First of all if you dog has separation anxiety then crate training may not be the answer. Please contact Four Legged Scholars for more information on this 🙂
Here are some great ways to acclimate your dog to his crate.
First place your dog’s meals in his crate so he has to go into it to eat. If he still won’t go in and eat then place the bowl close to the door entrance and move it back a few inches every couple of days.
Also behavior catching works well. Leave your crate door open and C/T (click and treat) every time he walks into his crate on his own. It is best if you are able to give him the treat while he is still in the crate. If you miss the opportunity to feed him while he is in the crate make sure your timing with the click is accurate and occurs when your dog is inside the crate and not when he is outside of the crate.
Once your dog readily goes into the crate, give him a food oriented toy (kong with almond butter or peanut butter, bully stick, cow hoof with peanut butter or almond butter, raw beef soup bone) to chew on. Give it to your dog when he walks into the crate voluntarily. Then shut the door for about a minute. Open the door and take away the toy. Next time have your dog be in the crate for 2 minutes. Then 3 minutes, etc. Repeat this process. If your dog is calm and loving the toy you may be able to jump in 2-5 minute intervals instead of 1 minute ones.
It is a good idea to make the crate comfortable and have a blanket in the crate with your dog and to always have a food oriented toy with your dog inside the crate. Feeding your dog meals in the crate can occur for many months to forever. This creates a positive association with the crate.
-Best Training Wishes!
Johanna Teresi, Professional Owner and Trainer for Four Legged Scholars LLC