Help! Crate Training Adult Rescue Dog who doesn't like crates

posted 3 weeks ago in Pets
Post # 2
695 posts
Busy bee

Definitely get a very good trainer to come over and guide you through this process! If you try to do it on your own and make a mistake, it will take even longer to fix. I know trainers cost money, but much less money than moving out (if it helps to think of it that way).


Post # 4
695 posts
Busy bee

becomingmichi :  I hope that will do it. If you’re not sure where to start, your vet should be able to give you a few solid recommendations. Good luck!

Post # 5
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Google Crate games. It’s a training DVD by an AMAZING dog trainer and very much worth it, esp. for an adult dog with anxiety issues. The key is to make it super rewarding to go in there, never a place of punishment.


Post # 6
967 posts
Busy bee

I crate trained my adult resue dog in a couple days. Is your dog food motivated? Start while you are home. Leave the door open and put a kong filled with peanut butter and other treats in the crate. Slowly encourage your doggie to go in the crate to get the Kong. If he just goes in, get’s it, and leaves, thats okay. Work up to having him lay down in the crate while he has his Kong, but keep the door open. Once you are at that point, close the door for a few minutes while he’s eating it, but stay in the room. Also, feed him all his meals inside the crate. After about doing this for a week give him his kong, close the door, and go outside or leave the room for a bit. It’s all about baby steps. Once he associates the crate with getting meals or treats, he’ll like it. Never put him in the crate as punishment. Also keep the crate around with the door open at all times. You’ll find he’ll start going in there to chill. 

Post # 7
185 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

A trainer will definitely help, but in general you want to make sure the crate is a safe place and he gets rewarded when he goes there. Make sure the crate is big enough for him to comfortably turn around and lay down. Start slow, with the crate open and in the area, and let him sniff it and get used to it without having to go inside. Then place treats/ toys at the entrance of the crate, and then inside, to tempt him in slowly. Praise him when he goes inside. Work up to closing the door while he in inside, and then open the door right away and praise. Repeat with longer periods of the door closed until he is comfortable. Don’t try to do too much in a single day, keep sessions short and fun. good luck! 

Post # 8
1062 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Another vote for “crate games.”  You want the crate to be a place they go without thinking you are going to lock them in.  Ideally, the dog will go and stay in there and not notice whether you lock the door or not.

Post # 9
101 posts
Blushing bee

Do NOT use one of those plastic crates with hard sides. I have never seen dogs that like them, even tiny timid dogs. You definitely want one of the wire one if you don’t have it already. The two-door styles are the best IMO. It should be big enough for your pup to stand, turn, and lay down in with plenty of spare room.

Put it in a place you frequent together such as the kitchen and leave the door open. Put some of his favorite bedding and toys inside and hang out in the area. Praise him when he investigates, treat him if he goes inside. Once he has gone in on his own accord a few times, close him in and remain in the area doing normal things, not watching him. If he cries, ignore it, if he’s quiet, praise and let him back out. Repeat for longer times, then leave the room for a bit, then the house, etc. Don’t do this all at once! Maybe two sessions a day. Never force him into the crate and never enter the crate yourself (don’t drag him out, pet him, etc).

Don’t be discouraged if he’s adverse! If he won’t go in by himself, start putting his food dish inside. Just don’t close the door while he eats.

Post # 10
4696 posts
Honey bee

Can I just ask, – genuinely wanting  to know – why crates are routinely  used? It  seems to be an American thing , I have never met anyone in the dog community in the UK or here in Australia  who has used one, except one person whose rescue  dog compulsively  ate things  ( furniture,   plastic,  carpets) !    

Why cannot  dogs be free in the house?    OP  says hers can’t be ‘roaming the house when they are out” Why not ? Do they leave him for many  hours on end?  No dog should be left for hours  on end, let alone  caged up  imho. And honestly  dogs don’t do that  much roaming,  they sleep heaps !     

Post # 12
43 posts

Try feeding meals with the food inside as well.  I’ve taught my dog the command ‘crate’, which means go into your crate and sit down. When I first tried closing the door, I only did it while she was distracted during her meal. She’d notice, but go back to eating. Then I’d open it once she was done.  Then I’d slowly work up to more and more time before I opened it, but SLOWLY. 


Might take a little longer than 2 weeks to get him ok with staying in there for a very long period of time, depending on how freaked out your pup gets, but hopefully if there’s substantial progress your parents will cut you some slack. 


We also in the beginning had certain toys and treats that she only gets when she’s in her crate. We take it away once she leaves the crate. 

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