How to Help Your Dog Love Their Crate

Posted on July 28, 2018 in Pets/ Tips

As pet owners we only want what is best for our pets. Sometimes what we think is best — isn’t. One thing I have always grown up to believe is dogs need a space to call their own.

All my life I have had animals. As a child, I always had two dogs and two cats so I knew when I was older I’d do the same. Now, we have three dogs and although that’s one more than I bargained for – I wouldn’t trade any of my pooches for the world.

That being said I also can’t have three dogs in my bed at night either. What do I mean by that you are probably wondering? Well, Chase our 8-year-old Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix has slept at the bottom of my bed for many years now. At first, he was trained to go in his crate and still will just fine but as he’s gotten older he has some hip issues and it’s best he was not in the crate for long stretches. So, he bunks with me.

However, when we go out shopping or to the park or on a walk – he goes in it too. Speaking of the other two, Chanel and Ace they both sleep in the crate together and often times we will be looking all over the house for Ace and he can be found downstairs in his crate. In fact, he loves his crate and finds comfort in it so much he will come upstairs in the morning when someone lets them out for the crate.. he will go outside do his little business and go right back downstairs into his open crate. Then come bouncing upstairs when he hears me out and about. It’s truly adorable.  How did that happen? Your dog HATES the crate – or could stand to love it a little more? Here’s what we did to make sure our pups enjoy their little space.

How to Help Your Dog Love Their Crate

  • Leave a shirt or sweater of yours int he crate: I’m my dogs “person” they are truly my dogs and are glued to my hip. So to get them used to be in their crate I left a sweater with them so they could have my scent close by and feel comfort something I strongly believe helps a young dog transition to a crate happily.
  • Feed and Water them before putting them in the crate: Although I do leave bones and some treats in their crate I do not leave their food and water. Why? Food and Water = potty. Our dogs aren’t ever in the crate more than 1 hour unless at night and then Chanel and Ace have had access to their food and water all day, go potty before bed and then once again in the morning.
  • Potty before crating: Especially with younger pups it’s important to take them to potty multiple times before putting them in their crate. Dogs don’t generally “go where they sleep” so if you want your dogs to associate a crate with bedtime – make sure you allow them plenty of time before bed to go out and potty’s
  • Toys and Treats: Does your dog have a favorite rawhide? What about a toy? Letting them take them into the crate with them will help with anxiety and give them something familiar to have with them while they are in their crate. We generally only leave toys and such in the crate when we leave the house but if we are home we take them out so they can just go in and lay down in there.
  • Don’t use for bad behavior: Did your dog get into the garbage? What about chewing your favorite pair of shoes? Don’t use the crate as punishment if you plan to use it while going out and/or bedtime. They will begin to associate the crate with being naughty and getting into trouble and you could have a hard time getting your pup into the crate or have a sad pup on your hands when putting your pup in the crate.

Of course, there are many other important factors to deal with when using a dog crate. Location is also important. For many years we had our dogs crate in a central location. We found that really bothered them and when someone would walk by or they’d hear us they’d let us know it. So instead, they are in our finished basement and although there are three bedrooms down close by them, there isn’t a lot of foot traffic at night like their is on our main floor – so we don’t hear s peep out of them until morning when the gang all starts to wake up and they want to see us!

16 Comments

  • Reply Melissa Chapman July 28, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Your dogs are too cute and it is comforting to know they like the crate. I never crated our dogs but i am rethinking this. I hope your kids help out with and like the dogs.

  • Reply Angela Ricardo July 28, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Awesome pointers and tips. We did most of these for our fur baby. The you for sharing. Your doggies are adorable.

  • Reply Jeanette July 28, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Almost all of my dogs have a mother channel except for the one I have now. I think she is slightly claustrophobic that she would always freak out and it will matter what we did. I do like these tips and I will have to try them on our dog.

  • Reply Brit Strawbridge July 29, 2018 at 8:33 am

    This is such a great post! We did a lot of these things for our pup and he loves going in there, even just to nap! We don’t use it for punishment either and I think that’s really key!

  • Reply Bill Sweeney July 29, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    We never crated our dogs. I guess it’s just a preference. This is a good resource for those who are thinking about crating.

  • Reply wendy July 29, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    I have also found that not using it as a punishment is so huge in getting them to love their crates and actually enjoy being in them. It keeps them out of trouble that’s for sure. We used them when our dogs were puppies but don’t need them anymore.

  • Reply 1stopmom July 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    These are some great tips. We don’t crate our dog Scottie. We used to have one of this big gated play yards that were made for little kids to use outside. He liked that.

  • Reply Lisa July 29, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I miss having a dog. Hopefully dog owners can really learn how important proper training is.

  • Reply NYC Single Mom July 30, 2018 at 6:01 am

    I dont have a dog but a good friend does. She travels everywhere with her dog which means she takes the crate on trips with her! I am passing on your tips to her.

  • Reply Sara LaFountain July 30, 2018 at 9:15 am

    It is important for your dog to feel safe and comforted in their crate. My friend’s dog just goes right in at the end of the day and goes to sleep. It is so cute!

  • Reply Glenda Cates July 30, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I will share this tips with my stepdaughter as she is having to crate her dogs more than usual her family has moved back in with her grandmother temporarily until they can find there own home. As her husband was Discharged from the Army.

  • Reply Penny Christensen July 30, 2018 at 11:03 am

    I think Bad Behavior reinforcement is probably the most common of these rookie mistakes. What do others think?

  • Reply Ruth I July 30, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    This is one of the struggles of a pet owners. It’s not really easy to each them to love the crate. Thanks to these great tips you gave, so helpful!

  • Reply Lisa Marie Heath July 30, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    My moms’s dogs always loved their crates as well! We did put a hoodie in it so they had our scent (and something to snuggle up in). I think usually I know people use it as a punishment, and that really isn’t helping anything

  • Reply Rachel Ferrucci July 31, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Our dog was crate trained and that became HER security place. Once she was used to it, we would leave it open and that’s where she went when she didn’t want to be bothered

  • Reply Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen August 2, 2018 at 4:50 am

    These are great tips. We’re thinking of getting a dog in November for my daughters birthday and I’ll keep these tips in mind.

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