How to Crate Train an Older Dog?
How to Crate Train an Older Dog? ( Expert Guide)
I can feel the struggle of taking an aged dog anywhere outside when he is not trained to sit in a crate. Crate training is something you must do as it can provide a safe and disaster-free space for your pooch in various circumstances.
Crates are used widely for transportation and restraining dogs throughout the world. Sometimes, your aged friend needs a safe place to rest in certain stressful situations. Keeping your dog well-trained for a crate can bring your mind to peace when you’re away.
With some love and patience, you can train an older dog to stay, rest, and sleep in a crate. In doing so, your dog will feel much more relaxed and enjoy his crate time without any stress. Let’s start by acknowledging why crate training is important for an older dog.
Significance of Crate Training for Senior Dogs
As a dog grows older, his cognitive functions as well as physical strength start to decline. At that time, he might need more rest than playtime. Crate training can make your dog enjoy his rest time in a cozy place away from any distractions.
Crate Acts as a Safety Den in Stress
Experiencing any type of external or internal stress can be traumatic to a dog, especially in his old age. Some dogs such as rescue ones have various traumatic life experiences that can cause a huge stress. In such cases, dogs need a place where they can feel comfortable and relaxed.
Fortunately, a crate can serve the purpose of providing a safe place for all types of stressful situations. From a psychological point of view, a dog will seek shelter whenever he is under stress. Through crate training, you can make this possible to make your dog less stressed.
Natural Disasters & Emergencies
We all have experienced some times in our lives when we need to leave home or prepare for a natural disaster. Whether it is an earthquake or a flood, transporting your big aged dog can be a real challenge.
If your dog is crate-trained, you will not face any difficulty in transporting him to a safe place. Through crate training, you’ll always stay prepared if you have to leave the home with your dog in unfavorable circumstances.
Outdoor & Veterinary Visits
In comparison to the strength of a young dog or pup, older dogs cannot walk on a leash for longer distances. Such dogs need proper care and transportation whether you are taking them for an outdoor adventure or to a veterinarian.
A crate-trained dog will make your transportation hustle easy by allowing you to take him anywhere with you. Crate training is necessary for older dogs during veterinary visits to make their travel safe and comfortable.
Confined Place in Illness & Injuries
Another important benefit of crate training is related to the deteriorating health status of older dogs. With age, certain illnesses start prevailing thus making your dog unable to take rest in a comfortable place.
Through crate training, your dog can stay in a confinement cage during his illness. If your dog has experienced any accidental injury, a crate can be used to keep him in one place until he is recovered from the injury.
Ready to Crate Train an Older Dog?
Your goal of crate training an older dog should be to minimize the stress levels and make the training as smooth as possible. Crate training of an aged dog can be done by following the step-by-step process promptly.
Look for a Comfortable Space
Before choosing a crate, you need to find a place in your home where your dog loves to sit and relax. It can be anything from under the stairs to a place in your bedroom. The main aim is to make the place of utmost comfort for your dog when he is in his crate.
For instance, if your dog always stays at a place you’re mostly at, prepare a section of it for the crate. Choose a place where you can monitor and regularly interact with your dog. At the same time, the place should be quiet and secluded enough to make his sleep peaceful.
Wisely Select the Dog Crate
After finding a suitable space, the next step is to look for a crate that works best for your aged dog. The dimensions and size of the crate should be according to the size of your dog and how much space you allocated for it at home.
There are several types and quality dog crates available in the market to choose from. Most of them are wire cages, and soft-sided carry crates and some are made of plastic or wood. Overall, the crate must be large and wide enough so your dog can sit and stand in it without any issues.
Prepare the Dog for Crate Introduction
Crate training is not just like placing the dog in the cage and shutting off the door. You need to prepare your dog before introducing a new crate to him. That includes doing some regular exercise or taking him out on a walk to drain some energy.
After that, begin introducing your dog to the crate by walking around the crate with your dog. Let your dog sniff and explore the crate by himself and always use positive ways to reinforce the commands for your dog to go inside.
Don’t Forget to Reward Your Dog
Open the door of the crate and let your dog explore the insides of the crate. You can use his favorite blanket or bedding inside the crate to make the dog feel comfortable. If he willingly goes inside and out, reward him with his favorite treat.
If by chance your dog is reluctant to go inside the crate, don’t force or push him in. That will associate a negative emotion of your dog with the crate. A good way to encourage your dog to go in the crate is by spreading some treats inside and waiting for him to step in.
Begin Door Closing for a Short Time First
Once you observe your dog stays inside and makes himself at home in the crate, gently try to close the door. Be very gentle as any sudden movements will make him scared of staying inside the crate.
Work yourself to close the door for a few seconds to a few minutes before letting the dog out again. Doing this will strengthen the trust of your dog in you and he will know you can let him out. Then, gradually increase the intervals between closing and opening the door again.
Be Prepared for a Setback in Crate Training
Sometimes, a dog might not like the crate or become panicked after staying inside. This is especially important in the case of rescued dogs with psychological traumas and separation anxieties.
If your dog becomes aggressive or agitated, let him come out of the cage and give him some cuddles. Be prepared to start over the crate training process again with the same consistency and steps.
With time, your dog will start loving the crate and enjoy snuggling and sleeping inside. You must make the crate training process simple and smooth to put no stress on the dog. Keep practicing every day and let me know how much time your pooch took for crate training in the comments below this article.