE DOOR. This is very important. They need to be relaxed and comfortable. After the first week I put his bed in the crate. Then I started tossing treats into the back corner. This way he had to put all 4 feet in to get the treats. I didn’t stand over it. Just tossed the treats and walked away. Then treats and praise!! Lots of praise. I did this for several days every time I thought about it.
Now this next part you will all think I’m crazy but hear me out. I sat in front of the crate and put treats in and when he got all the way in and back out I praised and treated him each time. Doesn’t sound too crazy right? Ok here comes the crazy part. I got in the crate! I have boxers so the crates are huge. Me and both dogs can fit in them. I sat in the crate with a bag of treats. Within about 10 minutes Crowley was in the crate laying beside me. I stayed in there for 20 minutes or so. That very same night he went in the crate and took a nap!!!!
Here we are at 3 weeks, maybe longer and I have not locked him in yet. Don’t make that face! It’s not like this for everyone! He will be 2 in a few months and I know his personality well. He will freak and never step foot back in the crate if this isn’t done just right for him!
Some of you ask why not just put him on the crate lock it and go to work? He will be fine right ? WRONG! What could happen, he’s in a crate?? Well let me tell you…. We did this. We didn’t know any better. He freaked! Somehow got himself out of a locked metal crate ( hoodini)! He ripped off a toenail! He scooted the crate across the room in front of the door , while he was in it. Broke out in a rash! I mean it was awful! Seriously awful!!! This is the point that I caved! Worst dog mom ever!!! I felt terrible! He was so sad and pitiful! I was ready to just quit work! 🤣🤣 I wish!
Never ever for any reason use he crate as punishment! It the worst thing possible!! Try to always keep in mind the crate is there space. It’s meant to be a place that they like to go!
December 28, 2018 UPDATE….
I have been off of work since the 21st and I have taken this time to focus on getting Mr. Crowley totally crate trained! For the last two days he has been in his crate with the door shut and locked. He stayed in for 10-15 minutes each time. I stayed where he could see me but I went on about my business, making a point not to watch him. He did perfectly fine. Today I will do the same but leave the room for a few minutes.
**** 02/01/19 WE FINALLY HAVE SUCCESS! Today Mr. Crowley was in his crate for 2 hours! He did not freak out, try to escape, jump around or rip anything to shreds!!! I am such a proud dog mom right now!!!!! ***** I gave him a mega amount of praise and treats!!!