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How to Crate Train an Older Dog

By Rena Sherwood | Updated September 26, 2017

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Items you will need

  • Crate

  • Dog toys

  • Bedding

  • Old item of your unwashed clothing

  • Enzyme-based cleaner for accidents

There are several advantages to crate training. Once a dog equates a crate with a sense of security, you can transport the crate anywhere, and the dog will feel secure. Also, crate training can be used to help with house-training issues that older dogs may have. Any dog rescued from the racetrack, a laboratory or a puppy mill may not be house-trained.

Choose a proper crate. The Humane Society of the United States recommends a crate large enough for the dog to not only turn around in but also stretch out when lying down on his side. Select one with a door that can be left open.

Place in the crate a cushion or dog bed, dog toys and an old item of clothing you have just worn. The smell will comfort the dog while you are gone. According to the ASPCA, dogs will not want to soil in their dens.

Leave the crate open while you are in the room with the dog. Praise lavishly whenever the dog goes in to investigate. When the dog is settled, shut the door and praise again. Leave the dog alone in the crate for a few minutes and leave the room. Come back and praise. Repeat this over a few days, varying the length of time you are gone.

Begin to leave the dog alone in the crate while you are out of the house or at night when you sleep. Give a special treat only for that time.

Notice your dog's body language. Usually, before a dog has to urinate or defecate, he will sniff the floor and walk around in circles. Take the dog outside immediately when the dog does this, and praise him when he eventually goes.

Clean up any accidents with an enzyme-based cleaner to completely remove any smell of ammonia. It's that smell the dog goes back to to find a place to go.

Photo Credits

  • Image from Wikimedia Commons.


Rena Sherwood is a writer and Peter Gabriel fan who has lived in America and England. She has studied animals most of her life through direct observation and maintaining a personal library about pets. She has earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Delaware County Community College and a bachelor's degree in English from Millersville University.