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I've crate trained my dog since Day 1 when I adopted him at 9 weeks. With time, he learned to like his crate, and is very content to be in there after I asked him to "kennel up."

That said, his crate has never been a wonderful place that he goes to on his own. He's eaten all his meals in there since the very beginning, and he has special toys that he only gets in there. At the beginning, I covered his crate, but since he's pulled and torn up every cover I've used I've stopped covering it.

At times, when he's out, he darts under the bed to lie down and hang out. Seems like under the bed is his spot for relaxing and having a "den" which his crate is supposed to be.

Any ideas on making his crate feel more like his own personal den? For now it seems like his crate is just a habit. The day still hasn't come that he's gone in on his own and stayed. When he's in, he's pretty much waiting for me to open the doors to let him out - even if he's just in the mood to lounge around under the furniture.

Thanks!
 

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For some dogs, I don't think the crate is ever going to be a place they love. I think you're doing pretty well that he's content with it.

I have 3 dogs, all crate trained. Reese LOVES her crate, and when let in the house, immediately darts in there and goes to sleep. She could live in there for the rest of her life and be happy. Echo will go in there and sleep occasionally, and when I tell her to go in, she goes in without any protest. Then you have Chessa, who was raised the same way, and hates the crate. If you put her in there, she's well behaved and doesn't make a peep. But she will NEVER go in there of her own accord, and if i tell her to go in, she looks at me and lays down.

Some dogs don't like being locked in anywhere. And once they have been, that place is not somewhere they go in of their own free will. But as long as they're ok in it and not putting up a fuss, I wouldn't worry about it. Also I think some dogs just like to find their own safe place.
 

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I wish I knew the secret to making one of mine love the crate. It was purchased for him because he's destructive when in the house, may have a bit of separation anxiety contributing to that, and when it is either very cold or very hot (more of a problem where I am), I'd rather leave him and his Aussie "babysitter" in the house than in the tack room of my horse barn, which gets stifling hot in summer, while I'm at work.
I've thrown him a "crate party" complete with new Kong toy stuffed with goodies that is only offered in the crate, sprinkling his favorite treats in there for him to find and scarf up on occasion, and giving him the holy grail of snacks, cheese, while he's in there. I've put it next to my bed (he usually sleeps ON my bed...and is doing exactly that RIGHT NOW as I type), put a cover on it, which seems to make it even more inviting to him, and run our "bedtime" little fan right beside it so that he has that lulling white noise. I've never locked him in it for more than a few minutes, and lately I NEVER lock him in because he did whine a little once during the few minutes I closed the door (waited for him to hush before opening). He goes in fairly willingly, though sometimes he's a bit reluctant and I just patiently keep giving him the "crate" command while gently coaxing with a gesture and acting like it's going to be the most fun he's ever had, LOL. He goes in then, and sits and waits for a treat, which he gets. I can even convince him to stay in it, and sometimes he'll stay in, even with the door open, and then might whimper a little like "Can I come out now?" I'll have to tell him he can come out and he does. (He's very good about "stay".) At night I "put him to bed" in the crate, and sometimes, just like a little child, he sneaks out and asks to come sleep in my bed with me. (He does this by putting his paws briefly on the edge of the bed then sitting. If I ignore him, he asks again. If I say "Come up!" he hops up and lays down with me.) So if it's "bedtime" and he's supposed to be in his crate, I tell him "No, go to bed. Go to crate." Sometimes that's all it takes and he'll go back to his crate. Sometimes he keeps asking to come up on the bed and will even whine a little. So I get up and coax him back into his crate, have him lay down, sit down outside of it (and sometimes lean inside of it and pet him and tell him he's good and he needs to "go night-night'). And he's been good about then going to sleep until about 2-3am, when he gets up to scratch, get a drink of water, and then asks to get in my bed, which, because I'm half asleep and not about to negotiate crate time, I allow.

My Australian Shepherd has never been in a crate in his life, and he gets in the thing all the time and acts like it's the best place on the planet. He's never been given the first treat or bit of encouragement about it, in fact I try to DIScourage him from going in it because it's meant for the other dog! LOL!

Go figure. They are impossible to figure out sometimes.
 
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