How To Start Crate Training An Older Dog

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How To Start Crate Training An Older Dog

June 24, 2023 6 min read

How To Start Crate Training An Older Dog

Changing your dog’s behavior is never easy, but crate training is one of the most effective ways to do it. For many owners, their dogs have become too advanced for what kind of environment they are trained in, so they need to find another place to house them while they work on socializing and re-socializing them.

Crate training is also a cost-effective solution as you can purchase crates or make your own. There are even companies that offer free resources and advice! It is not difficult to implement either, just remember to reward good behaviors and remove rewards for bad ones.

There are several types of crate training, and there are different lengths needed before a dog feels comfortable being left alone in his/her home enclosure. The length of time will depend on the individual dog and how well they respond to other forms of housetraining.

Be consistent


Consistency is one of the most important things when crate training your dog. If you go back too quickly, the dogs will associate the empty crate with going away! This can cause more problems in the future. If you have to take time off for whatever reason, make sure to schedule some additional down time during that period so the dog does not feel displaced.

You may also want to consider boarding or taking care of the dog while you are gone since this can be expensive depending on how much time you are away from him/her.

We all love our pets dearly, but if they need to learn something new, we have to be willing to invest the time into it.

Make it interesting

how to start crate training an older dog

Changing environments, new sights, sounds, and smells can be a good thing for most dogs. For some dogs, however, this kind of exposure is too much.

Dogs that are considered “crate trained” will find themselves walking up the same stairs every day or going outside only in their crate. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes these changes need to be made more gradually so your dog does not have an adjustment period.

It is very important to make sure his house training has been completely corrected before starting crate training, as you do not want to expose him to different challenges then!

If you notice signs like mentioned above, try introducing one new step at a time by placing the crate next to the bed or changing the location of the door. Once your dog is comfortable with those two pieces, add the second piece and so on until he is fully transitioned into a crate-confined dog.

Use food to your advantage

Side view of young African american guy in trendy sportswear training adorable Akita dog during outdoor workout in park


One of the biggest challenges of crate training is figuring out how to use food as a tool to help you get the job done. If you’re using rewards with every trial, then you’re not really teaching your dog anything!

If you just give your dog their favorite treat after they enter the crate, it may end up becoming a place that only has snacks instead of lessons in learning how to be confined.

You can use food as a way to teach your dog what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in the crate. For example, if your dog is getting rowdy at night, don’t leave them alone in there until they’ve calmed down!

By giving your dog something good when they behave well, they’ll be more likely to keep acting like that so they can enjoy their reward. On the other hand, if your dog doesn’t seem to care much for the food, try putting the bowl away or take it away completely – you want to break the habit anyway!

Using rewards with older dogs is slightly different than working with puppies because most adult dogs already have some sort of house training.

Make it a competition

how to start crate training an older dog

For most dogs, walking is just something they do because their owners require them to for some reason or another. For your dog, spending time outside is like money in the bank as it creates lots of benefits for him.

Dogs that are exposed to nature spend less time indoors where they get bored. Being outdoors is what breeds his natural instinctive desire to explore.

It also helps train them to work as part of a pack. When you walk a dog at a decent pace, it gives other people around you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to start moving too.

And finally, if you’re ever looking to sell your house, a yard with plenty of trees and grass can boost its asking price. Given how much these things appeal to buyers, this can be a valuable asset.

Crate training is one of the more advanced outdoor exercise routines available. It was originally designed to help puppies learn basic housetraining, but it has grown into so many different applications!

If you’d like to try crate training for the first time, there are several good strategies you can use. Starting off on the wrong foot could hurt your relationship with your current pet or even result in separation anxiety or fear-of-cages behaviors in a new puppy.

Keep it positive

Free stock photo of animal, beagle, canine


A lot of times when dogs are away from owners for long periods, they develop separation anxiety or fear of new things. This can be worse if your dog is older as he may need more time to feel comfortable in new situations.

If this happens, you will have to work on getting rid of these separation fears. It can be tough, but there are ways to help. You can do this by being consistent every day, keeping the same routine.

You can also use a crate during the time that the dog is with you. Once again, make sure the crate is safe and easy to access so that the dog feels secure while inside it.

Overall, don’t give up! Chances are, if your dog was happy before then he still likes you very much and wants to be your friend like always. He just needs some extra help figuring out how to deal with changes.

Use a clicker

Woman in stylish outfit training Shiba inu


One of the most effective training tools for older dogs is called a clicker. A clicker uses sound, typically a clicking noise that follows something else- usually a command or behavior.

The key difference between a clicker and other types of trainer’s toys or rewards like food or treats is that the reward isn’t given to the dog directly, it’s only presented when the dog performs the desired action.

For example, if you want your dog to sit, she will have to do so in front of the clicker. When she does, you can give her the treat, but what if she doesn’t?

You’ll have to keep repeating this process until she gets the concept of “sit” attached to the clicker. For some dogs, this can take a while! But don’t worry, she’s not being stubborn, she just needs more time to understand how to link the two.

That said, let’s talk about why using a clicker as a incentive is a great way to train your dog.

Create a training schedule

A Man Training His Pet


The first thing you will need to do is create a training schedule! This can be done by creating separate blocks of time for different types of behaviors.

For example, if your dog needs help getting up out of bed then he may not need any other wakeup calls besides his own until he gets it down. Once she learns this behavior, you can move onto teaching her to get up without being prompted.

By doing this at a consistent time every day, the dogs learn when their wake-up call comes so they are more likely to obey.

You also want to make sure that each part of the lesson is spaced properly. For instance, a ten minute walk should be repeated three times before you teach him to stay while walking.

Enforce it

A Dog Running Towards a Toy


When starting crate training for the first time, make sure your dog is completely ready. If you feel comfortable with him walking on leash, then do so before putting him in his kennel!

Intermediate dogs can be tricky when it comes to crate training because they are not necessarily intuitive about how things should go. They may need some extra help figuring out what feels right.

For these types of dogs, using a crate as a confinement area is helpful since it gives them more motivation to learn by reinforcing the idea that there is nothing beyond this door. This can easily be done by having the dog enter alone first, then holding the door open while he tries to get out.

Once he is familiar with the process, let him meet one-on-one friends or toys outside the kennel and see if he will interact appropriately. Once he does, add another item inside and have him try to relax around it. He must show interest in the object to know it is appropriate to sleep with it.

Cindy PetsForLife
Cindy PetsForLife

Hello, I'm Cindy, the founder of PetsForLife. I am a true animal lover with 3 cats and 1 dog of my own. My passion for all things pets has led me to create a unique collection of personalized pet gifts. Check out our personalized pet gifts on our website.

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