Crate advice?


New Member
I need some help and advice, please. Bodi won't go into his crate of his own volition, and I can't wrestle a 35 lb dog into the crate while he's working to stay out of it. I need some way that I can lead him into the crate -- has anyone done this? I was thinking of running a lead through the back of the crate and attaching it to his collar, but I think he'll pull out of his collar. Any ideas for a more secure way of helping him in?

I've spent several evenings playing the "kennel up" game with cheese and liver bits and he'll go about 1/2 way in for those while we have the crate in the living room at home. Now, with the same crate in a small area between the buildings at work, he won't even go near the crate when I toss in the treats. The area isn't secure and is less than a mile from 2 separate highways so I can't just leave him out of the crate. I had to force him back in after lunch so that I could return to work and I don't like that at all.

Any ideas?


Well-Known Member
It seems that for now he doesn't trust to go to that "dungeon" ;) LOL/ To put it simply, we have turn the "dungeon" into a "beautiful castle" and change the dog's perception of a crate. It might take some time so you need to be patient and calm. Every dog is different and different things motivate them. Also different things motivate them depending on circumstances, environment and situation. Try to observe your dog's body language and see he's not sure about any particular thing about the crate. That might help. I wouldn't force him to do that because even though you might achieve having your dog in a crate, the psychological state will be the same...You'd have a dog that's afraid or dislikes a crate (whatever it is) inside a crate. If you want a dog that willingly goes to a crate, try to make that crate VERY, VERY special.

Playing the game you played is a good idea! Maybe you're just not seeing the results when you expected them. Maybe your doggie just needs a bit more time. You might try using differnt treat if you're dog's food motivated. You can try rotating treats so it's a surprise for your dog what he gets. Also try to put the treat there when your dog can't see you doing that. You might put it close to the crate entry at first so he doesn't have to walk to the crate at first. Then toss it further and furter when he can't see you doing that. Eventually he should get the idea: "A-ha! It's not really a dungeon! It's a place where the treat grow...I better go and examine it thouroughly to check if any new treats grew somewhere again" LOL ;) :msngiggle: You can make it more difficult later and place some treat under a blanket in the crate so he really has to "hunt" for those treats. Don't close the crate for a while until your dog is completely comfortable in it and when he'll lose whatever negative association he seems to have right now... Then slowly move the crate door more and more until it's completely closed. Give some extra reward for that but only when a dog is calm and relaxed.

If your dog is toy motivated - use that as well. If he loves interacting with you more than anything then (for example if he loves special massage, etc.) convert the crate into a "spa" LOL and make your dog enjoy whatever activity he loves INSIDE the crate.

Have fun and don't give up! I had a foster dog that you'd think would have to hate the crate, because it was a shelter dog and she did resist being there in the beginning (she was very much like a velcro dog), but she learned to LOVE the crate so I'm sure your doggie wll learn to have a completely new and positive perception of his den. :)

I hope this helps.

~ Lexi


Well-Known Member
Ahh! Now I know what Kennel Up is!

Dude always hated his crate too, so I really can sympathize with you. He would go into it but you could almost see the misery on his face.

I used to leave the door open for him all the time, but not close it every time he went inside, so sometimes he was free to wander in and out and other times the door was locked.

Good Luck!


Honored Member
Staff member
Another game you could try is having a target just outside of the kennel. Have him go to it and touch it, click and treat. Slowly move it closer until it is just inside, then eventually all the way in so he has to go in to touch it. With the target game, his focus is more on the target than on the crate, and the better he gets at it he'll run to touch the target in the crate without even thinking that he just entered the scary dungeon.

Never force him in it--this will reinforce his dislike for it. Put a kong in there filled with PB/Oatmeal(think you read that thread in the recipe forum :) ), a favorite toy, anything that makes it a really great place. Don't get frustrated with him. If he makes an improvement, stop there. JACKPOT when he goes halfway in, since you said he only does it maybe half of the time. The PB/Oatmeal chunks are a good jackpot treat, or rolled dog food, or pieces of cooked meat(chicken, turkey, venison, whatever). Something absolutely irresistible. Since he already has an issue with the crate, your goal for now should not be to get him all the way in, but to get him close to the crate or halfway in.

