How To Train Your Dog To Love Spending Time In Their Crate?
Updated: Jul 20
One of the best ways you can use stuffed toy is to train your dog to enjoy settling down inside a crate or playpen. If you haven’t already crate-trained your dog, this can be a real game-changer. A dog that is happy to settle down quietly inside a crate is so much easier to manage in all sorts of situations.
Do you just need an hour of peace and quiet? If your dog is happy to spend time in their crate, these things are incredibly easy to achieve.
Of course, the most important reason to crate train your dog is probably so you can toilet train them. Once your dog is crate trained, it’s incredibly easy to toilet train them.
But first, how do you crate train your dog?
Simple, you put a food stuffed chew toy inside their crate.
If you want to really make a point, you can show your dog a hollow chew toy. You can show your dog a handful of food and show them how you put all that food into their toy. Maybe with an extra-tasty piece of cheese or freeze dried liver down at the bottom.
Then you put the toy inside their crate and you close the door of the crate with your dog outside. Then, just wait for a minute or two. If you haven’t been feeding your dog from a bowl, and your dog is food-motivated, then your dog will be trying to figure out how to get into their crate!
After a minute, open the door and let them go inside. They’ll be so happy. They’ll get their chew toy and they’ll start working on getting the food out. They’ll probably lie down to get comfortable and to get a good handle on their chew toy. Now, every piece of food that falls out will be training your dog to enjoy spending time in their crate, with their chew toy.
If they try to bring their chew toy out of the crate, you can tether the chew toy to the back wall so it is impossible to remove the toy. If you do this, make sure to use a piece of natural-fiber string because string made form artificial materials can be dangerous if ingested.
Initially, you don’t even need to shut the door. Your dog will stay in the crate because that’s where the food is.
If you have time, you can also do some active training to encourage your dog to enjoy going into their crate and hanging out inside. Simply get a handful of your dog’s food, show your dog a few pieces and toss them into their crate. You can hand-feed them while they’re in their crate, or you can wait until they finish the food and come back out before tossing another handful of food inside.
As they learn to love spending time in their crate, you can start shutting the door and confining them inside for short periods of time, which you can gradually increase.
Your goal here is to train them to enjoy spending time in their crate. If your dog is quietly settled down inside their crate, occasionally praise them for being a good dog. You can even feed them a treat through the side of the crate. You don’t want to take that good behavior for granted, you want to notice it and reinforce it.
Conversely, try not to let them out of the crate when they are whining or barking, as that will only reinforce that behavior. Instead, wait for a little break in the noise, then praise your dog and let them out.
Once you’ve trained your dog to enjoy spending time in their crate, if you ever need to get your dog to settle down quietly for an hour or two, you can stuff a chew toy and put it inside their crate. They’ll be happy to enjoy a little chew and a little snack and a little nap in their cozy little den.
If you confine your dog for too long in their crate, they’ll get uncomfortable and eventually soil their crate, which is certainly not what you want. So if you need to leave your dog unsupervised for more than an hour or two, you should set up a playpen for your dog where they can’t get into trouble, but they have access to an indoor doggy toilet. Of course, you can train your dog to enjoy spending time in their playpen the same way you taught them to enjoy spending time in their crate.
Now you’ve got an easy way to prevent your dog from getting into trouble around the house when no one is available to supervise them. This is so important because a lot of the problems that dogs get into at home are self-reinforcing and as a result, they can quickly turn into bad habits.
If your dog is getting into trouble at home, use a crate or playpen to prevent these problems, and when your dog is not confined, make sure you are supervising them so you can redirect them immediately if they start doing anything inappropriate.