Crate Training and why it's Important
Crates are to a dog as your bedroom is to you. Dogs need a comfortable, safe place to wile away the hours you are gone for work or shopping. There are numerous articles on the internet describing how to crate train your dog but I haven't found any that give you a list of how to do it and in what order. All dogs are different so take this list with a grain of salt. If you run into a problem of something not working after trying it for 2 days, call me. This list is the fundamentals but by no means the end. I have lots of techniques you can switch to.
This is a step by step, day by day list to acclimate a puppy or a grown dog to a crate. Yes, it takes time. No, it is not impossible.
Set up the crate. Preferable location would be the living room or wherever the TV is located. Leave the crate door open and throw a cookie in the crate. Let your dog watch you.. They will probably go after the cookie.. DO NOT close the door, you are just letting your dog get accustomed to the new item in the house.
Your dog should be accustomed to seeing the crate by now. Take a treat and actually lure your dog over to the crate, once at the crate throw the treat into the crate. Say Gooood Doggie... and you're done. Do this action a lot during the day.. DO NOT close the door yet.
Day 3: Repeat Day 2 but close the door for 15 seconds then open the door. You will stand in front of the crate talking to your dog, telling them what a gooood doggie they are.
Day 4: Repeat Day 2 but close the door for 30 seconds then open the door.
Day 5-6: Repeat Day 2 but close the door for 45 seconds on Day 5 and 1 minute on Day 6. You are still in front of the crate talking to your dog, telling them what a gooood doggie they are.
Day 7: Now comes the tricky part. Now you need to go out of sight of your dog while they are in the crate with the door closed. Walk into another room out of sight of your dog for 15 seconds. You can still talk to them if needed but they can't see you. Always remember to praise like they walked on water when you release them from the crate when they are calm. If they are not calm, back up to Day 6 for another day and keep going back & forth between sight and out of sight until they get a calm day before proceeding.
Day 8-9-10: Repeat Day 7 out of sight but increase the seconds per day by 15 seconds. So, Day 8 is 30 seconds out of sight, Day 9 is 45 seconds and Day 10 is 1 minute.
If at any time to try to progress and your dog is not calm, back up to the last step where they were calm.
Now we have to work on leaving the house for varying periods of time.
Day 1: Your dog has worked up to being calm in the crate with the door closed for 1 minute with you out of sight. Today you will walk out the front door and stand for 30 seconds. Listen!!!! Is your dog calm or stressing? If stressing, Crack the door and say "Na Na, it's ok baby" or some such then close the door and start your timing over. If your dog just will not calm down you need to back up to Day 8. When all is calm, release your dog and praise.
Day 2: Same as Day 1 but you are actually going to step away from the door like you are leaving. Don't think that they don't know you are messing with them because they sure do. They know if you are standing there right outside the door or not. So today you are going to step away.. Listen!! make sure there is no stress. When all is calm, release your dog and praise.
Day 3-4-5: Repeat Day 2 but each day increase the distance from the door and the time by 15 seconds. When all is calm, release your dog and praise.
Day 6; Today you are actually going to your car. Yep, they know when you are leaving the grounds. Open your car and sit for 30 seconds, with the motor off. When all is calm, release your dog and praise.
Day 7: Today you are going to start your car, assuming Day 6 went well with no stress. When all is calm, release your dog and praise.
Day 8: Today you are going to drive around the block, assuming Day 7 went well with no stress. When all is calm, release your dog and praise.