Do you wish to crate train an older dog? Many people may have told you that once out of the puppy stage, that this is impossible, but it is TOTALLY possible to crate train older dogs.
The first tool you need besides a crate, is PATIENCE. If you have a nervous dog, then it may take a lot of patience, but if you do this right, your dog will end up thinking of the crate as his "cave" just for him. Many dogs will go to their crate voluntarily if they feel stressed or scared. It is also a good "time out place" if your dog needs to be separated from guests for example.
So, no matter how well behaved your dog is, crate training an older dog, is well worth the effort. There may always be times in your life that your dog needs to be in his own space. So, it doesn't hurt to start this crate training now, while you are not in a rush to get him in one, no matter his age. While you are relaxed and can take the time to do this right. If you push past any steps before he is ready, or punish him to go into the crate, then he will never go in, so just stay on each step as long as needed.
Purchase the crate. Make sure it is big enough for him to turn around in, but not too big, or he will not feel like it is his den. So, either take your dog with you, or measure him and allow for turn around room, you don't want him panicking. You need to spend time on this one. Find a good pet supply place.
Put the crate in the house where he can see it, right in the main room, and leave it there with the door open. He may go in it out of curiosity. But DON'T close him in at this point or he will panic. Just let him explore this new addition to the room, for a few days. This way he gets the message that it is staying and not leaving. When crate training older dog, he needs to get comfortable with this new addition.
Feed him in the crate, but leave the door open. Let him come and go as he pleases, do this for a day or so, or how ever long it takes for your dog to feel comfortable in the crate. Crate training older dog, takes some time. He has routines that you are starting to mess with, he has to get used to these new ideas.
Continue to feed him in the crate. But slowly close the door while he is eating, but don't leave the room. When he is done, open the door. He is slowly getting the message that he is not going to be locked in there forever! When crate training older dogs, you need to give them lots of love and assurance that you are not mad at them, and that this is not punishment, but his new den. Give him lots of petting and gentle talk.
If you can manage to shut the door and not have him panic to get out while he is eating. Then leave the room for about 15 minutes at a time, and see the reaction.
You can put a few of his favorite toys in there and his blanket and close the door. At this point, you can also leave the room for longer periods of time, and then come back and let him out of the crate, and take him outside to do his business.
You are almost there, continue with time in the crate, even if you are not going anywhere, but leave the room to give him the impression you are. After an hour come back in and let him out, and leave the door open.
At this point, if you have followed the above 8 steps, your older dog should be happy going into the crate. You can call it his "home" or his "den", but do not use it as punishment, but you can use it as a "time out". If you dog is acting up, you can ask him to go into his crate.
After you craft train an older dog, then you can slowly move it to another room if you wish, where it will be quiet for him. Try and not leave him in there for too many hours, as he will need to do business, and he needs to know that you are coming back.
Many older dogs, will think of their crate as a refuge, they may go there in a storm for example.
If at first your dog thinks he can just do his business in the crate while he is in there, don't clean it up right away, he will quickly learn that this is not the place to go. By following the earlier steps of feeding him in there, he is not as likely to do business in there, as dogs will not do business where they eat.
To crate train an older dog, or an adult dog, you need to allow time and patience. The old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" only means it won't happen this minute! You can, you just have to break it down into baby steps, and don't do this under pressure. If you need your older dog crate trained by next the weekend, it may not happen.
A lot depends on your dogs personality and demeanor. If he is not excitable and just loves to please you, you will have an easier time of it, but if he is excitable and not good with change, then take your time. Don't push any of the above steps too hard.
You know your dog, after all he is older, and he is set in his ways. But for whatever reason you feel he should be crate trained, then this is the way to do it.
By crate training older dogs, and adult dogs, it makes things easier for example, if he ever need to stay at the Veterinarian's, or a kennel, or if you are having trouble with him chewing up the house. This will give him his own den, and once an older dog is crate trained, then it will give you peace of mind too.
Some people prefer to use a spare bathroom, or laundry room, but the dog can move around too much and can't see out, he will just chew up that room instead. In his cave he needs to see out, and feel comfortable. So go for those wire ones, they seem the easiest to train with, rather than an enclosed one. Plus they can come apart for travel. When traveling with a crate trained older dog, make sure to bring his own food bowl and his favorite toys.