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There are many reasons why you might need to teach your adult dog to be calm and relaxed in a crate. Maybe he was never properly house trained. Or you have to put him in a crate for a long car ride. Or maybe he just started acting out in destructive ways while you’re away from home.

Unfortunately however, this is something that can cause physical and psychological harm to your dog if you don’t do it the right way.

So how do you crate train your adult dog in the right way?

GET READY - Before you begin crate training, always physically and/or mentally exercise your dog to drain excess energy. For example, take him on a long walk. Also, make sure you take him to the bathroom, so you don’t have to interrupt your training for a “potty-break.”

BE PATIENT - Puppies don’t have habits or preconceived notions, so they don’t know anything about the crate. Adult dogs may have spent years without ever entering a crate. This means they’re probably going to be a lot more resistant to the idea and may fight against it more. Your job is to bear with them, stay calm and keep trying. Over time, most adult dogs will come to accept a crate with the right training.

USE FOOD - The goal is to make your dog associate the crate with positive energy and feelings, so encourage him to go into the crate by putting treats and even food inside. If you’re consistent, eventually he’ll see the crate as the place where good things happen and he won’t be uncomfortable or fearful.

IT’S ALL ABOUT COMFORT – Dogs, like us, love to relax in a nice, comfortable place. So one of the best things you can do is to place a favorite blanket inside or buy a new one and leave the door open, so he can come and go as he pleases.

CLOSE THE DOOR - The obvious eventual goal is to be able to close the crate door and still have a calm and relaxed dog keep. Once you get to the point where your dog seems comfortable hanging out in the crate with the door open, offer some kind of distraction (a toy or treat) and close the door while he is engaged with it. Start with intervals of five minutes or less and make sure you stay close by and visible. Gradually and consistently keep it closed for longer periods and leave the room so your dog can come to understand that she is still safe and will eventually get out.

Keep it up with these tips and most adult dogs will eventually come to accept a crate with no problem. It may even become your dog’s new favorite place to sleep!

If you continue to have problems, let me know if I can help.

Always remember: BP4 – Be: Patient, Positive, Peaceful & Persistent / 201-937-6123

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