Fearful of the crate
Make sure to do one step at a time and never force or pressure your dog to go inside. If your dog has a bad experience with the crate, they might be scared by it for a while. Start the training again and stay at the first steps until your dog is comfortable. Shaping might be a good alternative for your dog (see alternative ways).
One way to encourage your dog to enter the crate: in front of your dog, stuff a chew toy or put a bowl of food while the dog is watching, and close the crate door. The dog will be so focused on the delicacy inside that they probably scratch and sniff around the crate. When you see that the dog shows great interest in the object inside, open the crate door and tell the dog "go get it". This way, your dog will be more focused on the delicacy inside rather than their fare of entering the crate.
Gets out of the crate before the release cue
Once your dog is inside, give a few treats one after another, so the dog is motivated to stay inside. This way, you are increasing the duration the dog stays in the crate. Then, quickly say the release cue and invite the dog to you. It should look like: the dog is inside the crate – feed, feed, feed – release cue – call the dog to you. With time, the release cue will be strong, and you will reduce the number of treats given while inside the crate.
Barks when I close the door
Your dog is not ready yet for the doors to be closed; go a level lower. Another reason could be that the dog was a bit too excited before training! Go back a few steps and reward calmness and staying inside the crate with the door open before closing it.
Most common mistakes
Not providing the dog with activities in the crate
You have a puppy and can’t watch him for a few minutes? Give them something to chew on or a stuffed toy inside the crate, don't leave them there bored.
Using the crate for punishment
Please don’t ask your dog to go inside the crate when they did something bad. Try to be more in prevention mode. Make sure to always keep the experience positive for your dog. This way, the dog will love the crate, and it will become their special place to relax.
Skipping some levels
This is really a step-by-step exercise. If you try to go too fast or close the door too fast, you might experience some barking or whining or make the dog fear the crate.
Use the crate for everything
The crate can be a great tool for environmental control, but it shouldn’t be used for everything. Your dog has needs to fulfill like chewing, running, mental stimulation, and sleeping. While the crate is a great place to relax, make sure you have other beds and comfortable spots around the house where your dog can come and go. You want a dog that can relax and be well-behaved, even without a crate!
Using high-value toys or treats
While these are good training tools, the dog might get in the exciting mode if it’s too valuable for the dog and be too excited for crate training. Use your crate training as a calming down ritual with your dog. It’ll be easier for them to relax there.
If the suggested instructions in the Dogo app didn't work for you, try this:
- Play when your dog is calm and focused
- Leave the crate door open
- Click and reward as soon as the dog (increase the difficulty from one session to the other):
- Looks at the crate
- Walks a few steps towards the crate
- Walks inside the crate
- Stays inside the crate
- Lies down in it
- Stay still when you close the crate
- Do a short session and keep it fun!
- When the dog starts to understand that the interaction with the crate is wanted and performs step 3 with ease, you are ready to add the cue ‘’crate’’
When you see your dog exploring the crate all by themselves outside a training session, that’s a great opportunity to reward that behavior. Give a few treats without giving any cues. Deliver the treats close to the crate so your dog builds a positive association.