Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate
Put the crate in an area of your house where you spend a lot of time, such as the family room or kitchen. Put a soft sleeping blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to her in an excited, happy tone of voice. Make sure the door to the crate is securely fastened open so it won’t accidentally hit your dog and frighten him.
Drop some treats around the crate, just inside the door, and then gradually all the way inside to encourage your dog to enter. If she doesn’t go all the way in at first to get the food, that’s fine. Don't force her to enter.
Repeat this experience until your dog will calmly walk into the crate to get a treat. If your dog isn’t interested in food, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate instead. This process may take just a few minutes, or as long as several days.
Step 2: Feed your dog in the crate
After your dog has been introduced to the crate, you can start feeding her regular meals near the crate for a while. This will create pleasant associations with the crate and decrease any fear she has of the crate. Each time you feed her, place the dish a little more toward the back of the crate. Once your dog is comfortably eating her food while standing in the crate, you can close the door while she’s eating.
At first, open the door as soon as she finishes her meal, let her out, and praise her. Slowly increase the amount of time she spends in the crate after finishing her meal up to 10 minutes. If she begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the duration of crating too quickly. Next time, try leaving her for a shorter time. Be sure to release her from the crate when she is not whining or barking. If vocalizing results in being let out of the crate, she’s more likely to do it again (and for longer and louder) next time!
Step 3: Extend time in the crate
After your dog is eating her regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can begin to confine her there for short periods while you are home. Give her a command to enter such as “kennel up.” You can encourage her to do so by pointing to the inside of the crate with a tidbit of a favorite food in your hand.
After your dog enters the crate, reward her with a treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for 5-10 minutes and then go out of sight into another room for a few minutes. When you return, sit quietly again for a short time, and then release your dog. Repeat this procedure several times a day. With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time the dog is crated, and the length of time you are out of sight. Once your dog will quietly remain in the crate for about 30 minutes, you can begin leaving her crated when you are gone for short periods, and/or letting her sleep there at night but remember to still let her outside periodically to create good housetraining habits until she is able to “hold it” for extended periods of time.