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Healthy Dogs

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Why Crate Train Your Dog?

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How to Crate Train Your Dog: The Weekend Plan continued...

Prepare Supplies for Saturday and Sunday

Over the next couple of days, you’ll reward your dog often for going into her crate. It’s a good idea to prepare some treats in advance. Cut some chicken, cheese, hot dogs, soft dog treats or freeze-dried liver into bite-sized pieces and set them aside for later use. You can also stuff two or three KONGs, which you’ll give your dog when you start to increase the length of time she stays in her crate.

Saturday Morning: Let the Crate Fun Begin!

You’re ready to get started. Gather the treats you prepared and take your dog to the crate.

Step One: Follow the Treat

You can do the following exercises sitting on the floor or in a chair right next to the crate.

  1. Give a cue to ask your dog to go into the crate, such as “Go to bed.” (Choose whatever cue you like, just be sure you always use the same one.)
  2. Show your dog one of the treats and toss it in the crate. After she goes inside to eat it, praise her enthusiastically and feed her another treat while she’s still inside.
  3. Say “Okay” to let your dog know she can come out again. You don’t need to reward her when she comes out of the crate. She needs to learn that all good things happen when she’s inside the crate.

Repeat the steps above 10 times. Take a short break (just a few minutes), and then do another set of 10 repetitions. After your second set, end the training session.

Step Two: Earn the Treat

Later on in the morning, collect some treats and bring your dog to the crate for more training. Now that she’s practiced following a treat into the crate, try asking her to go in before rewarding her with the treat.

  1. To warm up, do a couple of repetitions just like you did before-throwing the treat into the crate so that your dog follows it. Then you can change the rules a little.
  2. Give your cue, “Go to bed,” and point to the crate instead of throwing a treat into it. (When you point, it might help to move your arm like you did when tossing a treat into the crate. The familiar motion can remind your dog what she’s supposed to do.)
  3. When your dog goes in, praise her and immediately give her a couple of treats while she’s still in the crate.
  4. Say “Okay” and let your dog come out of the crate.

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