Activities For Dogs Who Like Crates

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Introduction

While many dogs may still need some work on crate training or may outright dislike their crate, there are certainly plenty of others who find significant comfort and safety in their den-like setting. It's often a place of familiar smells, a comfortable bed, and a place where treats sometimes rain from the sky (if their owners like to reinforce good behavior). But just because they're sometimes treated like retreats doesn't mean they can't also be incorporated into fun activities as well, keeping them from eventually becoming stale and uninteresting places for dogs to be. As long as you have a little creativity and some know-how, you can make a great day and a crate day nearly synonymous!

Crate Fort

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Free
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Blankets
Pillows
Clothespins
Activity description
While cuddling up with your pooch is sometimes one of the best ways to pass time, being in the same environment over and over again can get quite boring. So if you're looking to spruce it up, consider making a fort centered around their crate. You won't get to be as close to your dog if they're inside, but crates make great structural foundations for making forts in living, family, or bedrooms and will undoubtedly provide them some additional entertainment as they watch or help you build a giant den, fort, or nest. All you need is some lightweight blankets, their crate, clothespins and some creativity.
Step
1
Pick the room and gather supplies
The first step is finding the proper place to build. Start by looking for a room with enough space to build and minimal breakable objects. It can be a room with a TV so you can watch from your respective dens, or merely an extended crate-castle for them to play or lay in. Once you've found your room, gather your supplies and start mapping out potential points of construction.
Step
2
Start the build
Once you've picked a room and gathered supplies, it's time to start building. Start by moving the structural pieces first, such as the crate, couch or other sturdy furniture, then find places to pin your blankets to. Stretch them out across the room the best you can, stringing them together with clothespins if need be. Try to create a structure suited to your purpose. If you're just trying to build a crate-castle, put it at the heart and center on top of the couch, open the door, then build a ramp or steps down out of cushions or books. Surround it with blanket walls and make them a grand entrance. If you're trying to make a play space, concentrate on making a covered space to play in, then attach their crate as a comfy place for them to retreat once they're done.
Step
3
Play away!
Once everything is constructed, play away! Play crates games with them in their new extended surroundings or modify your structure further to suit your needs. Most dogs love den-like settings and there is no shortage of different ways to design and execute some great crate castles.
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Improved Crate Training

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Any Day
Free
Easy
5 - 30 min
Items needed
Crate
Treats
Activity description
So your dog already loves their crate - that's fantastic! Many owners don't have the luxury of such, whether it's due to their dog's stubbornness, their own laziness, or the fact that they have a puppy who may not quite grasp the intricacies of training quite yet. But regardless, if your dog loves their crate, you're on your way to better behavior if you're not there already. But that also doesn't mean you should stop. Most dogs love learning new things anyway! Take advantage of their crate love by continuing on with their training, which can further improve both your relationship and their overall obedience. It's cheap (really just the cost of treats, if you don't already have some), easy, because they already love their crate, can be done in all-weather since it's mostly an indoor activity, and can be done for as short or long as you want.
Step
1
Identify areas of improvement
If your dog already loves their crate, chances are they're pretty well crate trained, but most dogs still have room for improvement in some facet or another. Try to identify areas in which they can improve, such as staying in their crate when you grab their leash or when you're at the dinner table. Make a small list if you can so you can work on various aspects over several days, if not on a regular basis.
Step
2
Do crate work
Once you've identified areas in which they can improve, grab some treats and get to work. Try to concentrate on only one type of training at a time, as isolation generally produces quicker and better results than trying to teach too much at once. Try to raise their patience or their obedience and improve their behavior in ways that will benefit both you and them. After all, it's way more easy to tell a dog what to do when they're already excited to do it!
Step
3
Expand the range
Once you've been able to work on a few things, try to expand your range, such as getting them into the car or something of the like, using good associations with their crate as motivation for things they're less likely to do (just make sure the new activity doesn't outright deter them from continuing to love their crate). Challenge them and use the crate as a safe place to try new things or go new places. Sometimes all it takes is a little safety blanket (or crate as it were) to boost their confidence!
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Road Trip

Popular
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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
15 - 120 min
Items needed
Car or other enclosed vehicle
Crate
Activity description
While it may seem to many that crates can be stale, boring places where the same sights, sounds, and smells are experienced, that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. For instance, road trips can be a great way to entertain your dog on their own, and act as fun activities between other destinations. Although most people (including many of us) enjoy letting their dogs roam free to stick their heads out the window and sniff around the car, it's considerably more safe to have them crated up and chances are, they'll still enjoy the experience regardless. All you need is an enclosed vehicle, some money for gas, your dog and a crate, making it cheap, easy to fit in between other activities, and of variable length.
Step
1
Find the sweet spot
If you think it's too boring for your dog to just sit in their crate while in the car, spruce it up! There are plenty of safe ways you can give your dog a bit more thrill while they're still in their crate. For instance, placing a large box, piece of foam, pillows, or blankets (given that they're stable) underneath their crate can boost them up to see out the window better, which you can also open while driving so they can enjoy the breeze. Just make sure the crate is firmly held in place by seat belts, ropes, or other securing devices.
Step
2
Hit the road
Once you've gotten everything in place, you'll need to figure out where you want to go before getting them into the car and crate. Pick a destination that will provide plenty of interesting things for them to look at during the drive and one that won't keep them holding their bladder too long. Once you've got a destination picked out (hopefully with some dog-friendly activities as well, like a cool dog park further out than normal), get them in the car, check that they're secured and hit the road! Open the windows if it's nice so they get some fresh air and let them take in the spoils of the open road.
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More Fun Ideas...

Crate Relocate

While the consistency of crate location can be great for some dogs, it can also be a deterrent for others. If it's too near excessive noise, vents, or anything else that could cause a disturbance, they may still go in but enjoy it less than they might otherwise. Try their crate in a few different spots and see if they're any more satisfied in places other than where it currently rests.

Chew City

Sometimes your dog needs a safe place to retire (or you need a break) but may still get bored. Give them an appropriate chewy and let them make their own fun in the confines of their crate.

Find a New Crate

If your dog already loves being in their crate, you don't have to rock the boat. But, if you happen to have more space, a change in space coming, or can finally afford something a little nicer, take them crate shopping to test a few out. Modern crates can be collapsible for easier travel, dual-doored for easier access in tighter spaces, or provide more support in general, so give them a nice upgrade if you're able to. It may just make them love their crate that much more.

Conclusion

For both dogs and owners alike, a crate can be a saving grace in terms of travel, comfort, and security, as well as being a great tool for obedience training. But don't forget, they can also be great for games and playtime, so don't hesitate to great creative in your use of them. After all, you may not have to live in them, but for chunks of time, your dog does, so sprucing them up in any fashion, new use, new location or otherwise, can go a long way in keeping your dog happy. Just make sure not to make it too perfect or they may never want to come back out!