Crate training is not just meant for puppies. Adult and older dogs can also be crate trained and there are many reasons to do so. From housetraining to travel, with time & patience, crate training can make a big difference for both you and your pet.
The benefits of crate training an older dog:
No matter how old they are, every dog should learn to be comfortable in a crate. Here are a few benefits of the same
- Housetraining: You possibly adopted an elder dog who isn’t potty trained or could use extra encouragement to hold it until they get outside. In such cases crate training lets you keep your dog in a safe space that they won’t want to soil which reduces potty accidents.
- Travel: Crate training makes travelling with your dog extra easy & comfortable. Riding with your pup in a crate which is secured keeps them safe while on the road. And when you reach your destination a crate can be a cosy and a safe space for them to be in, while you can’t be around in the hotel room or a rental house.
- Vet & Groomer visits: Both groomer & vets routinely crate dogs before and after they are caring for them. Crate training your adult dogs helps them to be comfortable in such situations, making their appointments enjoyable for them.
- Keeping them calm at home: Anytime you host a party or have guests over for a celebration, your pet may look for a safe space. In such cases their crates can be a comfort zone for them that they can be snuggled in.
How to crate train your older dog?
Before digging into it, always remember to take things slow and not rush into it. Patience is the key. Rushing into it can make it a negative experience for your pet which might make it difficult to train them.
- Choose a crate location:
Always keep a crate in an area that is easily accessible for your dog. Keeping it in a calm area is necessary but ensure to not keep it in an isolated area. Generally keeping it in a corner of a living area where your pet can see you is the ideal spot.
- Get your pup interested:
Put some of your dog’s favourite treats in the crate but keep the door locked. Change the treats if your dog shows disinterest. This way your pet will get interested in the crate and will help you with the next step.
- Let your dog explore:
Never force your dog to enter the crate, let them get comfortable and enter the crate on their own and explore it a bit. Do not close the door while they are in or they will get scared which will lead them to not going around the crate at all.
- Move the crate:
Let your dog enter the crate, drop some treats so they see it as a sign of appreciation, and move the crate a bit in either direction. Repeat it until your dog is comfortable with the crate being moved back & forth. Give them treats to keep them distracted.
- Shut & Lock the door:
Once the dog is comfortable, shut and lock the door. Do this for a minute and then open the door. Give them some treats. At any point if your dog is uncomfortable, let them out.
- Step away from the crate:
When your dog is comfortable, give them a chew toy in the crate. Drop in some treats and move away a few steps. After a few seconds come back to the crate and give them more treats. This will help motivate them and make them comfortable.
Once your pet is ready you can try doing this for a longer time, like walking out of the room and increasing their time in the crate slowly. With these few easy steps and patience, your older dog should get comfortable in a crate in no time.