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We brought home our rescue pup last week. 11 month old lab/husky mix. The shelter said that she was crate trained, but when we tried putting her in she obviously wasn't happy about it. She'd go in (very obedient and eager to please right from day 1) but would be sulky.

I decided that I'd dial it back a bit and try to get her to see the crate in a more positive way. We've set up a pet gate at one end of the hallway that leads to our bedroom. We've had great success in getting her to sleep in her crate in this area, with it unlocked. The last 2 nights she's gone in there without being told and has only come out when we turn the lights on in the morning.

This seems to be working well but I'm wondering if it's defeating the purpose of the crate? Her 'pen' area (the hallway) is where I'm planning on leaving her once we get back on a normal work schedule. I don't plan on crating her all day and all night as I'm just not comfortable with it.

We haven't had the crate in the car (it's big!) and probably won't use it for traveling unless we're on road trips. But I do want her to be OK with it in the case where we are staying at the family cabin or visiting elsewhere. Should we be shutting the crate at night? Or is it OK to continue as is, basically never closing the door on her?
 

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I wouldn't close it for the night, but I would close it, feed a treat and open it again several times in a row ... then the next time when I've done that once or twice I'd close it, feed a treat, wait for a minute before I open it again ... and proceed accordingly until I can leave the room and she still is as excited when I suggest she go in the crate. LOL

I don't have my girl crated much anymore either, but I definitely agree that it's very important that you can crate them whenever you need and they feel comfortable about it.
 

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I agree with hast, do some crate conditioning. Get her to be able to tolerate the crate, so when and if you need to, you CAN shut the door. Start with small increments of time. Do a bit of crating, with the treat, just for a minute or two at a time, as often as you can throughout the day. Gradually build up the time. And, if and when she can tolerate it, keep it up, don't ease up, thinking, "oh, she's good now", because she can very easily become not so good with the crate if she doesn't continue to have exposure.

You can also feed her in the crate to help her like it more, and try googling "crate games".
 

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Oh, I like the idea of crate games! Here's an article with more crate training tips including associating the crate with positive things such as food and treats (and never as a punishment). Hope it helps!

I'm lucky in that my dog loves his crate--ever since he was a puppy he loved sheltered, cave-like areas. When I first met him, he preferred to sit between my legs as I was crouching down to meet him. It's amazing what traits they keep from puppyhood. If he isn't in his crate (or lurking around the kitchen), he's usually under the bed or futon.

I think you're off to a good start, though. Best of luck!
 
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