Top Five Reasons Crate Training Works For Us

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What! I love my crate!

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Top Five Reasons Why Crate Training is Essential: 

I was inspired to write this because today the handyman came over to help me fix our upstairs toilet. All three dogs typically get crated behind a baby gate but it’s chaos. They howl and bark and no matter how many “look at me” games we play this system doesn’t work. It’s also stressful for the dogs, the guy upstairs and me!

Don’t get me wrong, it took me years to crate train Shermie. Read this post written from Victoria Stilwell. There are many ways to crate train using positive reinforcement and it’s all about patience and yummy treats. Sherm was fed in his crate and spent short periods of time in the  crate with the door open for months before I ever even closed the door!

  1. Crates are a safe place for my dogs: I can give them Kongs filled with food and treats and no one will guard these or get snarky with the others
  2. Crates can be covered with towels or blankets: This visual barrier is a great tool so while they can “smell” company – taking the visual element away is helpful
  3. Crates keep the dogs calm: Rather than barking and running up to the baby gates, the dogs have a place to hang out and everyone is CALM.
  4. Crates keep the dogs safe from visitors: I don’t expect people coming in and out of the house to know how to greet dogs appropriately and read my dog’s behavior. It’s not their job…
  5. Crates can be used in the car as well: All my dogs ride in crates in the car. This has proven useful for many reasons. Most important, other dogs are basically blocked from their view out the window so they don’t bark and react.

The videos below look at my “treats for crate time” and then demonstrate how calm all three are when crated while the Handyman is upstairs working on plumbing.

Have you found crate training helpful? Do you have other methods to keep your dogs calm when visitors come over?

Resource: Victoria Stilwell’s article. 




There are 34 Comments

  1. Rochelle says:

    They’re so calm in their crates! Crating when handymen come over doesn’t work as well for us, unfortunately, since we live in a studio and the intruder is RIGHT THERE at all times. We still do it, of course, and Henry does usually calm down after a little while. I’m very thankful that Henry came crate trained – made things easier for me!

    • Yea – I get that for sure – I can literally put them in a separate room but with a guy right there they would bark the entire time so I got lucky. I just ply them with treats if proximity is an issue.

  2. I just hold Mr. N when the person comes in initially and after that we just close the door to whichever room the person is working in. Not so easy with multiples though.

  3. I had never heard of crate training much and, I wondered what it was for! I am glad you use positive reinforcement – I have heard of that and know it works.

  4. Crate training is such a clever concept – I’d never even heard of it, until a BlogPaws conference and after chatting to many dog owners. I think it would’ve work for cats too and would be a great way to avoid fear of the cat carrier (which usually means a vet visit).

  5. Colby says:

    We started crate training our current puppy earlier then normal since we were lucky enough to have the whole litter at the house. We started when the pups were 5 weeks old by putting the crates out for them to play in. When they fell asleep if it wasn’t in a crate we’d put them in the crate to sleep with the doors open. By the time our pups were 8 weeks old they were happy as clams in their crate with the doors closed. Needless to say we love our crates!

  6. Crate training is tricky for us (though we occasionally do it) because Ruby has such separation anxiety and if we are not home, she is comforted by being with our cats – and pretty sticks to them like glue.

  7. We will share this information with the owner of our doggie cousin. We didn’t know anything about crate training before.

  8. Katie Allan says:

    I think crate training is so important for all dogs. If your dog had to stay overnight at the vet or be in a crate at the groomers, being crate trained takes away that extra stress. Grooming and being at the vet can already be a stressful experience in itself, why add to it by not crate training your dog? Echo and Gracie are both crate trained, but rarely have to go in their crates. I will put Echo in his crate when we have strangers over because he is so vocal and will bark at them.

    • I agree that all of these scenarios are already stressful so why not make it easier on our dogs when they need to be away from us! Sherm is so vocal and it’s intimidating for folks.

  9. Monika & Sam says:

    Sam always thought his crate was my bed. I never bothered to change his mind. ?

  10. We love using proper crate training methods and techniques. Even if you don’t need to use a crate in the end, it’s always a nice idea to have your dog comfortable in a crate. Great article and videos.

  11. Crate training is so important for all of the reasons you mentioned! I picked up a serious tip from you: fill the puppy toys with a soft food! Duh – why didn’t I think of that! Bless your heart – our dogs need this!

  12. Robin says:

    It is awesome that your dogs have taken so well to crate training! I can see how beneficial that would be. It is great for a pet to have a space that is their own. If I choose to adopt a dog one day, this is one of the things I will definitely want to work on with that dog.

  13. Cathy Armato says:

    Awesome videos, Christy! What a great setup you’ve got. I have to say I love the idea of putting canned food in the Kong toy, I never thought of that! I also really like the soft crate, that’s a really cool crate. I crate trained all my dogs, and a my foster dogs as well. I was able to cover my dogs’ crates with a towel but several of the fosters would grab at the towel or blanket and pull it in through the holes, LOL! I’d come home to find the covering halfway inside the crate so I stopped doing it with the fosters. Crates are invaluable, they have so many uses.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Thank you! We found that having canned food in those kongs keeps them busy for much longer! Sherm sometimes grabs the towels and that’s why I use that soft crate with the zipper!!!

  14. Ruth Epstein says:

    I have never used a crate, actually never knew what crate training was till I got to the States and have had dogs all my life, I personally would not use one but that is my choice. Layla does have an indoor wooden box which she loves and goes to when she wants, it does not have a door.

  15. Beth says:

    All of my dogs are crate trained and I think it makes all of our lives simpler. My dog Keesha was crate trained, but by the time she was a year old, we didn’t use it for her. She was “the perfect dog” and we didn’t need it at all.

    However, my 3 dogs now use their crates regularly. It gives me peace of mind when we leave that they won’t get into anything dangerous. Crates also are a good way for my dogs to enjoy a special treat without worrying that another dog will take it.

    Theo has some stranger danger issues, so we put the dogs in the crates when someone rings the doorbell. I think it helps Theo to hear us talking for a while and he figures out that we think that the person is okay.

    Finally, I’ve found them useful when I had a really bad fall and broke my arm. The kids put the dogs in the crate so the EMTs could enter the house easily and we didn’t have to worry that a dog would escape in all the chaos.

    • I totally agree. I also feel like it’s just safer and then I don’t have to worry and they seem calm when I leave rather than freaking out in the window and barking at other dogs. Sherm guards treats so I hear you. 🙂 Your example of how much better it was when you broke your arm too with strangers in your house is a GREAT example of why this works so well…

  16. Kama says:

    We 100% believe in crate training! It’s important for our dogs to have a place they can go to feel safe, it helps them feel more comfortable when they have to spend time at the vet’s office, and we use crates when we compete on the weekend at dog agility shows. Thank you for a great post!

    • It just makes life a lot easier… We also use crates for Nosework competitions and I’m honestly not sure how we’d compete if I couldn’t keep Sherm in his crate?!

  17. Luckily, most times I can take Ducky to daycare while the hubby waits for whoever is coming to do whatever needs doing. It gives her time to play with doggie friends who can handle her turbo-energy. And it gives us – especially Shadow – some quiet time. Shadow has always been a people dog, so I don’t have to worry about her getting anxious with a stranger in the house.

    • Oh that’s awesome -my guys don’t do well at daycares which is really unfortunate. It’s a great outlet for that extra energy!! That’s great that Shadow doesn’t react too much to people… my guys get a little out of hand when all three are together and they’re LOUD. lol!