If you’re here, I can bet you are ready to begin crate training an older dog. You’re wondering how to approach this, and if it’s even possible. Well, the good news is that it’s totally possible!
And really, crate training an older dog isn't that different from crate training a puppy. The principles of consistency and keeping things positive are going to be the pillars of your success.
The biggest difference when you’re working with an older dog is that it might take a little more time and patience, because there might be routines, bad habits, or even negative associations that need undoing.
Here we’ll cover the why behind crate training older dog, times you might consider introducing a crate with an older dog, and the tips and advice you need to get it done.
Usually when people ask us about crate training an older dog, there are one of three scenarios in play. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common reasons people are looking for info about crating their adult dog.
With adoption becoming a more and more popular option for families (yay!), many of us are faced with questions about how to crate train our adopted adult dogs. First of all, I’m so glad you’re deciding to crate train!
When you look at those benefits, it should be an easy decision that this is a great approach when a rescue dog joins your family. Adult dogs that are coming from an unknown past will benefit from the safe, positive space that their crate provides.
With adopted dogs it is important to remember they may have a negative association with a crate in their past. It’s always possible that their crate was used for punishment, neglect, or abuse.
We’ll get into this more below, but you can still succeed with crate training, and it can still benefit your dog! It’s just going to take more time and patience.
Another reason owners introduce a crate to their older dpg is when your older dog suddenly exhibits behavior issues. You might be seeing accidents in the house, destructive chewing, aggressive behavior or anything in between.
If you are experiencing unwanted behaviors, crate training can really help keep them at bay. If your dog is crated, they can’t destructively chew or soil in the house out of spite. On the flip side, the crate might even provide them with a safe space to go to if they are feeling uncomfortable with a new baby or new pet that’s joined the family.
The big thing to be aware of if this is your situation––you need to get to the bottom of their behavior! Crate training may be an important step in mitigating the issues, but whenever there’s a sudden change in your dog it’s a good idea to check in with your vet and dig a little to figure out what might be causing the issue in the first place.
For more info and tips about this, check out Older Dog Suddenly Chewing? Here’s What it Means and What to Do About it!
The third most common scenario is a family dog that has declining health. It may no longer be safe for your dog to be loose in the house when you aren’t there. Crating your older dog can keep them safe from things like falls, getting stuck somewhere, not being able to get to their water, or any number of issues depending on your dog’s diagnosis.
Just like in the other scenarios, you’ll need to keep it super positive and consistent. When our dogs don’t feel well they are often scare and more prone to separation anxiety, so creating a sense of positivity around the crate is key.
Related Reading: Caring for your Senior Dog
Head here for step-by-step advice for crate training puppies
And because we’re on the topic, don’t miss these other helpful articles and resources:
Do you have a question or tip to add to the list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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