Pickle the Chihuahua cross learns to go into her dog crate on cue

Pickle go into crate

Dog training method

No force – no fear

The term “cue” rather than “command” is used in this blog post.  This is because if the dog is given a “cue” then she makes a choice; she is not forced to follow a “command”.

Have a goal in mind.  Work towards that goal.  Be adaptable. 

The dog should be enthusiastic which shows you she is having fun.

You will make mistakes in the training session.  Learn from them and move on.

Give the dog time to work it out before you intervene but don’t let her get stuck.

No verbal cue is given at the beginning of the training.  She does not speak English so it would be confusing if she were given an untrained verbal cue.

“Good girl” is used as positive feedback.

Keep training sessions short.  Five minutes is a good ballpark figure.  If the dog starts to get bored or frustrated then end the session sooner.

Video method

These videos are raw and unedited so you see the real training in real time.

Training sessions of a dog learning to go into a crate

Session one

Pickle – Learning to go into a crate – Session one
  • Have a comfy bed in the crate.
  • The crate should be a positive place to be so don’t force her into it.
  • Throw a treat into the crate.  Let her get it and come out again if she wants to.
  • Don’t stand in front of the door or you may be blocking her.
  • Don’t stand too far away from the crate since this may make it more difficult for her.
  • It may help to place the treat near the back of the crate to encourage her in.
  • Note at 3:32 she gets fully into the crate for the first time so she receives feedback of “good girl” for this success.
  • When the dog stays in the crate keep dropping treats in to maintain this behaviour.
  • You may need to call her out of the crate so she can then practice going back in again.
  • Notice how her enthusiasm builds as the session progresses.
  • The session is ended with “OK”.

Session two

Pickle – Learning to go into a crate – Session two
  • Give the dog a break between sessions.
  • You may need to go back a step or two when starting a new session but you should now get quicker progress.
  • Note at 0:39 she gets fully into the crate.  In the first session she did not do this until 3:32.
  • Note at 0:54 I pretend to throw the treat into the crate.  She is then given the treat after going into the crate.  This is the transition from the treat being used as a lure to the treat being a consequence of the behaviour.
  • The visual cue (hand signal) to go into the crate is me pointing at the crate.
  • The verbal cue of “house” is then added as she enters the crate.
  • Distance is now added with me being further away when the visual cue is given.
  • The visual cue for “down” is now added.
  • Variation is now added with the me being in different parts of the room when the visual or verbal cue is given.
  • The session is ended with “OK”

Pickle – the YouTube star

Watch and subscribe to videos of Pickle the Chihuahua cross: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43nErWpEq2s&list=PLHZQoMcPhzNiqhhYOSi50JZbzhaoPhTfU

Dog training summary

Train your dog with rewards.

Keep training sessions short.

Keep training enthusiastic and fun.

Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

Follow Rainbow Dogs on Facebook.

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