Crate Training Your Dog Using The Treat & Train (AKA Manners Minder)
Crate training using the Treat & Train machine is much more effective and quick that the traditional methods since you can easily reward your dog for remaining calm while you are out of sight - the essence of crate training. This protocol could take as little as a weekend or as long as a few weeks. Take your time and keep your dog happy!
Crate Training Tips:
- Avoid leaving your dog in the crate for longer than she is comfortable with. While you are working on teaching her to be comfortable in her crate, you may want to take her with you, leave her in a gated area, pen, or with a pet sitter.
- Make sure your dog has exercised and pottied before having her stay in her crate for a few hours.
- Reward her whenever you see her go in to her crate on her own.
- If your dog is reactive to noises outside your home, put a fan or radio on to cover the noise so that she can relax.
- Avoid forcing your dog into her crate as this can make her more upset about being in there and less likely to relax.
- A voice activated recorder or video camera can help you to know for sure whether she is staying calm while you are gone.
- As a general rule, avoid leaving your dog in the crate for more than 4 hours at a time or 8 hours per day maximum (not including overnight).
Preparing to Crate Train Your Dog:
- For the duration of the crate training process, make an effort to feed her meals only through the Treat & Train and while she is in her crate.
- Make sure you have the correct kibble dispensing wheel for your kibble size.
- Put your dog's kibble meal in the Train & Train.
- Set up the Treat & Train so that the treats fall into your dogs crate. If you have a wire crate, you can simply remove the dish and place the Treat & Train on top of the crate. If you have a plastic crate you take off the orange dish and make a funnel out of a paper towel tube, place the Treat & Train on a chair or box next to the crate and have it funnel the treats in through an opening.
- Do your best to avoid having treats run out during a lesson.
Lesson 1: "Treats rain in my crate!"
- Make sure the Treat & Train is set the Treat & Trainto "on", "cue dispense" and tone "off".
- Say "kennel" or something similar. This will let be your cue to your dog that good things will be appearing in her crate and she should hop into it.
- Press "dispense" on your remote and then help your dog to find the treat if needed. Keep dispensing food into the crate every few seconds until your dog is staying in the crate waiting for the next treat to fall.
What to do if your dog won't go in the crate to get the treats: Place the Treat & Train a few feet from your dog's crate and press "dispense". Once your dog is comfortable eating out of the Treat & Train at that location, place it in front of the door of your dog's crate. Once your dog is comfortable at that location, move the Treat & Train to the back of your crate. Once your dog is comfortable going part way into the crate to eat the treats out of the Treat & Train, place the Treat & Train on the outside of the crate so that treats fall into the crate and continue with this protocol where you left off.
- Set your Treat & Train to "3 sec", "variable" and then press "down stay" on your remote. Treats should dispense automatically on every 3 seconds on average. Leave the crate door open and stay in the room with her.
- Once your dog is consistently choosing to stay in the crate and wait for her treats, close the crate door.
- Repeat until your dog spends most of this training time relaxing in the closed crate waiting for treats and does not whine, bark or try to escape.
Lesson 2: "Being alone in my crate is okay because I get lots of treats!"
- Say "kennel" and then dispense a treat. Close the crate door and then dispense another treat.
- Walk out of her sight. Press "dispense" when you are outside of her sight and then return immediately. Do not dispense treats while you are within sight of her. Repeat until she is completely calm when you go out of sight.
- Walk out of her sight. Wait about 3 seconds. If your dog stays calm, press "dispense" and then return to the room. Do not dispense treats while you are within sight of her. If she starts to fuss, wait until she calms herself until you return. Repeat this until your dog stays completely calm while you practice this step. Open the crate door and take a break.
- Set the Treat & Train to "3 sec" and "variable". Say "kennel" and dispense a treat when your dog goes in her crate. Close the crate door and then dispense another treat.
- Leave her sight and press "dispense" then press "down stay". Remain out of her sight. If she starts to fuss, turn off the treats by pressing "down stay" and ignore her until she is calm. Once she has calmed, press "dispense" and then "down stay" to get the treats flowing. Repeat this until your dog stays completely calm while you are out of the room for at least 15 minutes.
- Set your Treat & Train to "5 sec", "variable" and proceed as above.
- Continue to increase the Treat & Train time increment by one level each time she was able to remain calm while you are out of sight for at least 15 minutes until you get up to "45".
Lesson 3: "It's no big deal when my owner leaves our house without me"
- Set your Treat & Train to "30" seconds and "variable". Do your best to have the Treat & Train on and full well before your lesson so that your dog doesn't depend on seeing you do that in order to be calm in the crate.
- Say "kennel" and hand feed her a treat when your dog goes in. Close the crate door and give her a chew that she likes, that you know is safe for her and will take her awhile to consume (like a Kong with a smear of peanut butter or a bully stick). This will be what you leave her with in the future, when you no longer need the Treat & Train so we will begin doing it now. Leave the room, and then press "dispense".
- Leave the house as you normally would by getting your keys, bag, etc and go out of the house door. Then press "dispense" and then "down stay".
- If you hear her start to fuss, turn off the treats by pressing "down stay". Once she has calmed, press "dispense" and then "down stay" to get the treats flowing. Repeat this until your dog stays completely calm while you are outside for at least 15 minutes. Always retrieve your yummy chew toy when you return.
- Continue to increase the Treat & Train time increment by one level each time she was able to remain calm while you are out of the house for at least 15 minutes until you get up to "300".
- Set the machine to "300" and "variable". Make sure you have enough treats in the Treat & Train to last the duration and leave your house for 30 minutes. Progress to leaving for 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours and finally 4 hours. If you return and your dog is fussing remember not to go to her until she has calmed down and then plan to leave her next time for a shorter time period or speed up the treats a bit.
Lesson 4: "Letting go of the Magic Machine"
- Leave the Treat & Train machine where it is but don't turn it on.
- Say "kennel" and give her a treat when your she goes in her crate. Close the crate door and give her a chew.
- Leave the house for 5 minutes. If she starts to fuss, ignore her and wait until she is calm for at least 10 seconds before re-entering your home. If she is having trouble with 5 minutes, reduce the time to 2 minutes and then gradually increase from there. If she is fine with 5 minutes, try 10 minutes and then 15 min, 30 minutes and 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours and 4 hours.
- Remove the Treat & Train machine - congratulations you have a crate trained dog! Continue to give her a yummy chew each time you leave her for more than a couple of minutes to make sure she is always happy to go into her crate.