Here is a scenario to think about. I am sure a lot of dog trainers have had this asked to them.

Dog owner: “My puppy doesn’t want to go into his crate any more. I don’t know what happened. He used to like his dog crate. I used it to potty train him, and I even fed him inside the crate, and he would sleep in it at night. I knew that he loved his crate, so when he acted up and misbehaved, I would put him in there to give him a time out.”

I would already know the answer, but I would then ask them this question.

Me: “So, describe to me the situation exactly when he misbehaves and you put him in the crate.”

Dog Owner: “Well, you know puppies can get crazy, and annoying, and get in your way. Sometimes, he just drives me nuts, running around grabbing stuff he shouldn’t, chewing on things he shouldn’t. When I catch him, I scold him and then put him in his crate.”

“Then, of course, he is all worked up and doesn’t want to go in, so I have to gently force him into his crate. Each time this happens, it gets harder and harder to get him in his crate.”

“Now, he doesn’t want to eat in his crate, he doesn’t want to sleep in it, or anything. What is going on?”

Of course, this is what I expected to hear from the dog owner. I would reply like this.

Me: “No need to say anymore. You began using the crate as a punishment. Simple as that. Your dog’s crate should never be used as a punishment. By doing that, you have created the situation that you have. Your dog has begun to view his crate as something bad, not something good, like it used to be.”

Bottom line, you should never use the crate as a punishment. You always want your puppy to view his dog crate as a safe haven, as his own place that he enjoys being in and where he will willingly go into. When you begin to use the crate as a punishment, he begins to learn that his dog crate is linked to punishment, and will want to avoid it.

Keep your puppy’s crate an enjoyable home for your puppy.

Filed under: Dog Training

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