Got this from one of my daily digests and had to share...
One of the best training tools that you have as a dog owner is a crate. It helps with potty training and keeps your dog from ruining your home when you are gone.
But many dogs really don't like crates when they are first introduced to them. So in this e-mail I will give you a few tips on how I've conditioned my dogs to love their crates.
Step #1: Build a strong positive association to the crate.
Leave the crate open (or remove the door) so that your dog can investigate and go in and out of the crate on his own. Then anytime that he steps inside the crate, throw in a treat inside the crate.
This will make your dog think that there is something special about the crate and every time he goes into it something good happens.
Continue doing this for a day or two, but make sure that you give the treat inside the crate. The location of the reinforcement is very important.
Step #2: Close the door
Next, you will want to condition your dog to accept being inside the crate with the door closed.
You can achieve this by closing the door, giving your dog a treat through the door, then opening the door.
As your dog becomes comfortable being inside the crate, gradually increase the amount of time before you open the door.
You can also reward your dog for staying inside the crate. So you'd open the door, give your dog a treat, then close the door again.
The final step is for your dog to remain in the crate for an extensive amount of time. You should never crate your dog for more than a couple of hours at a time.
In the beginning, get your dog excited to go inside the crate and as soon as he enters, throw in a handful of cookies. Close the door and then leave the room.
By the time your dog has eaten all of the cookies, you would be gone and your dog wouldn't have noticed you leave. So wait a few minutes and if he is calm, open the door, give him a treat inside the crate and let him out of the crate.
NOTE: It is very important that you never let your dog out of his crate when he is crying, whining or barking. If you do, your dog will continue to do those behaviors in order to get out of the crate.
As your dog becomes comfortable being inside the crate, gradually increase the amount of time that he stays inside the crate before you return. Begin with a few minutes and work up to 15 minutes or so.
Hopefully this short guide will help you with crate training your dog. There is so much more that I could add to this but I didn't want to send you a 20-page e-mail. :-)
To Your K9 Success,
P. S. Remember, the key to crate training is building a very strong positive association to the crate. Think of it as teaching your dog that this is his special den or bedroom.
Power Quote: "Make sure that your dog's crate is large enough that he is comfortable inside, I'd also put a bowl of water inside so that he doesn't get dehydrated." - Jean Cote