Written by George Anderson
Wednesday, 12 May 2004
In order to effectively cage train your dog without causing any stress you should carry out the process over a period of 6 days.
DAY 1. Set up the cage in an area that is free of draughts and where the dog can easily get in and out of it. On the first day the cage door should be wide open, put your dogs bedding inside and leave it there permanently. Feed your dog inside the cage, throw treats into the cage for him, and throw his toys into it for him to go and fetch. Make every entry into the cage a fun, stress free, pleasurable experience; at no time must he ever feel threatened when he enters the cage. Play with him in the cage. That night let your dog sleep in the cage with the door wide open; under no circumstances must you close the cage door.
DAY 2. Start to close the cage door today, bring the cage door to where it is horizontal with the floor and support it in such a way that it cannot be closed accidentally. Again, today feed the dog in it, play with him in it and give him treats in it, he again sleeps in the cage tonight with the door open.
DAY 3. Today drop the cage door about 1/2 of the way; again secure it so that it cannot be closed accidentally. Carry on feeding the dog in it and playing with him etc in it, he sleeps in the cage every night.
DAY 4. Close the door about 3/4 today and carry on as before. Every time your dog enters the cage it must be a pleasurable experience, food and fun.
DAY 5. Today close the door all the way when he is being fed in it but secure it in such a way that it will not automatically lock, this is so that when he is finished feeding he can push the door and get out if he wants to. No panic at being locked in. Tonight when he is put into it at bedtime close the door but do not lock it.
DAY 6. By this time the dog should be quite happily accepting the cage, when you feed him in it today lock the door and leave him there for a few minutes when he is finished. Put him into the cage several times during the day and lock him in with a toy or bone to keep him occupied. Tonight he can be locked in when you go to bed. It is unlikely but if at any time he panics when locked in go back a few steps and carry out the procedure without the door being locked.
Never use the cage as a punishment by putting him into it for misbehaving. The dog must always see the cage as a place of safety where he feels happy and secure. It cannot be stressed enough that he must never ever be put into it as a punishment. Doing so will cause the dog to feel stressed and insecure, he will not want to go into it as he will feel that he is being punished every time he is put into it and this will end up by causing both you and your dog more problems.
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