Crate training a mature dog - Training & Behavior - Site Root - Dog Community

Crate training a mature dog

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    Crate training a mature dog

    Hello everyone. To get straight to the point, I am seeking advice on training a dog that is 5 years old. Belle is on a leash in the garage or freely roaming the fenced in backyard, never allowed in the house. She is a mixture of what seems to be lab & pit, approximately 40-50lbs.

    "Why crate train now?", you may ask. Belle is a family dog who lives at my parents house. My Father passed away in a motorcycle accident a few days before Easter of 2015 and my Mother will be moving back to her homeland, Japan. Although I live else where, I was there the day he brought her home on the Harley and I named her with my Father. Even before the loss of my Father she has been a big part of my life and even more so now because she is a piece of happiness that I shared with him.

    I live in a 3 bedroom 2 bath duplex without a fenced in backyard with my bf who is well liked by Belle. I have no kids, we both work full time and home in the evenings. I am committed to getting her the XXXL crate (48";) for her comfort. I have spoken to few of my family & friends and I get mixed emotions about actually being able to successfully crate train a 5 year old dog who has lived a completely different lifestyle than what she is about to be a part of. Any words of advice/thoughts would be appreciated. Either way, thank you for taking the time to read my inquiry.

    • Gold Top Dog

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    • Gold Top Dog

    Before I share my thoughts on crate-training (which I fully endorse -- I've used crates very successfully with both my dogs), I wanted to clarify something. When you say you want to transition Belle to a new lifestyle do you mean one that allows her to live with you inside the house or will she continue to be an outside/garage dog? In my opinion, a crate is a tool that is used with dogs who are also integral parts of the family, not as a means of permanent containment/housing when a fenced yard or garage isn't available.

    My condolences on the loss of your father. It's very nice that you're able to take on the care of Belle and try to offer her a smooth transition after such a big change in all your lives.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Unfortunately, crate training isn't real quick and easy with an older dog.  I'm not sure you want a huge crate for her.....it should be large enough for her to stand, turn around, and really stretch out good.  Start by leaving the door open (or remove it) and encourage her to start thinking of it as her "room" ......her own special place.  You can do this by putting her food in the crate, treats and even special toys that are only "crate toys".  Gradually, you can start closing the door, but not latching,  and just for a few minutes at a time.  Eventually, you'll be able to shut and latch the door.  For now, I'd suggest choosing a room such as the kitchen (or any room that is not carpeted...in other words, an easy to clean floor) and baby gating it off, with the crate inside while you are at work.  Some dogs will howl and really carry on when crated, and you do NOT want to find out that she's one of them from complaining neighbors.

    It is totally possible to crate train Belle but it will take time.  My Theo is 10 now but if I ask him to "go to your room" he heads straight for the crate.  Many, many people who adopt older shelter dogs, or are involved in rescue, crate train those new family members, but it does take time and patience.

    I'm glad that you are giving Belle a home and I too am sorry about the loss of you dad.

    We are all here to help in any way that we can.

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    • Gold Top Dog

    Long walks and runs before introducing  the dog to the crate.  A tired dog is a good dog.  I have never actually crate trained a dog.  Piper would sleep in a crate with an open door, travel in a crate, but was not left all day in a crate.  She got her name from the noises she made when I attempted crate training. Very melodic.  Gunther and Sky were safe in the house.  Sky will sleep in a crate when we travel, but really prefers a good sofa or a queen size bed.

    Wish I had more info on this.

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    • Gold Top Dog

    Hi, so much good advice here! So sorry to hear about your dad. I have done rescue/fostering for years and you can crate train an older dog, it may take a bit more especially if they are use to free roaming. The mix of breeds you described will benefit from walks and training so much. Like Doug said a good walk before crating is a plus, Like everyone else stated as well, patience and time. Please keep us posted.