Viking Dog Training

Crate Games

Crate games in easy steps. It will take you about 30-45 minutes to work through the steps, so make sure your dog has had a chance to relieve himself before you start. Try to work through these steps when your dog is hungry.

Step 1a:

If your dog is being naughty by barking or pawing at the crate, do not open the door; simply wait until she or he stops this undesirable behaviour. 

Your goal at the end of stage one is to have a dog that no longer tries to escape, but rather is visibly excited at the thought of getting a treat in her or his crate. 

Note: You must open, close and latch the door each time.  

Step 1b:

Step 1c:

Step 2:

Step 3a:

Once back inside the crate, close the door.  Re-visit step 1 and 2, and simply open he door and hand the dog a treat for sitting. Close and latch the door each time. After another 5 treats for sitting nicely, give your release cue again and reward the dog for returning to the crate.

If, after 2 minutes, the dog did not chose to return to the crate, limit the area she or he has to "wander” in by taking her or his collar and holding it near the opening of the crate.  DO NOT PUSH THE DOG IN THE CRATE.  With a small dog or puppy, you can hold the dog by the ribs so she or he doesn’t get worried about being held by her or his collar. 

Most dogs will choose to return to their crates without limiting their space.  Be patient and let the wheels turn in the dog’s head.  Allow the dog to figure out where she or he was most reinforced and she or he will choose to return there.  Once the dog returns to the crate, build up the reinforcement value once again by re-visiting Stages 1-3 before you release your dog again.

Step 3b: 

Note that you are only giving a release word at this time and NOT a cue to go back into the crate.  You do not want to add a verbal cue for this action until the dog has much more experience.  Adding a cue too early may hinder progress of futures stages.  Restraining the dog by the collar helps to build drive to rush back into the crate.  Rewarding the sit will help to create some desire to come out of the crate.  As you progress with the game, many dogs decide they love their crates so much that they don’t want to come out when you release them.  If this happens, just start to use lower level rewards (such as dry food) for staying in the crate and high value rewards (such as steak) for coming out.


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