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Crate Games for Motivation and Control DVD


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What is it about?

Step-by-step training that is as easy as it is effective. Crate Games features not only mature dogs but also puppies as young as 9 weeks old learning how to have focus and motivation for work, how to relax in a crate even while another dog is working, how to have self control rather than imposed control for a phenomenal sit stay, a speedy and dependable recall, distance skills for obedience or agility, how to develop an amazing working relationship, confidence while being proofed during any tough distraction, how to offer responses keenly when being shaped, and much more.

See why “Crate Games” is the cornerstone of Susan Garrett’s unbelievably successful dog training program and why it is now being implemented in dog training schools all over the world!

More about Susan

Susan Garrett’s interest in animal behavior started at the University of Guelph where she earned a BSc in Animal Science. Since then she has developed into a pre-eminent canine sports instructor and competitor. Each dog Susan has competed with in agility has made at least one appearance in the finals of a national event. In total, her dogs have over 50 top ten placements at national agility championships including 13 first-place finishes. Susan and her dog, DeCaff, won the Gold Medal in both the Individual All Round Championship and the Biatholon Event at the 2006 IFCS World Championships.

When was it recorded? 2007

Who Produced it? Susan Garrett

Running time- 85 minutes


~~Crate Games is a way to change your dog’s training forever.  Susan Garrett, leading educator of dog trainers as well as twice world champion in agility, describes it as a pivotal part of her success. Whether you want a train a pet dog, a world champion or somewhere in-between, Crate Games can help you to achieve this. It will teach your dog amazing self-control as well as a passion to work with you.  By teaching Crate Games your dog will learn to master sit stays, distance work, a reliable recall, distraction training as well as build motivation and drive. These are all incredibly important skills which are transferrable to many of the dog sports such as agility, as well as forming the basis of creating a happy and immaculately behaved family companion. Best of all, you and your dog will also find them incredibly fun!!

Garrett begins by listing some of the universal benefits of Crate Games. These are;

  • Getting the dog to love his crate which will help him in becoming a more welcome house guest.
  • Helps to build a great relationship with your dog.
  • Builds motivation
  • Enables you to grab the dog’s collar without him objecting.
  • Can help you to safely get your dogs out of the car or out of the house
  • Can reduce anxiety of time-outs
  • Can decrease barking/wining in the crate.
  • Helps to train verbal release cue
  • Useful in restraint recall practice

Crate Games can also be very beneficial to those competing in performance sports such as agility. It can help with:

  • Control
  • Distraction training
  • Distance control
  • Motivational value
  • Contact training
  • Start positions
  • High drive dogs and impulse control
  • Out of sight sit/down stays.
  • Maintaining criteria

Garrett shows us what equipment you need for Crate Games. Obviously you will require a crate as well as some extremely desirable treats. Garrett explains why, to begin with, you will need either a wire or hard sided crate, with little or no bedding in it. She tells us the reasons why a soft-sided crate is not suitable, as well as some small modifications we can make, if using a wire crate, to ensure that it is safe.

Garret then moves on to explain the importance of criteria. She demonstrates with her own dogs how her criteria differed when training them, which is reflected in the position in which they stay in the crate.

Garrett talks us through some important mechanical skills to bear in mind before introducing us to the two rules of play in Crate Games.

These are:

  • At no time can the dog’s body break the plane of the door of the crate. If he breaks the plane, then you end the game.
  • When you touch the door, the dog must move into a sit position. This lets the dog know that he must be ready to work. Garrett tells us the reasons as to why we use the sit to start, explaining that the dog must learn to hold the sit until he hears the release cue.

She then talks us through some more mechanical skills before moving on to explaining how to teach Stage One of Crate Games – I love my crate. Most dogs have a conditioned response to the crate door opening, this being to rush out. Garrett explains that the aim is to counter condition this response so the dog learns to sit when the crate door is opened.  This is achieved through changing the reinforcement from the outside of the crate to the inside. Garrett shows us how we can do this by opening the crate door, feeding the dog a high value reward and then shutting the door again. The dog will soon learn that when he hears the crate latch opening, good things are coming.

Stage Two is called Are you a Gambler? In this stage Garret explains that you can begin to start testing the dog by opening the door and slowly building up the duration before feeding the reward. You can also build in other distractions, such as picking up the dog’s lead and moving on to clipping it on to his collar, counter conditioning the dog’s association with the lead.

Garrett describes Stage 3 as her favourite stage in training Crate Games. This stage is called ‘Yer out, Yer in’. Garrett shows us how to start releasing the dog from the crate and then allowing the dog to make his own decision to go back in. By rewarding the dog once he goes back into the crate, the crate begins to become of extremely high value for the dog.

Garrett then moves on to demonstrate the collar grab game, which involves making use of the dogs opposition reflex to fire him into the crate. This game will teach the dog to learn to love having his collar grabbed, particularly useful with shy or nervous dogs, or in an emergency.

Stage 4 is called scholarly elements, and Garrett says that the key aim in this stage is to build enthusiasm. Step 1 is naming the game. Garrett explains that by this point the dog should confidently be firing into the crate. It is only when the dog is at this stage that we give this behaviour a verbal cue, as by naming it from the beginning we may risk building behaviours we don’t want into the exercise. Step 2 is changed my mind. Here, we release the dog, play a game with him, send him back into the crate and then release him again immediately, helping to build motivation and enthusiasm. In Step 3 we begin to add distance from the crate, building up to a point where the dog will fire in and out of the crate even when we are standing metres back. This a great for helping with distance work.

Step 4 of scholarly elements is motivated recalls, which we can practise starting the dog off from the crate. We can also transfer this skill to help build motivation and speed over agility obstacles.


Stage 5 Garret calls Distraction BIG league. In this stage of training we can leave the dog in the crate with the door open and build up distractions, such as throwing treats and toys in front of him, teaching him to ignore these and only come out of his crate when given the release cue.

Garrett then moves onto the final stages of crate games, advanced games.

Part one of advanced games is working multiple dogs. Garrett shows us how to slowly build the distraction level so you can leave one dog sitting quietly in the crate while you work another – perfect for multiple dog owners.

Part 2 is transferring the value. We can transfer the excitement of crate games to other obstacles in agility which we would like our dog to do faster and with more enthusiasm.

Part 3 of advanced crate games can be used to teach important skills in all areas of life. Garrett shows us how to teach our dogs to wait inside an exercise pen, in the car or by the front door until released.  She also shows us how we can replace the crate with other items such as a mat, to use the lessons learnt from Crate Games in everyday scenarios. For example, all of her dogs have a certain spot they must stay in in the kitchen while she is cooking.

Finally, part 4 looks at teaching crate manners. Garrett shows us how we can use crate games to get rid of unwanted behaviours in the crate such as barking, whining, aggression towards other people or dogs and resource guarding.

There is also an extensive troubleshooting section, where Garrett gives some tips and advice on common problems encountered, such as  building more speed and drive. She also shows us how to deal with a dog who is afraid of the crate.

Garret provides us with a simple and clear step-by-step guide to teaching these amazingly beneficial games, described as “a big hit with dog trainers and pet owners in countries all over the world.”


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