Helping your dog to fall in love with his crate is a very easy process.

To start, your dog must associate his crate with his all-time favourite spot, and by using positive reinforcement when introducing him to the crate for the first time works best! Remember to never force your dog into the crate – being in the crate should never be a negative experience or associated with punishment. The best is to start crate training when your dog is just a puppy. However, with a little patience older dogs can also be crate trained with great success!

Place the dog crate on the floor in your house and follow these steps:

  • To start, feed your pup near the crate and move the bowl closer to the door. Once your dog is comfortable, start moving the bowl inside the crate. Gradually over a couple of days move the bowl until you reach the furthers end at the back. Leave the door open during this time and let your dog be able to move in and out of the crate as he wishes.
  • During the day, in between meal times, fling some treats into the crate and once your dog enters, praise your dog, but give little attention to him when he comes out of the crate. Do not yet close your dog inside the crate yet.
  • After a day or so, put your dog’s favourite toys inside of the crate. If your dog brings them out, put them back in the crate. If he brings them out again – put the toys away where he can’t see or find them.
  • Use a treat dispensing toy and fill it with peanut butter, honey, or a similar yummy treat – during warm weather freeze the toy and the treats will last longer! Place this in the back of the crate. If you dog keeps removing it out of the crate, try and tie the toy to the crate. Don’t close the door just yet.
  • Once you feel that your dog is starting to like the crate, close the door quickly and reopen it straight away. Doing this a couple of will take the “event” out of the door closing.
  • Now you can start closing the crate for short periods – start with 30seconds to a minute. Close the door for the prescribed time, wait for your dog to look at you and calm down.  Once calm, open the door and walk away. Slowing build up the time periods when the dog is confined in the crate.
  • Confine your dog for short periods of time to start and increase the duration slowly. The crate should be a happy place and each training session should end on a positive note.
  • If your dog is throwing a fit do not open the door, as this will only teach him that bad behaviour will be rewarded with you opening the door. On the contrary, being calm will get you to open the door.
  • In many cases dog start preferring their crate and chooses to use them as beds or would go there on their own to find comfort during thunderstorms.

Now that your pup is happy and calm in the crate at home, train your dog to stay quietly in the crate while travelling.  Place the crate into your cargo area of your vehicle, and depending on the size and health of your dog either let him jump into the car or use a car ramp, teach your dog to jump up or walk up the ramp and get into his crate. Immediately teach him to come out of the car and walk back down the ramp.  Make the whole process a game, with much encouragement and praise – dogs love games.  Build up the time that your dog spends in crate and slowly start closing the crate door. Make sure that the first trip that you take with your dog in the car is a short one – the biggest mistake people make is going too far too fast.  Just a ride around the block, to the park or to the pet store to get some of his favourite treats would be best! By introducing your dog to the crate slowly, you will have a lifetime of happy car rides, however if you rush the process, then you will have a lifetime of struggle.

Cosmic Pets supply a range of collapsible soft crates and pet carriers and are the best dog crates for crate training and pet car travel for small, medium and large dogs. Crates are ideal for when you travel with your pet as they are lightweight, ultra-portable and easy to assemble. The soft canvas dog crates fold flat to 7cm and stores away compact when not in use. View the full range of dog crates and pet carriers.

Buy soft dog crates from a retail partner anywhere in South Africa.