Breaking the Confusion Around Dog Training With Dogs Made Simple - A Series by Jessica Sims
“Although difficult, change is always possible. What holds us back from making the changes we desire are our own limiting thoughts and actions.”
This was the quote that continuously played in the back of my mind when I finally decided to take action on my own and solve the ongoing issues I was experiencing with my 1-year-old Golden Retriever, Diesel. Crate training was only the beginning.
Why I Decided to Crate Train My Dog
Let’s rewind to the start.
About a year ago, I was tired of working long days from home. It got very lonely. I knew I was ready to get a puppy. My mind was set on a Golden Retriever as I grew up with two of them. They were always incredibly easy-going and laid back. I found a breeder and drove to Toronto. That’s when I brought home my lovable, naughty rascal, Diesel.
I didn’t have much planned in terms of training besides perhaps a puppy group training class. The Goldens I grew up with never had any sort of training, so I was thinking it would be the same with Diesel. Biggest mistake I ever made.
From the moment I brought him home, I noticed signs of food aggression and resource guarding. He was also skittish and very nervous around groups of people. His behavior started to get worse. I paid thousands of dollars in dog training, met with numerous trainers, and nothing seemed to be helping.
I felt hopeless - until I decided to take matters into my own hands. I immersed myself into the world of dog training, from reading numerous books and articles to watching a ton of videos. And that’s when it hit me.
Why couldn’t I work with my dog to solve his issues?
Why did we have to make this so complicated?
At the end of the day, I knew Diesel more than anyone. So that’s when I went back to the basics. And I started to see results.
In May 2021, I decided to share my journey with the public. Back when I was really struggling, I had no one to relate to. No one online was sharing their experience with dog training, the good and the bad. That’s when I launched Dogs Made Simple.
Crate Training Your Dog - Made Simple
Besides Diesel’s resource guarding issues, I struggled with several other problems as he was a highly reactive and energetic dog. I knew crate training would help me.
People always ask me where to start with crate training. My answer is go back to the basics and ask yourself one simple question:
“What would make a dog love their crate?”
Growing up we never crate trained our dogs. In fact, I thought it was cruel.
I was so wrong.
Of course not at all dogs need to be crate trained, but if your entire household agrees on doing so, then great! On the other hand, if your dog is very hyper or highly reactive, and requires boundaries, just like Diesel did, I highly recommend crate training.
I promise you, it will change your life for the better. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of time, patience and consistency. Keep reading friends, you can do it. Here are some steps I took to help Diesel get used to his crate.
Step 1: Start Small
To help with crate training, start small. Aim at having your dog in the crate for an hour or so each day, and slowly increase the duration.
Step 2: Maintain Line of Sight
At first, make sure the crate is in a location where your dog can see you, this will make it more comforting for them.
Step 3: Make It Comfortable & Fun
I recommend leaving the door open and giving your pooch their favourite treats and toys solely in their crate.
What’s the purpose of this and why did this way of crate training work for me? My focus was on creating a highly positive experience for Diesel when he was in his crate. By doing so, it slowly became his happy and safe place.
A Dog's Crate Should Be A Safe Place, Not A Punishment
The biggest mistake many of us make is locking them up in their crate, in a separate room, and leaving the house. How are they ever going to love their crate this way? Wouldn’t you be frightened?
Additional Crate Training Tips
Here are some other tips and tricks to help you and your dog get used to and love its crate:
- Make their crate as cozy as you’d like (unless your dog doesn’t like blankets like mine). Don’t be scared to have fun with it!
- Never use the crate as a punishment: this reinforces a negative association between your dog and their crate.
- Remember that it’s never too late to crate train, no matter the age of your dog.
- Be consistent and don't give up!
- Just starting out with training your new puppy or adult dog? Here are five basic dog commands you need to know.
Whether you are planning on getting a puppy, experiencing a few issues with your current dog, or just in need of a bit of inspiration and hope, follow Dogs Made Simple on Instagram and TikTok!
Founder, Dogs Made Simple