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Training my new dog to stay in his crate and stay alone

My new dog Angel has had to learn the hard way. He has gone from having very little experience of socialisation to a full -blown experience of being around strangers and other dogs. He has not really had the ‘alone’ time to explore or experience his new home and family.


Having to move in with a new family and experiencing different dogs coming and going (never knowing if he will see them again) must be difficult for Angel.


Angel is a male Shih Tzu crossbreed. I picked the name I wanted a year ago. My intention was to adopt a female, but as time passed, I just went with what was available.


Angel has a lot of training to get through and what is important right now is for him to learn to stay on his own. His previous owners told me that he couldn’t be left alone.

I am a bit stubborn, so I am ignoring that and every week, Angel gets to learn to be on his own.


He had not used a crate before so his first week he slept partially on my bed until he decided to start peeing on it (to mark it I’m guessing). So, he was banned from sleeping there or any bed in our house.


He got to sleep on a dog mat in my bedroom for the remainder of the week. Then I moved him into his crate. It turns out we are both stubborn and he refused to go inside the crate no matter what treats or toys I gave him. This is my excuse: I have four kids and one of them is 18 months old. Sitting for hours next to the crate to convince my dog to get inside wasn’t working. My toddler son missed out on his snack and lunchtime and dinner had to be a take- away after that first difficult training day. I must be honest. I put my dog in the crate with his toys, water and treats, and left.  He cried and barked while I attended to some chores but when I went back, he was calm and relaxed and was eating his treats.


 I sat on my bed reading to my son and not a peep came out of Angel, so I let him out.

But that evening he refused to go in voluntarily so there had to be a bit of pushing, but he didn’t bark and waited until morning to go to the toilet.


The second night he complained by barking and growling and it was ignored. The same thing on the third and fourth nights. By the end of the week, he wasn’t making a sound unless there was someone outside the house or if one of the dogs we care for was barking then he would bark back.


And on his third week with us, I moved his crate to the hallway; his permanent spot. The first night without Angel’s crate next to my bed was a great surprise. He made a tiny sound, and I made a shushing sound back which he seemed to hear and that was it.


Although, he didn’t make a sound, I stayed awake to make sure everything was okay, and he didn’t wake my toddler and other children if he barked. Thankfully he didn’t. He still doesn’t like going in voluntarily but once inside he is happy.


I now need find a treat that will encourage him to go inside the crate without my having physically to put him in there. Having said that, this afternoon I saw from the corner of my eye that he went inside the crate without anyone asking him. He had a nap for one hour before he came to my bedroom to check what I was doing


I think if my toddler was older, and I didn’t have other dogs in my house, my training with Angel would have been different at a slower pace.


I am rushing a bit because he needs to be a prime example of good behaviour to the   guest dogs in our house and when we go out.


Next, I will get Angel to stay home alone for a couple of hours while I take my toddler to play group. (I’mdreading it.) I will let you know how we get on. Please leave your comments below.

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