Last updated on September 23, 2022
Are you concerned that your Australian Shepherd will despise its crate? This is a common reaction among pet owners when they first begin the process. However, the Aussie is an intelligent dog. Thus, it shouldn’t be hard to crate train it.
Many dogs grow to appreciate having their own space in your home where they can relax. It does take patience, and you should proceed slowly through crate training steps to ensure that your puppy or older dog has a positive training experience.
How To Crate Train an Australian Shepherd
Everything you need to know on how to crate train an Australian Shepherd is summarized in this six-step program:
1. Choosing the correct crate size
The first key to success is purchasing a crate that will be the appropriate size for your Australian Shepherd. The crate should be large enough for your Aussie to stand up and turn around in.
If the crate is too big, it will give your Aussie to litter in the far corner of the space, without having to deal with the mess. However, when getting an Australian Shepherd puppy, purchase a crate that will be the right size for their full adult size.
2. Introducing the crate to your Aussie
Slowly introduce your Australian Shepherd to the crate. This is a key step to the crate training of your dog. Doing this quickly will seem forced and might ruin the entire crate experience for your Aussie.
Place the crate in a room where you spend a lot of time. This will give some time to your dog to get used to the idea of seeing it there. The Aussie is a curious breed, and a wonderful family dog.
It may even begin to investigate the crate on its own. If it doesn’t, you can take a more gradual approach to introducing the crate.
Walk over to the crate and speak in happy tones to your puppy. Drop a couple of yummy treats at the door of the crate. You need to get your dog interested in walking to the crate with you.
Once you got the Aussie’s attention, you can move the treats just inside the door of the crate. By this, your dog will have to put its head inside the crate to retreat the treats. Eventually, you will progress to tossing treats in the back of the crate.
3. Make the crate a comfortable spot
Try placing their favorite toy in the crate if your dog is not food motivated. A blanket that smells like your puppy will also do the trick. Make the crate comfortable for your Australian Shepherd.
You have to make sure your dog will feel good in the crate. You can add a towel or a dog bed to the crate. However, you should avoid doing this if your dog is likely to tear it apart or do its physiological needs on it.
Don’t worry if you don’t put a dog bed immediately. This is something you can do later when the dog is used to the crate.
4. Crate train your Aussie
Now you can officially start to crate train your Aussie. Call the dog to the crate, issue your command and encourage the dog to enter the crate. If necessary, use your hands to assist your dog.
Never force it to enter the crate. If needed, use food to lure the dog inside the crate. Once they enter the crate, give them the food reward and gently shut the door.
Stay where your Australian Shepherd can see you from inside the crate. Sit quietly next to them for some 10 minutes. You can now let the dog out.
After you practice this a few times, you can start leaving the room. Keep these practices short and practice them several times a day. Work your way up to longer increments in the crate, until you can leave them there comfortably for at least 30 minutes. Once your pup is comfortable doing this, you can increase their time in the crate.
Do this while you are at home. When you see that staying in the crate is not an issue for your dog, you can now leave the house.
5. Positive Association and crate training
Since your Aussie will be spending lots of time in the crate, this is a good time to start associating positive things with their crate. Instead of giving your Aussie a treat after entering the crate, slip them their favorite toy. This will take your dog’s mind off of being in the crate.
Instead, it will give your pup something to look forward to. Remember, your Aussie is still not used to being in the crate all day. You need to relieve your dog every couple of hours with exercise and bathroom breaks.
If you are crate training a puppy, bear in mind they cannot hold their bladder for more than 3 to 4 hours. Frequent bathroom breaks will contribute to the success of the training.
6. Sleeping in the crate
If you’re planning for your Aussie to sleep in the crate, it is now time to tackle this. Keep the crate close to you during sleeping hours. Ideally, place it in the bedroom with you.
This will allow you to hear if your Aussie needs a bathroom break. Placing the crate in the bedroom for adult dogs that are being crate trained is also a good idea. By this, the dog will not feel isolated or anxious while it sleeps.
Always use the same command to ask your Aussie to enter the crate. Follow the command with a treat, as usual. Your dog may eventually whine in the middle of the night.
This can be quite annoying, but do your best to ignore it. If your Australian Shepherd has already been to the bathroom, it is most likely crying for attention. Do not reward their whining with any kind of attention, positive or negative.
Some Aussies love their crates and training will only take a couple of days. However, if your pup is more resistant, it may be a matter of weeks before it gets accustomed to the crate.
At the end of the day, crate training your Australian Shepherd is an important component of being a pet owner. It ensures that your dog stays out of trouble while you’re away.
Make sure you give your pup enough time to get used to the new routine. The super-intelligent Aussie will reward your patience for sure.