You may have to try something else if he's at work with you. If you make progress one day but then have to hurry him in it to get back to work from lunch break, then he will regress rather quickly. Good luck to you and hope this helps!


New Member

This is harder than I thought it would be. I am doing all that I can to make the crate a positive place, planting treats when he isn't looking, making sure there is a stuffed kong and a rawhide to chew on, and at home we're doing pretty good. I can take all the time needed to lure and praise.

It's the work schedule that's a problem. I would love to be able to just sit and work with him on going into the crate without any time constraints, but the realities of work say that I have to be in the building at a certain time. These silly people seem to think I need to earn the money that they pay me. Unfortunately, when work time comes and he's still not near the crate then I have only 2 choices, leave him free or force him into the crate. Since the area isn't secure I can't just leave him free. At this point I think I would even be willing to use a stake and tether him instead of crating him until I could get him used to the crate, but I don't trust a tether to hold him and I can't risk him getting loose.

If I were to leave him at home it would be 10 uninterrupted hours in a crate -- that would be true horror for a 6 month old energetic pup -- or leaving him to run free in the house and cause chaos and havoc, with the chance that he could end up doing some real harm to himself. It just isn't a realistic option. With brining him to work he gets 1 hour drive time loose in the backseat with my son and granddaughter, 3 hours in the crate, an hour of play time outside the crate, 2 hours in the crate, 15 minute potty break, 1.5 hours in the crate, 1/2 an hour to play, and about another 1 hour for the drive time home. But that means getting him into the crate 3 separate times during the course of the day. After the first time he's just not going!

Trying to shove him in the door is next to impossible. It's a wrestling match and very hard on Granny and Puppy both. If I could rig some way to help lead him in it would be a big help -- I was just hoping that someone would have gone through something similar and would have ideas for that.


Honored Member
Staff member
Leading him in it with a lead or something else is still forcing him in and he won't like it. I think your best option would be to secure the area somehow so that if you couldn't get him in, he's still safe. A tether could be an option, provided there isn't anything to hurt himself on. Without knowing the exact situation it's hard to advise you.

The reason why he's doing well at home but not at work is probably that you're forced to rush him because you're on a time crunch. He's less comfortable at work because he's not allowed to take things at a comfortable pace because you have to return to work. Really your options are either to keep trying to manhandle him into the crate at lunch or figure out a way to secure the area until he's comfy with his crate. Other than that you have doggysitters or doggy day camp or something.

Hope this helps. Good luck to you. :)


New Member
Thanks for your help. I might spend a part of my weekend up here so that I can maybe get him past the worst of it without having to worry about the time crunch. Today I had a kong that was filled with sardines in reserve and I took it out with me when I went to play with him at lunchtime. I gave it to him for a couple of minutes then threw it in the crate and closed the crate door so he couldn't get in. He would play for awhile and then go sniff at the crate...


Bodi: That smells good!
Maven: Go play, you can get in your crate later.
Bodi: Let me in.
Maven: Let's tug :)
Bodi: *tugging for a minute then dropping toy* How come I can't get in my crate?
Maven: C'mon let's run!
Bodi: *gives chase then breaks off* Can I go in the crate now?
Maven: *throws rawhide*
Bodi: I think I'll just lay here by my crate and watch the kong. Can I go in yet?
Maven: Okay, kennel up.
Bodi: Yay! *runs in after stinky kong*
Maven: *Closes crate*
Bodi: Hey, wait a minute, I was gonna bring my kong out there... Traitor! Bad human, bad human! Let me outta here, let me... man, that kong smells GOOD!
Now it's potty break time -- whatcha want to bet that trick won't work twice?


Honored Member
Staff member
LOL. Good thinking, making a game of actually being able to get in. Nice! Definitely wouldn't do that too much, since he will wise up and realize he's going to be "caught." But, you could keep playing "gotcha!" but open the door back up immediately. Let him out and give him lots of praise and fun, but then the game starts again.

