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Some dogs find great comfort in seeking out time alone in their crate, while others quickly run off to hide at the mere sound of a crate door. This is a guide to provide tools and methods to help the most resistant furry friend develop a new relationship with crate time.
While many dog owners find the option of crating their canine helpful and safe, it does require some additional training and there are some products that can help encourage a positive response towards crates.
We at Dog Training Boss have heard from several owners who say their dog hates crate time and are looking for help to change this behavior. We’ve spent hours of research and listening to dog owners, customers, trainers, and other experts to offer our recommendations to help reverse the behavior when a dog hates crate time.
We’ll take a look at products to help form a positive crate relationship for your dog. We’ll also explain training techniques that can help you be successful.
When it comes to the best products to help guide owners who have a dog that hates crate time, our staff at Dog Training Boss were impressed with a few options. One of our favorite crate training products is the Diggs Groov Crate Training Toy. We liked the benefit it gives dogs that have anxiety, need a reward, or distraction for crate time. Many dog owners were also happy with the quality and durability.
Since every dog owner is looking for different benefits to fit their dog’s needs, we reviewed several products that help address behaviors when a dog hates crate time and suggest training tips to help be successful.
Overall Best in Show: Diggs Groov Crate Training Toy
Best for Comfort: MidWest Homes Super Plush Crate Mat
Best Heavy Duty Crate Mat: K9 Ballistics Tough Dog Crate Pad
Best for Brain Toys: Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Puzzle
Let’s take a look at what products best fit your dog’s crate behavior needs.
Materials: Food-grade all natural rubber
Size: 5.9 x 3.9 x 2.93 inches
There are very few specific crate training products to help supplement dog crate training methods. We liked the Diggs Groov Crate Training Toy because it attaches easily to the crate and can be used with many different kinds of treats as a rewards. This can be especially useful for dogs that have anxiety and benefit with distractions.
The Diggs Groov Crate Training Toy is designed to fit between the bars of the crate. It stays in place while your dog licks the treat creating both a reward for staying inside the crate and a distraction while the owner leaves the room.
Many dog owners liked using peanut butter or freezing treats to create a longer treat time for their canine to enjoy. The Diggs Groov Crate Training Toy is BPA free and made from food-grade all natural rubber that can easily be cleaned after use.
Most described the Diggs Groov Crate Training Toy as made tough, thick, and solid…but no dog toy is completely indestructible. Inspect for damage between use.
Material: Plush polyfiber, polyester
Sizes: 18”- 48”
We like the MidWest Homes Super Plush Crate Mat because it can provide a comfortable environment and help your dog associate their crate with a cozy, calm, safe feeling. It comes in several sizes to fit your existing crate.
The MidWest Homes Super Plush Crate Mat has anti-skid material on the bottom so the mat works well alone as a dog bed or inside a crate. It comes in several different sizes and 3 different colors.
The plush material help create a soft, comfortable environment and can be especially helpful for dogs that have anxiety or become stressed with crate time. Owners like the washability of the material too. Machine wash on a gentle cycle and tumble dry.
Water Resistant: Yes
Material: Polyester ripstop
When it comes to heavy duty dog products, K9 Ballistics is a brand to watch. While the K9 Ballistics Tough Dog Crate Pad is geared toward the more moderate chewer, we liked the ability to anchor it to crate corners, the non-skid bottom, and the effort to choose earth-friendly materials.
The K9 Ballistics Tough Dog Crate Pad is designed to fit most standard size dog crates, with sizes ranging from extra small (18” x 29”) to extra extra large (52” x 36”). There are no zippers, velcro, or exposed seams which can sometimes cause weak spots in material or be a safety risk for you dog.
While most owners are happy with the purchase, a few dog owners mentioned it may not last quite as long with a very persistent, aggressive chewer!
Material: Polypropylene, Plastic
Dimentions: 1.75″ H x 11.75″ L x 11.75″ W
Colors: Blue, purple
Nina Ottosson has been creating puzzles for over 25 years, and several of her stimulating dog treat toys are fast favorites for furry friends. If you feel like your dog could benefit from some extra brain stimulation, toys like the Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Puzzle can be helpful.
Along with added exercise, a stimulating brain toy can make a big difference in your dog’s unwanted behavior. Many owners like the Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Puzzle because it quickly can redirect a dog’s behavior as they work to slide, pull, and unlock the hidden treats.
Dog owners found the toy easy to clean with soap and warm water and like that it is BPA, PVA, & phthalate free. The Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Puzzle is fun for all breeds, but the hidden compartments work best to hide small treats or kibble
As with all dog products, no dog toy is completely indestructible. Inspect for damage between playtimes and use with supervision.
Why Your Dog Hates Crate Time
In order to help you pick the best product to help change crate time behavior, it’s useful to understand why your dog hates crate time.
Dogs may dislike time in a crate for many reasons. Here are a few reasons your dog might not enjoy time in a crate.
One simple reason your dog hates crate time is that they miss you and are unsure about when/if you’ll return. They might show their concerns and fears by chewing, digging, barking, or trying to escape their crate.
