For people who share a home with dogs, a crate (or a baby gate) is an important tool. There are times when you don’t need the help of your dog (think moving day). There are days when life surprises you (think unexpected guests). There are emergencies that seem to pop up when you least need them. During these times, a crate or baby gate will help you and your dog stay calm and prevent trouble.
Dogs easily learn to love a crate… as long as you never use it as punishment. Always toss in a treat for your dog when you crate them. Play crate games, making it fun to enter the crate, and vary the duration in the crate. Put them in the crate when you are home for short periods of time – not just when you leave. Teach them that the crate is a good place – the place where the yummy stuff falls from the sky – not that it’s a place where they are shoved if they’re a “bad” dog or where they have to go when the family is having fun without them.
If you can convince your dog that good things happen in the crate (think stuffed Kong®, breakfast and dinner, etc.), then they will have positive feelings associated with crate time. Before long, you will notice that they choose to lie in the crate for a nap. Eventually, when those unexpected moments in life pop up, you can call out “kennel up” in a cheerful voice, and your dog will trot over to their crate, happy to nap there.