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Sophie Learns to Love Her Crate


Sophie did a great job at her grooming appointment and her very gentle groomer was able to cut the hair around her face , letting us see her beautiful, expressive eyes!!


Dogs are naturally den animals and feel comfortable in cozy, safe places. As Sophie came from a meat market, her associations with being crated were probably not pleasant. For a pet though, especially to help aid in housebreaking and keeping her safe during the day when left alone, a crate is one of the best tools we can use with our pets.

We needed to start helping Sophie have a positive association with her crate. How do we do that? With yummy treats of course!! Sophie seems pretty keen on little pieces of Cheddar Cheese, so we started by putting treats near the crate and over time, eventually putting treats inside the crate for Sophie to find.

Here Sophie is able to reach the treats without feeling any pressure about going all the way in.

As we saw Sophie was feeling more comfortable being around the crate, we started to put her treats a little further in. As you see here, She is stretching her body to reach her treats while still keeping to the “safety” outside the crate.

This process takes place on Sophie’s terms. As she shows more confidence, we continue acclimating her further into the crate. If at any time, she felt hesitant, we stayed at a level where she was comfortable until she was ready to move forward.

Success! She is comfortably in the crate. We leave the door open so she just gets the feel of being inside.

At this point, we close the door for a second and then reopen it. We repeat this many times until we are sure Sophie is feeling calm, increasing the length of time that she is in her crate (munching happily on treats!)

Final success. Sophie was able to lie down and relax in the crate with the door closed.

Now the real work is going to begin where Sophie’s mom is going to continue to make the crate a positive, happy place and extend the amount of time that Sophie can stay in the crate. Next step will be to have Sophie’s mom leave the room and come back in to show Sophie that she always returns….

Stay tuned….

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