If you think your dog dislikes time in their crate due to separation anxiety or a previously negative crate experience, it’s a good idea to talk to a vet or pet behavioral therapist. A professional can help evaluate your dog’s needs and assist with specific training and advice.
Needs Exercise or Stimulation
Some dogs have more energy and dislike the thought of being confined. If possible, add extra outdoor walks and ways to use energy into their daily routine, particularly on days you plan to have them spend time in a crate. Many dog owners also find successful attention management with brain toys that help stimulate and distract their attention.
Exercise and brain stimulation won’t replace the attention they want from their humans, but it can make them more agreeable to time in a crate – or a nap!
Views Crates As Punishment
If you have recently adopted your dog or are unsure of their background training, it’s possible that your canine had a negative experience with crates in the past.
When you are crate training, be sure not to physically force your dog into a crate or use crate time as a punishment for undesirable behaviors. Much like dogs associate treats with good behaviors, they learn just as quickly that a crate can be associated with negative behaviors.
Sometimes there’s a simple solution: it’s just not comfortable. If your dog hates crate time, it might have something to do with the physical crate itself.
Make sure the crate you are using is the right size for your dog. Next, take a look at the floor of the crate to see if a crate pad could make a difference. If your dog tends to chew mats, take a look at our guide for heavy-duty crate pads that can also help provide comfort for your canine.
You might be surprised at how much a difference a good crate pad can make!
Training Techniques: Dog Hates Crate
While crate training is often easier when your dog is young, successful crate training can happen at any age. If your older dog hates crates, you may want to revisit some training methods.
Positive Crate Introduction
Place the crate in a location that is free from too much noise or light. This will help create a calm, safe environment.
Leave the crate door open and put a treat inside towards the back of the crate. Let your dog become comfortable exploring the space and finding the treat. Add a verbal command like ‘crate’ or ‘bed’ if you prefer.
Crate Time Length
While you are training (or retraining) crate time behavior, keep the amount of time they are in their crate short.
Wait until you are ready to leave the house and use your command word or treat to signal your dog into the crate and close the door. Start small with a short walk or quick errand. Gradually lengthen the amount of time you are gone.
As you lengthen the time in their crate, be aware of potty breaks – make sure they have the opportunity to go before you lock the latches. This tip will help you avoid coming home to a messy crate and dog!
Keep Crate Experience Positive
As with any training, focus on staying positive and rewarding the desirable behavior. When a dog is introduced to a crate, even a few moments staying inside, with the door open can be something to praise and reward!
Crate training can take a while to see successful results consistently. Remain focused on short, positive behaviors, and don’t use physical force to put a dog into a crate. Consistent reinforcement for desirable behavior will create more successful results and keep your dog from viewing the crate as punishment.
Crate Training A Puppy
There are specific things to keep in mind if you are crate training a puppy. We have created a separate guide to help you navigate training a young dog and picking out an appropriate crate.
Why Crates Are Useful
Dog crates can be a great resource to keep both dogs safe and provide comfort. If you plan to travel with your canine companion, crates can also be useful for transportation and lodging.
Not all dogs can be trusted to roam homes at night or when their owners are away. Some dogs are more naturally curious and clever when it comes to finding ways into food or tasting furniture! Crates provide safety for dogs that might find trouble on their own, along with reducing any possible destruction of your belongings.
Crates can provide a safe, quiet space that can help reduce anxiety for many dogs. It’s not uncommon for a dog to head to their crate if they need to take a break from a new commotion in the home or if they need a place of their own to sleep.
Transport And Travel
Depending on the size of your dog, crates can also be a useful tool for safely transporting your dog to vet appointments or for travel. Crates can also be useful for staying away from home, like in a hotel or anywhere with unfamiliar surroundings.
Destructive Behavior: Dog Hates Crate
If your dog is an escape artist or is destructive with chewing and digging, you may want to invest in a heavy-duty crate to keep your dog and your belongings safe. We have created a separate guide to some of the best heavy-duty dog crates so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. While there are many heavy-duty crates to pick from, we especially liked the Pro Select Empire because of its durability and design.
The Value of Treats for Training
When possible, immediately reward your furry friend with praise, treats, and love when entering their crate on command. This helps the dog associate the reward with the desired behavior.
For example, when we crate the dog in our home, we take a treat and say the command ‘crate’. Usually, she races to her crate and waits inside while we close the latches and give her the treat. She happily munches on her treat while we quietly exit the room.
Our Final Thoughts
Our staff at Dog Training Boss were pleased with many of the products we researched while looking for products that can help support changing crate behaviors. Our favorite product pick is the Diggs Groov Crate Training Toy. Many dog owners liked the simplicity and how easily it distracted their anxious or stressed companion upon entering the crate. Along with crate training methods, toys and mats can be useful for when owners need to leave their furry friend home for longer periods of time.
As always, safety should be the top priority with any dog product or training. We hope this review helps provide training and comfort when a dog hates crate time. We encourage dog owners to consult their vet with any specific questions or concerns regarding their canine’s needs.