November 13, 2016

Creative Crate Training

Although the unseasonably warm weather in Colorado continues, with shorter days come shorter after-work dog walks and I'm left with two dogs who need more activity in the evening. There are a variety of indoor games you can play with your dogs, even better if they have a practical application.

I'm a big fan of crate training, even though I rarely utilize it in the traditional sense. Both dogs have their owns crates (which I prefer to call "dens") with beds and covers but the doors are open more often than they are closed. If they have bully sticks or beef tendons, Boca will readily run to her den to enjoy her treat, and if Ruby needs a time-out from her television obsession, I will ask her to retreat to her den.

Aside from those instances, I've been having a lot of fun asking The Ginger Sisters to go to their dens in tandem, calling them out one by one, or asking them to stay while the other dog does something else. It's our version of musical chairs, or a two-crate circus!

The unedited video below will give you an example of what we've been working on, with an amusing surprise from Boca:

These sort of exercises can help to build impulse control and create fun, positive associations with the crate. Is your dog crate trained? Do you play any "crate games"?

This post is part of the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop, hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. The hop happens on the first Monday of every month, and is open for a full week - please join us in spreading the word about the rewards of positive training! The next hop will begin on December 5th and the theme will be "The Gift of Positive Training." Please join us! 


  1. He's kind of bag trained but not really crate trained. He had a bad experience with crates as a puppy so he really does not like being confined. I leave it open and reward him for going in.

  2. We've never played any crate games because Barley has just always loved her crate, so we never had to build value for it and it's out of the way in a room of her own, so it's never the thing that's on my mind when we need a new game. If we had a second dog, I love your "two-crate circus," but something tells me it wouldn't be quite as cute with just Barley on her own (and I don't think Bar's crate would survive her pouncing on top!).

  3. You have to get it out of your head that it's jail
    Lily & Edward

  4. Having had to recently started crating Teddy while we're out, I've been doing something similar to this having him 'hangout' in the crate while I cook or clean (with the crate door open). He likes his crate and has started stashing his favorite toys in their too. I love how your girls are so motivated to please you. Boca really, really wanted to do what you asked of her!

  5. You're like a musical conductor, directing them back and forth, I love it! I also love how Boca thinks outside the box.
    Right now, we're just working with Luke to get him comfortable with the crate. I might have to do some of this to move things along.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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