Crate Training an Older Dog – My Dog won't Get in Her Crate Anymore!

Crate Training an Older Dog – My Dog won’t Get in Her Crate Anymore!

by Brittany
(Anderson, IN )

Peyton refusing to cooperate.

Peyton refusing to cooperate.

Help Crate Training an Older Dog – Recently my dog (Peyton) and I moved into a new home. Peyton has always been very good about minding and has never had issues with her crate. I got Peyton from the local animal shelter and it is clear that someone had done some fabulous training with her before I found her. Like I said she has never had issues with her crate before and all it took was for me to say “Peyton, Get in your crate please.” And she would walk right in and lay down. Since the move – I have noticed a severe decrease in her willingness to be crated. My husband is a Firefighter and his schedule allows for him to be home every other day for a 6 day period then he is home for 4 days in a row. Peyton has not had to be crated as often as she was before because of this but now when the time comes for me to go to work or for us to go out for dinner, etc. instead of walking into her crate like she used to she now lies on her back with all 4 feet in the air and refuses to move unless either my husband or myself quite literally pick her up, place her on her feet, and guide her to the crate. It’s become quite an issues since I am pregnant and am home alone often enough that picking her up just won’t cut it. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated!! Thank you!

Brittany Klinedinst

Hi Brittany, This is such a common dog obedience training problem and is more common when crate training an older dog. I completely understand why you are having this problem and I also think I know how you can cure the problem.

Sometimes with older dogs (and when I say older I simply mean a dog who has been trained and then forgets aspects of what they have learned. With some dogs they can develop problems around their Crate for different reasons. It might be that the owner has been using the Crate as a punishment tool and they have started to associate negative experiences with it.

It might be that the owners have placed their dog in his Crate out of sight and the dog has started to dislike the Crate simply because he has been isolated away from the family. Although neither f these comparisons are related to you I think I can cure this problem or make it easier. I can’t promise instant results but the techniques and links below should guide you through the process.

1. I would start by purchasing a new Crate – it’s better to start with a clean slate. A new Crate will instantly take away any negative experiences associated with the Old Crate. Remember a Crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around.
2. Never use the Crate as a punishment tool – it should have lots of pleasant experiences attached to it.
3. Start by placing the new Crate in the Lounge and leave it there with the door open – this will get your dog used to this large strange object in his environment.
4. Start with using treats and toys – initiate some play time and throw the toys in the Crate – you dog may go and get them or he might not – your aim is simply to build his confidence. If your dog goes in the Crate give him lots and lots of praise and of course the treat.
5. Start placing the dog food (at dinner time) near the Crate – get your dog used to eating and being near the Crate.
6. Over th course of a few days start edging the food in his Crate so that he goes in there to eat it. Do not close the door.
7. Now put the food in there everyday – he will learn that he has to go in there to eat it – praise and reward your dog every time.
8. Over the course of a week or longer – it depends on how confident your dog is when he gets in the Crate – if he is doing it with ease then you might be able to close the door. Just see how you get on and wait until you think it is the right time to close the door.

Anyway hope this helps – below are some more links to help you solve this problem.

Puppy Crate Training – Part 1

Puppy Crate Training – Part 2

Puppy Crate Training Whining Problems – Part 3

Puppy Crate Training – Part 4

Puppy Behavior – Part 1

Puppy Behavior – Part 2

Dog Obedience Training Online Guide

Dog Behavioral Problems