Dog Crates

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Quick Crate Training Trick: The Lock Out


Crate Training Lock Out ImageHere’s a crate training trick I learned many years ago and use often: The Lock Out.

The Lock Out uses the “make your idea their idea then let them do it” philosophy that works so very well. Here’s how you play: Take something your dog really likes—a favorite toy, chewie, treat or his meal—and lock that in the crate while shutting your dog out.

Our goal? For your dog to sit outside the crate wanting in. Yearning to be in. Trying to figure out how to get in. After a minute or so, you simply open the door and let him do what he wants. Your dog then goes in with a happy “yea, I get to go into the crate” attitude.

If your dog is crate cautious, set the item right by the crate door so he can reach in and get it without entering the crate. As that becomes easy, start to move the temptation farther back. Doing this sort of slow progression can help him gain confidence.

Also, if your dog is crate cautious then be sure the crate isn’t going to slip or rattle when he enters it. Putting an old towel or nonskid rug under it can keep it from shifting.

I hope this simple crate training trick helps teach your dog to crate happily and quickly.

Now you know.


  1. I LOVE this idea for getting them into the crate and loving it!

  2. What if you’ve adopted a dog that is no longer a pup. I rescued a beagle from a local pet store during a rescue event. She had nursed several pups in her day. She is a dog that likes to cuddle, sit on my lap, and is my new best friend. I was loaned a not too large wire crate (for which I purchased a soft ‘cushion’ about the same size as the floor of the crate; that I used in the beginning. Lately, I find myself leaving the door open. She stays in the crate all night with the door open. I also have a second ‘cushion’ that I placed in front of a low window at one end of the living room. She loves to sit there to look out at passing traffic, etc. I am hoping to transition her away from the crate entirely. I was hoping to replace it with a nice soft bed for her. Would you recommend this, and do you believe this transition is a good possibility? Do you have any tips for making a successful transition? Thank you for any information or advice.

    • Sounds like she’s already transitioning. Just go slow. She’s been through a lot of changes and if you two have a system that works, I would not rush to shift that. Going slowly is often the fastest way to get where you’re go with a mill rescue. Congrats on adopting her and so glad you two are already having such a good time! Sarah

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