Crate training an older dog
We just bought Kail a crate. She's housetrained, seventeen months. She was a shelter pup, and as far as I know she has never been crate trained.
I have the crate in my room. She seems comfortable with it - she eats dinner in it, plays with her kong toys, walks in and out of it freely during the day and has laid down inside it for short periods of time. I've never crate trained a dog before, so I'm a little scared that I'll scare her by shutting the door ... How do I go about getting her used to being shut in the crate?
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Just a quick question- why exactly is crating important to you? If she's already housetrained and not destructive, why worry so much? To many dog trainers/owners, crates are not for permanent daily use, just a training tool for young puppies and dogs that can't be trusted inside yet.
Okay, to get that out of the way, I would try shutting the door on her for just a second, pop her a treat through the bars, and then open the door again. Repeat. She'll associate the door being closed with yummies. If you want her to be comfortable in the crate for longer periods, withhold the treat for a couple seconds at first, building up to several minutes. Release after treat every time so she doesn't feel trapped.
You can also put her bed in the crate and encourage her to sleep in there at night (with the door open) so she's used to spending time inside it.
Maggie answered on Mar 14th.