Hope your trick worked the second time. ^^ Keep it up!


Experienced Member
There's a DVD called Crate games that is pretty neat and entirely different and positive. I liked it. I would also clip the door open and put really WONDERFUL stuff in there like tripe or some meaty stinky stuff that is really tempting.

The other thing I found is that getting down and coaxing, encouraging and pulling often creates the opposite effect. If I walk 5 or so feet behind my puppy and sort of point and let her go first she'll go into her crate to check out the yummy stuff on her own more eagerly. This is sort of like herding them in but without getting too close.

If it doesn't stress your dog out I would associate great things like eating in the crate and treats in the crate with no door closes. Also practice close door and open right back up and release puppy several times a day. That way the time is not always a long one as he sees it.

I never "put" my dogs in their crates but lure them into it or reward handsomely when they go in. If your pup is just going bonkers consider a dog walker a few days a week and/or daycare a few days a week. The exercise will really help keep your dog calmer and happier and tired dogs are good dogs.

With all the reading and training I've been doing on leash pulling I wouldn't pull the dog into a crate with the leash. You may create an emotional attachment to the leash or crate which is negative. Check out crate games and see if some tripe or liver or REALLY good treat might not be the way to your dog's heart.


New Member
Tripe -- I've seen tripe in the supermarket, but have no dealing with it. Do you cook your own or where do you get it? Bodi seems to love anything that is stinky. We made some chicken/oatmeal/garlic cookie things that smell very strongly of garlic and he's crating up for those. The sardines are really the best lure I've found so far though.

I'll check Dogwise for the DVD, but if he keeps progressing as well as he is now I might just make sure I always have stinky stuff on hand.


Experienced Member
Unbleached green tripe is actually what you want and it comes frozen or canned. The key is to find the tripe with no other ingredients like salt etc. It does stink which is why dogs LOVE it. Mine dogs were mesmerized by the smell the second the can opener pierced it. It's not for human consumption and can't be bought in stores but you can get it at most pet supplies esp the ones that sell to raw feeders. Getting frozen tripe is preferred by most raw feeders and they usually serve it just barely thawed and cold so it's not as fragrant. I don't find the smell that objectionable as compared to dog poo etc. :dogwink: If it gets the job done I can take it. Unf stinky = very good to a dog. :dogtongue2:

For luring into a crate I think you can also buy dried pellets of tripe and/or use little spoons of canned tripe from a refrigerated can, so it's a little stiff and can ball up. I got dried tripe pellets and chews from and they are pretty large so good for a longer crate stay but too big for in and out training. Smaller dried pellets or the canned bits should be quite tempting. My puppy also REALLY liked the buffalo jerky from the site too and it is also very fragrant but like jerked meat. I tend to feed low additive, lower fat, and organic foods so I use this stuff for high value treats and baked chicken or beef for next higher value.

The last thing my dogs LOVE for crate stays are bully sticks. Look for bullys that are simply washed and dried and not treated with chemicals or processed with lye (all rawhides are lye processed to deflesh). These are healthier and a stinker than rawhides because they are not bleached and chemically blitzed with cleaners. I trained my big dog to lie on her rug to eat them and puppy gets them in her crate. Although they don't discolor carpet they like all dried animal products can contain bacteria just like rawhides and most like animal products. Bullies also do not tend to come off in big hunks due to the nature of the flesh it's more layered and rolled so I see a lot less potential for choking. I still supervise everything but kongs to be safe.

One other idea is buying squeeze tubes for anything you want to put in it that is very attractive to the dog. You puree your selection into a dip consistency that wouldn't break a chips and then load into these tubes. A small squeeze give a little food so you could use pureed tripe, chicken liver, canned food, cat food, salmon, cream cheese, meats, apple sauce, yams etc. using meat broth to thin it out. This way you can put it through crate bars or sides and quickly deliver a small squeeze. Canned squeeze cheese also works well. I try to keep these treats mostly meat/protein based and low fat fo that my dogs don't get fat. I have these and like them (dishwasher safe) but sports stores like REI sell human tubes for camping etc that are similar and functional.