Yes! With enough time and perserverance most dogs can be successfully crate trained at any age. Because dogs are naturally den animals and like the security and comfort of smaller safe spaces, crates are a really positive thing in their lives. Remember that some dogs who’ve had a bad past with mistreatment and poor use of cages and confinement may not ever be able to be crated. The secret is to begin slowly, don’t force your dog into a crate unless positively necessary, and have patience. You’ll soon see if your dog will take to its crate.
Begin by choosing the right size of dog crate. You want a crate that’s sizeable enough for your dog to stand, sit, stretch out and turn around. Anything smaller than this could be exceedingly uncomfortable for your pet and will make crate training difficult. Getting anything larger than this is going to make it tempting for your dog to use a corner of the crate for its toilet. Dogs don’t like going to the bathroom where they sleep, so they usually won’t soil the right sized crate.
Give your pet some motivation for passing time in its crate by giving it some amenities. Place some comfortable bedding in there, some toys, treats and water. It is possible to get water bottles that clip on to the dog crate which are excellent as they can’t be spilled over the floor of the crate. Is your dog a chewer? You will want to avoid putting anything in the crate your dog may chew on and choke.
Get them used to the crate before keeping them confined there. It is very important to the success of crate training to establish the crate as a nice, positive place for your pet. Leave the door open and encourage your dog to enter by placing treats in the crate, or leading him to the crate with treats. It may take a few tries to get your dog to go into the cage on its own. This is ok – take it slow with this. Allowing your dog to enter on its own is the best way to start out crate training.
After a while your dog will enter readily and with some luck will choose the crate as its favorite place to sleep. This is when you can begin closing the door on the crate for one or two minutes at a time. It is critical that you start by confining for very short periods at a time. If your dog’s first experiences stuck in its crate are for longer periods, it will lose trust and begin to see its dog crate as a bad thing.
Once your dog can be confined for as much as 30 minutes without incident you can begin to leave it in its cage for longer periods. Never leave your dog in its crate for more than a few hours at a time. It’s best for you to be close by when it is crated. Ideally, overnight the crate would be placed in your bedroom or very close by so that you can be conscious of any issues right away. This will also maintain trust with your pet.
In the daytime your pet shouldn’t ever be crated for more than 3-4 hours. If you cannot come home to let out your dog in the middle of the day, find a friend or neighbor who can. If this is not possible look for an alternative to crating, such as creating an indoor pen or cordoning off dangerous areas with baby or pet gates. Your dog should only be crated until they can be trusted to wander the house on their own without safety risks or destruction.
Correctly crate training your dog has many positive outcomes for both you and your pet. Having the ability to keep calm in a crate can save your dog’s life in an emergency scenario. It’ll also make recuperating from a medical procedure much easier. Good luck with your training and remember that crate training requires patience and diligence and might not be appropriate for all dogs.