Crate Training

Teaching fido to crate himself

Crate Training

Thursday, October 8, 2015 | NHS Behavior Department

Teaching your dog to go into his crate on his own is easiest when you keep it fun. Show him what you want him to do by using small steps and lots of yummy treats. Here's an example to get you started:

Goal Behavior: Fido will get into his crate when asked to "kennel."

Rewards: Small pieces of cut-up hot dog, chicken, or other tasty dog treats. Treats only need to be about the size of a pea. Using smaller rewards will keep Fido working longer and allow him to eat quickly and stay focused.

Steps to get there:

  1. Gather up your treats and encourage Fido over to the crate with you. Have the door open and reward him for any movement toward the crate. Give him the treat close to the crate.  
  2. If your dog walks into the crate, praise him and give treats at the back of the crate. If he seems a little hesitant, reward any movement into the crate and treat just in front of him. Allow him to back out if he wants to. If at any point he goes all the way in, praise him and give lots of treats at once so he really understands going in is rewarding. 
  3. Once Fido is comfortable going into the crate, say, "kennel" as he heads inside and reward him at the back of his crate. Encourage him out and when he turns to go back in, say "kennel" and treat him again.
  4. As he gets good at going in and out, start making him wait for you to say, “Kennel.” If he dashes off too quickly, call him back to you and then ask him to "kennel." From this point on, he only gets a treat for going in the crate when you ask him to.

Note: Don't forget to reward Fido for coming out of the crate when you ask him to. We want him to remember being out of the crate is just as wonderful as being in.

Keep your training sessions short and reward often: This will keep your time together fun for both you and your dog. If you don’t get through all the steps in one session, don't worry. End on a positive note while you're both having fun, and try again later. This will help keep Fido motivated and wanting to learn.

Remember: When leaving your dog in his crate for a while, let him relieve himself outside first and provide him with something to keep him busy while you're gone.

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