by Rosamar Garcia
I am no expert on training, but here's what I've done with my new V puppy to get her used to the crate. I feed all her meals in there and periodically throw in a cookie for her to walk in and find. Lots of her toys are stored in there too. After a few days of just playing in and out, I made sure she was really tired and actually sleeping before I put her in for a nap on top of a huge pile of comfy blankets that convinced her this was better than the couch or my lap! I also rubbed my smelly feet on the blankets in there.... "eau de alpha human".
All those times, I'd leave the crate open, without a door, so that she felt happy to come in and out as she pleased. Next step was to put her in when she was falling asleep but not quite asleep and I sat guard outside the opening (still no door). Everytime, she tried to come out, I'd gently plop her back in and say "settle down". Whenever she sat or made any motion to relax, I'd praise her and give her a tidbit. I made sure that I took her out physically at the end of the session saying"Okay".
Third session was the same, still no door, me sitting in front of the
This time though, my expectation for settle down was for her to
actually lie down. Lots of praise and treats when she did or when she
relaxed and a firm, "no, settle down" when she tried to get up and
Once I put the door on and shut it, we did have one huge, loud howling
session which I'm sure woke the dead, but luckily when she saw me, it
P.S. Before she was crate trained, at night, I would have her sleeping
in the crate beside my bed, but with the lid off and the puppy
tethered to one of the slats. That way, she was sleeping in her"special spot" without any of the anxieties of being" locked in"
before she was ready to cope with the top part of the crate and the
door going on. She was quite happy to do this. I didn't put the lid on
at night until she was happy to be in the crate with lid on ( and no
door) during the day. It took a few sessions, but it was worth not rushing her through it.