How to crate train an older dog with separation anxiety in few simple steps?


how to crate train an older dog with separation anxiety


How to crate train an older dog with separation anxiety in few simple steps – hang on tight because that might not be as hard as you may have thought. Well, I agree with you it is not an easy task to re-train an adult dog.


Because an adult dog has a set of habits that they have got used to over the years, right. And teaching them new ones is not easy.

So it would take little time and patience, especially if your pet suffers from separation anxiety.

Putting them in a crate if they have never been there will be a challenge. Why? Because of insecurity, uncertainty or fear – simple.

Ask yourself how would you feel walking in an unknown alley? Little uncomfortable I am sure, especially if it is night time. So the same thing.

Remove or lessen that insecurity, uncertainty  or fear – you got it – they will love the crate.

There is a solution to every problem

If you are a parent to an adult dog, you would agree that at times you feel like your grown-up pooch need a little bit of grounding when their behavior is not perfect. And you wish you could confine them to a place like a crate where they will be comfortable as well as safe.

Of course I am with you, that isn’t the entire rationale of getting your adult dog a crate and confine them there. Because crates are also a very good means of pet transportation, especially when you’re travelling or going for a nice countryside road trip for that matter.

Additionally, you can use them to prevent damaging home incidents where you wake up to find a new pair of your shoes all chewed up!

However, as mentioned before crate training an adult dog can be quite a challenging task. This is contrary to training young pups that are open to new learning experiences because they’ve just started their journey of life. So their behavior can be molded and shaped more easily.

For an adult dog, change is unwelcoming. This is because it is already conditioned to certain behaviors. It is important here to make sure they don’t lose trust in you and hence the process must be a smooth transition for them.

So how do you go about crate training your adult dog then? Well, there are a lot of different ways to do this. Here is a list of a few important ones and they will definitely help you get started!

Introducing The Crate

The first step is to introduce your dog to the crate. Just place it where they spend most of their time and let the door open. Also, try making it look comfortable by placing a blanket on the crate floor and leaving their favorite treats in a corner of the crate.

This will spark a curiosity in their mind to go inside the crate and check it out. They might enter it or they might not. If they do so, do not close the door.

Never force your adult dog to enter the crate while introducing it for the first time. It might scare or disturb them and therefore, it is important to do this at their pace.

Allow your dog a few days or perhaps longer, to get used to the presence of crate.

Extending Outdoor Play Times

If your dog is very energetic or even if it simply likes to laze around, we strongly recommend that you extend its walks and play times.

This makes sure the redundant energy is drained. It will enable them to sit in one place and rest for a longer time span.

When you return from outdoors, place their sleeping bed near or adjacent to the crate. Let them sleep next to it for a few days.

Before your pooch awakens, place its chew toys in the crate in a way that they notice it. Their curiosity might lead them inside the crate!

Placing their favorite meals inside the crate

Start giving your dog its meals inside the crate. Let the door open. It will eventually get used to eating the meals inside the crate.

If your dog still feels reluctant to enter the crate, an alternative is to just use the base tray. Let your dog sit on just the base tray and have its meals.

Remember, you need to be patient all along the way. They are just starting to get familiar with the crate!

You can eventually add walls on two sides and then move on to adding of them while still letting the door remain open.

This will help them relate to the crate in a positive way.

Crate: the ultimate source

Start making crate the only source of your dog’s favorite things. Do this as your pooch is becoming used to frequenting in and out of the crate.

It might seem hard at first, but if conditioned in the right way, the crate will become your dog’s happy place! Provide them with their favorite chew toys, favorite treats only in the crate and nowhere outside it.

Now they know the crate is their go-to place for all good things!

Closing the door

This is the hardest part of crate training your adult dog. As the dog starts spending some time in the crate, it becomes comfortable.

When you see an opportunity, close the door very briefly. The best time is when your dog is engrossed in playing with its toys or sleeping inside the crate.

Close the door for less than 3 minutes. Also, make sure you are somewhere near to the crate and very much in sight. If your pooch seems scared at all, it is alright to open the door and try it some other time.

If it works, slowly increase the time spent inside the crate,  with you eventually leaving the room for a minute and appearing back. At the same time, you can also toss a treat inside the crate through the bars to let them know it was a reward for staying in.

Patience is most important in this kind of training experience to make sure your dog finds the crate friendly rather than fearful. It is important that you make them feel comfortable and secure in the crate so that they happily accept it.

Make sure the initial periods of staying in the crate do not exceed 2-3 hours; increase the time limit according to your dog’s own pace.


I hope you found the information in this article useful. It is important that you also get the right dog crate for your older dog. There are so many different shapes and sizes available in the market. Make sure you do your research and go for the best dog crate.

Suggested Reading

1) Dog Playpen vs Crate – this article will give you an idea on how you can use a crate and a playpen and what is the difference between the two.