Crate Training Games – Power Tip #3: Bait + Restrain

We’ve got a big crate training video
coming up with a bunch of the ins and outs of choosing and using a crate. It’s
a beast though so we’re doing our training games in separate videos, like
today’s Simpawtico power tip. Ian here with Simpawtico Dog Training. Now crate
training is an important and useful part of raising a puppy or adopting a new
adult dog. When we are introducing the crate, even to an experienced dog in a
new place, some work with habituating the crate is crucial. This game will help
build some interest in the crate. It’s awesome for puppies, but even older dogs
will benefit from this one. It’s really easy to do. But a couple of things first.
As always your most effective strategy is praise as we’ve said many times on
this channel your voice is your number one training tool. Second, timing is
important. Don’t try to work on crate training during peak arousal times. Work
with your dog, spend time with them, play with them, and wear them out first. You
should be aware of your dog’s energy levels and take steps to manage them.
Finally we recommend using a consistent phrase as a prompt to go into the crate.
Pairing a word or phrase will help directionalize their attention towards
where it needs to be. For this exercise we’re going to use a little gentle
restraint to build drive. A body harness will work best, although if your dog is
comfortable being handled by you, you can use your hand on their body. Don’t hold
on to the collar during this exercise since that will just interfere with
obedience work later on. Our first training game for any age is the old
bait and restrain, so we start this by throwing food into the crate and letting
your dog toddle and to get it. This is the super obvious step and everyone does
this. But we’re going to kick it up so we can really make some progress.
After a few repetitions, gently restrain your dog as you throw the treat inside.
Gentle restraint is a classic drive building strategy. A little bit of positive
frustration will make them want it more and work harder to access whatever it is
they want. After a few reps with gentle restraint give your consistent cue and
then release. Now you’re teaching your dog that the words are important. We use
a similar process to attach verbal prompts to all of the behaviors we teach.
After a few reps pre-bait the crate; distract your dog with food when they
come out and throw food in with your other hand so they don’t see you throw
it in. This way your dog doesn’t become dependent on you throwing food into the
crate in order to go in. They poke their head in and discover that the food is
already there. Next, build a little duration. Toss food while your dog is
already in there so they hang out inside a little bit. Finally, close the gate
while your dog is in there during the duration work and feed them through the
holes. When your dog has stopped eating let them back out right away. You can
build on this process very quickly. This is much better in the long run rather
than just throwing your dog into it and hoping for the best. You want to make
that initial movement of going in and coming out fun and pleasant. This game
alone may get the ball rolling well enough but if you need or want another
fun crate game check out our other power tip vid. And if you want the lowdown on
how to choose and use a crate check out our big crate video coming out soon. If
it’s not already we’ll have a playlist on crate training linked in the comments
below. If you haven’t yet pound that subscribe
button so you never miss any of our videos and as always keep learning, keep
practicing, and we’ll see you soon. Thanks for watching!

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