How To Crate Train Your Dog | Dog Training – Greenville Dog Training

How To Crate Train Your Dog | Dog Training - Greenville Dog Training

 The Benefits And Creating A Positive Relationship With The Crate 


Understanding The Importance 

During the training process, many families say that they have no intention of crating their dogs at home. It’s important for us to be transparent and upfront that with our training process, crate training is a huge part of it. But it’s equally as important to tell you that you won’t have to crate your dog all the time. Though it’s crucial to do it the right way, our end game isn’t to have them be crated all day long or for every situation.

But even if you don’t want to, even if your dog seems like they don’t want to, we strongly encourage you to give crating a fair chance.

Building a positive relationship between your dog and the crate will pave your way to success and gives them a place to escape and feel safe.

Excuses, Excuses

There are many reasons our clients don’t want to crate train. Whether it be they want their dog to sleep in their bed, guard their home, or simply because they’ve had an awful experience with it in the past. Some dogs may have even suffered an injury because of it. But on the flip side, there are also SO many benefits in crating.

We get it. Every dog is different. They all have different pasts, and unfortunately some of them are traumatic.

Maybe your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you or your family travel often, or you have house guests that may not like interacting with your dog during visits. Whatever the case may be, crating your dog always gives them the option to have their own safe space. 

When dogs come to our training center, the majority of them are not crate trained which results in the first few nights being stressful, just as they may be at home. The normal reaction when attempting to crate train at home is panic and frustration since most dogs don’t enjoy being crated at first. You’re anxious that they’re uncomfortable or scared and you feel like you’re not doing anything to change it. It’s totally normal to feel like that, but trust me, it doesn’t HAVE to be that way!


A Rewarding Experience 

For those of you that aren’t familiar with our training process, we spend the first few days of training learning the dog’s Love Language and building a relationship with them. Our client’s dogs have no prior relationship with us, they don’t know us, and they definitely aren’t familiar with the environment they’re about to spend the next few weeks in. It’s a brand new place to them, so it’s important to focus on building that trust instead of going straight into training. Just like us humans, we don’t trust a stranger we just met.

It’s also important to us to focus on the goals you have for you and your dog. If you want your dog to be able to sleep in bed with you, we want you to be able to do that.

But it’s important to understand your dog’s tendencies. As long as they are not dominant and looking to be assertive, there isn’t any problem with that. 

Remember how your dog has the IQ of a toddler? Just like how we instill independence in our children, there are certain things they just have to experience to trust that independency. Dogs have to also learn to accept their crate as a positive thing in order for it to become a sanctuary for them. That way they’ll be able to feel safe in being alone and ultimately, take time to recharge.

short-coated tan and white dog inside dog crate

Crate Training | The Transition To Positivity

If your dog has anxiety with their crate, all positive things should be focused around it. Meaning that every meal should even take place there. You can put their food bowl in there, put it on a tray, make it fun, whatever you wish. Eating their meals in there at first will help them make the connection that a very normal piece of their daily routine is still safe to do in their crate. Thus, creating comfortability.

You can even take this opportunity to use high value food, aka human food, such as lunch meat, pieces of regular meat, freeze dried sardines, or veggies. But be sure whatever you use, you’re not giving it to them at any other part of the day other than crate training. This specific activity is only getting this type of treat.

First, throw a piece if the high value food into their crate and then wait for them to come out. Once they come out, give them another piece and praise them. Repeat this process until they seem to come in and out of their crate comfortably.


Playtime can be held in their crate as well. For example, place a few ice cubes on the floor of the crate if it has a plastic bottom. They’ll slip all over the place and have fun chasing them around. Alternatively, you can use a Kong. Our best recommendation is wrapping it in saran wrap, filling it with water, and freezing it. Many people use peanut butter, but we suggest against it as most dogs are overweight. So if you know your dog is overweight, definitely stick with ice, it has a whopping zero calories and dogs still love it! 

Typically throughout the day while training with us, a dog will be taken to their crate as we say the word “crate” so they understand the relation. Sometimes there may be some resistance at first, but once they’re fully within the crate we will say “break.” They’re then allowed to come right back out. This process helps them realize the crate really isn’t so bad and they are being give permission to “take a break” from it.

black English bulldog on bed

After, we have them go back into their crate, place the Kong inside, and close the door for 5 minutes. They may panic at first but as they find the Kong, it’ll become a distraction. Once they’re completely distracted, open the door. If your dog comes out with the Kong, tell them to drop it and place it back into the crate. Your dog may follow it right back in and begin chewing on it with the door open. Either way, this is showing them that their crate is a safe space with or without the door open. Also, just because the door is open doesn’t mean they need to rush out of the crate in fear.


Be sure that you’re not just crating your dog at night.

We don’t want you suffering through the entire night because you haven’t implemented these exercises with your dog during the day.

You’re welcome to place bedding at the bottom of the crate, but if your dog has a history of tearing up bedding or pushing it all to the side whether it be on your bed or blankets on the couch, it isn’t necessary. Some dogs prefer the hard floor and although it may not make much sense to us, it’s natural to them.



It’s important to remember that an excuse is just an excuse. Similar to humans conquering their fears, it’s our job to help our dogs understand crating in a positive light. If we choose to not let them have this positive experience, whether it be out of laziness or feeling inconvenienced, we aren’t giving them and ourselves the best opportunity to be comfortable in a safe place. Just as we have our own little “places” to relax and feel at ease, our pups deserve the same.

Still need help? – Post a comment 

Leave a comment below if you need clarification on anything or if you have any other questions about your puppy

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