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Getting your dog used to a dog crate can be challenging or easy, depending on your dog's age and temperament. Puppies are less of a problem. They're more adaptable and generally small enough that putting them into the dog crate the first few times is not a problem. Bigger dogs that haven't been crated before are likely to be more of an issue. Either way, the best way to get a dog used to a dog crate is to make the dog crate seem like home. Put a dog bed in the dog crate. Even better, put a familiar bed in the dog crate. Add comfortable blankets or towels. Place favorite toys and treats in the far end of the dog crate. If it's possible, place the dog crate near or next to you. If the dog is going to be crated for anything longer than a few minutes, make sure there's fresh, cold water available.
Prop the door open and let the dog find its way inside the dog crate. When he goes inside, praise the dog and offer a treat. Let the dog go in and out of the dog crate as he pleases for as long as possible before shutting the door. Remember, you're trying to make this as attractive as possible to the dog. Once you decide to shut and lock the door, do it while you're at home. Then keep praising the dog and offering treats for good behavior inside the dog crate.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|