Your older dog could be a rescue dog, or you could have had the same dog in your family for many years, but as he's becoming older you need to keep him sleeping in a safe place. Some older dogs start behaviors such as marking or even having accidents in the house as they age. Rescue dogs may need some help with self-control as they get used to their new world and new home. A crate provides a comfortable and safe place for your older dog to go when it’s time for sleep. This can help ease any anxieties or confusion your older dog may be feeling. Think of your dog’s crate as a bedroom of sorts for your pup. A place to go when he’s not only tired but also nervous or anxious.
Training an older dog new tricks takes time and repetition. Your older pup will get used to a new idea with some tasty rewards and encouragement to sleep in a closed off, comfortable place. Take this training slowly and try to avoid locking your older dog in a crate for long periods of time right off the bat. If you have time to build up his tolerance for the crate, he will begin to see it as a safe place rather than punishment. Before you buy a crate, make sure you know the size you will need for your dog. Your dog should be able to stand up inside the crate and turn around. It doesn’t need to be too big, and a crate too small will be too constricting for your dog. Make sure you also have soft bedding for your dog, so sleeping is cozy and comfortable.
To start this training, you will need an appropriate size crate, bedding not only large enough for your dog and the crate but also comfortable enough for your dog to want to stay for long periods of time once he is used to the crate. You can entice your dog to get into the crate, encourage him to stay, and reward him for doing well with tasty treats.
We just got this rescue, 10 yrs old, never in a crate before, trying to train just for night time, first night wined for 3 hrs. Has a young dog in crate next to him already crate trained, finally feel asleep, just repeat this every night? Will she get used to it? Hard to do the treat thing with other dog, unless we give to both.
Hello Rick, Most dogs will adjust given time and consistency for 2-4 weeks. Some dogs adjust as soon as three nights, but it can take up to 1 month. Stay consistent if you go this route though - because letting pup out when they don't really have to go potty will make it take longer. Following treat methods during the day at the same time can usually help the process go more smoothly with less crying. It isn't required for many dogs but helps the process. If you wish to do that, then check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. Because you don't want your other pup to eat all the treats in an open crate, you can skip right to the part where you lock pup in the crate - giving treats if he gets quiet for a few seconds. Only give treats during the day though - no food at night. At night, at this stage it will simply look like ignoring the crying. Going to bed early so that the house is quiet but everyone is reading or doing things in bed can make this process easier - so pup isn't keeping everyone awake during the crying phase before he finally falls asleep. I would also move his crate away from your other dog's crate, so that your other dog doesn't get agitated. In the end the other dog's presence probably won't be helpful enough to your new pup to make it worth your current dog having to listen to it so closely. Even though pup may cry some at first in the crate for a few weeks, the amount of time it takes pup to quiet down will probably decrease to 30 minutes within a week. If you don't see improvement, then check back here. You can correct the crying - but that's not recommended as a first course of action. Almost all dogs will cry at first and will adjust without corrections if things are consistent and time is given. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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