It is important to train your dog to love going in their crate or kennel. The crate should be their safe place. It should be a place where they like to lounge around and hang out. I highly recommend not using the crate as a form of punishment. This will confuse your dog if you want their crate to be a safe place. For some breeds, it might be easier to train. However, Baylor took six months to adapt to his crate. The reason it took so long was because I bought him from a pet store. He was traumatized from being cooped up in a small cage for several months.
We tried several methods to crate train Baylor. The first method was putting his food and water in his crate. Later, I found out that was a bad idea. When I came home, Baylor had spilled his water and food everywhere. Also, something could happen while you are gone and they could end up choking on their food.
The next method I used was putting treats in his crate so he would like going in there. That positive reinforcement did not last long. I think the treats only reinforced his whining behavior because he still cried whenever I left.
After that method failed, I started filling up his kong ball with peanut butter and putting it in his crate right before I left for work. I think the reason he wouldn’t whine when I put the kong in his crate was because by the time he got done eating the peanut butter, he forgot that I was not there anymore. The most important factor in crate training is being consistent in the way you are training your dog. After a month of putting peanut butter in Baylor’s kong ball, the minute Baylor saw the kong in my hand, he would immediately go in his crate.
The best thing you can do is ignore the whining. If you give into your dog’s whining, you are only reinforcing their behavior to whine. Also, I always take Baylor’s collar off before I put him in his crate. The collar could get stuck to the crate and they could choke. Just take all precautions so you don’t have to worry about anything while you are gone!