Kennel / Crate

Kennel / Crate

This behavior will teach the dog to relax in a pen/crate.


  1. Build value for the pen

  2. Toss a treat into the pen to get the dog to enter - keep the door open

  3. Immediately toss in 10 more treats, one after another - the dog should should still be eating 1 treat when you toss the next

  4. Release the dog using the cue “Free”

  5. Repeat until the dog is eagerly and consistently entering and staying in the pen until released

  6. Develop staying power in the pen

  7. Toss a treat into the pen to get the dog to enter - keep the door open

  8. Toss in 10 more treats, this time bringing your hand back to your side in between each treat

  9. Release

  10. Repeat until the dog is eagerly and consistently entering and staying in the pen until released

  11. Fade the lure

  12. At this point, start to wait to toss the food into the pen

  13. Wait until the dog looks at pen or takes step toward it, then mark (e.g. say Yes) and reward

  14. Continue to raise the criteria as the dog is ready

  15. You do not have to complete this step before moving to the next step - continue to work on this anytime the dog goes in the pen

  16. Close the door

  17. Repeat step 1, but with the door closed

  18. Repeat step 2, but with the door closed

  19. Add duration and relaxation

  20. Vary the exact amount of time - between 1 and 3 seconds

  21. Also mark and reward the dog each time s/he looks away from you or show signs of relaxation (ie, lying down, going on one hip, closing eyes, etc)

  22. Increase duration again to every 3 to 5 seconds, continue to mark and reward for looking away/signs of relaxation

  23. Reinforce (only when relaxed/disengaged)

  24. Continue to increase time between reinforcers, but now only reinforce when dog is disengaged/relaxed

  25. Sample progression - 3 - 7 -> 5 - 10 -> 5 - 15 -> 10 - 20 -> 15 - 30 -> 20 - 40 -> 30 - 50 -> 30 - 60 -> 45 - 1:15 -> 45 - 1:30 -> 1:00 - 2:00 -> 1:00 - 2:30 -> 1:00 - 3:00 -> 1:00 - 4:00 -> 1:30 - 5:00 -> etc - eventually it will be clear the dog is relaxed and you can just periodically reinforce with praise, treat or release from pen