Latest News

Due to popular demand we are again running our dental health focus for the months of August and September.
Dental disease is usually silent to begin with. Initially there are no outward signs and symptoms. Yet once it advances, gum disease can devastate your pet’s mouth, causing chronic pain, eroded gums, missing teeth and bone loss.  By the time we notice signs such as difficulty eating, a smelly mouth or excessive salivation, the dental disease can often be very bad and significant treatment is needed.
Gum disease occurs five times more often in pets than in people. Our pets have a more alkaline mouth than humans, which promotes plaque formation. Also, most pets don’t normally have their teeth brushed every day, giving plaque-forming bacteria the chance they need to multiply.  Smaller breeds are more susceptible due to having smaller mouths with big and sometimes crooked teeth.

  • Brushing teeth is the ultimate goal to prevent dental problems, but many pets don’t tolerate this unless started as a puppy or kitten.
  • Diet plays a big part in the onset of dental problems, with soft food increasing the likelihood of disease as it sticks to teeth.  There are special dental diets that are abrasive on the teeth to mechanically scratch the teeth and prevent plaque hardening to form tartar.
  • There are additives for water that can help prevent plaque hardening to tartar.
  • Some chew toys and treats can offer help, but often don’t suffice in severe cases.
  • Often a veterinary dental scale and polish is recommended and is the best way to treat problems and give your pet a comfortable mouth again.
Could your dog/cat be suffering from Dental Disease?
  • Does your pets’ breath smell?
  • Is your pet drooling?
  • Does your pet struggle with hard foods?
  • Is your pet head shy?
  • Have you noticed blood on toys/food?
  • Have you noticed the teeth browning?

If you answered YES to any of these questions your pet may be suffering from Dental Disease.

Call the clinic today to book a FREE dental check so we can flip their lip and deal with dental disease (promo ends 31.9.19).

Does your dog have what it takes to be best in show?

Here’s your chance to find out and be in to win one of three cash prizes of $1,000!

It’s simple to enter

Go to (for the best experience, use Chrome or a browser outside of the ANZ network) and upload a photo of your dog. Once your photo is approved, you’re in to win.

There are three categories to enter:

  • Cutest canine
  • Hilarious hounds
  • Soundest sleeper

Check out the social media launch video on Max for inspiration.

Each week will feature a highlights reel on social media of some of the best pics received in the online gallery, and the top dog (or more likely, its owner) in each category will win $1,000.

For more information and all terms and conditions, please visit

Kids Corner Visits MVS

On the 17th June, MVS had fun showing children from the Kids Corner around our small animal clinic and giving them a taste of some of the things our vets do each day. The tour started as many vet visits start- on the scales! Then, guided by vet Sarah and nurse Esther, a trip to the treatment room and surgery to see where sick animals are treated, the x-ray room and the hospital- saying hello to some kittens on the way. Everyone had the chance to dress up in gloves and masks like our vets do for surgery, and to listen to the heartbeat of our lovely gentle doggy ‘patient’ Bailey (a Golden Retriever owned by nurse Kristie). We had a look at some different models of bones and teeth, as well as a giant flea! The trip ended with some fun- giant glove balloons (these gloves are used by our farm vets, but we had fun giving giant high-fives). Thank you to the children of Kids Corner for visiting us and showing your interest in what we do at the vets.


With winter comes an increased number of mice and rats trying to find warmth inside, and therefore an increased use of poisons to try to control these pesky creatures. Unfortunately dogs also seem to like to help themselves to these poisons leading to serious consequences and sometimes even death. Common brands include Talon, Storm, Pindone, Racumin, and Pest Off but there are many other generic brands.
Dogs poisoned with rat bait don’t tend to show signs till 3-5 days after ingesting the poison. Clinical signs can be very variable, usually starting off with a lethargic, depressed, quiet dog who may or may not eat food. Some times a soft cough can be heard, and gums begin to go pale. As more internal bleeding occurs more severe signs occur, the most common being an increased breathing rate leading to visibly difficult breathing.
If you suspect your dog has eaten rat bait, present him/her to a veterinary clinic as fast as possible to ensure the best outcome possible.

Queens Birthday Weekend Opening Hours

The clinic will be open the following:

Small Animals  Saturday 1st June 10am—12pm.

Dairy Retail will be closed.

Monday 3rd June the clinic will be closed.

There will be a vet on call for Emergencies on 888 8197

Have a safe and happy long weekend!


We appreciate that with the onset of winter our older furry friends are going to start feeling the cold and slow down a bit.  However don’t mistake it as ‘just old age’ in our older pets.

There are many reasons for your pet to have changes to their behavior including changes to appetite and mobility.

Early detection of changes in pets’ health enables treatment and lifestyle modifications to begin earlier and immediately ensure quality of life.

For the months of May and June we would like to support you in helping your older pets (over 8 years) by offering the Winter Wellness WOF screen at a 40% discount.

This health screen includes a full physical exam and screening bloods tests.

We will cover dental health, weight management, coat and skin health including lumps and bumps, mobility and osteoarthritis, and assess any possible changes to organ health.

Book your Winter Wellness WOF check now.

Be sure to mention you are booking in for the senior winter wellness promo to get your discount (T & C’s apply).


Taking the guesswork out for everyone!!
Traffic Light Bandanas are used to make everyone aware of what kind of temperament a dog has. By having your dog wear one of the bandanas while out on walks, you will indicate to people whether it is safe for them (or their dogs/children) to be in close proximity of your dog.

Bailey is seen here modelling the 4 types of bandanas:
Orange: Caution.
Green: Friendly.
Yellow: I’m deaf or blind, ask before petting.
Red: No dogs.

At only $8 each.  Its a bargain! Come on into the clinic to purchase one.

Don’t forget it’s Waitangi Day on Wednesday

The clinic will be closed on Wednesday 6th February to observe Waitangi Day.

A duty veterinarian will be available for emergencies on 07 888 8197.

The clinic will reopen 8.00am Thursday 7th February.

Holiday Season Opening Hours

The Holiday Season is upon us, below is a list of our opening days over this period :

  • Monday 24 December: Normal Hours
  • Christmas and Boxing Day: CLOSED
  • Thurs 27 December: Normal Hours
  • Friday 28 December: Normal Hours
  • Sat 29 December: Small Animals 10-12pm and Large Animal Retail 10-11am
  • Monday 31 December: Normal Hours
  • New Years Day and New Year Holiday: CLOSED
  • Thurs 3 January: Normal Hours
  • Friday 4 January: Normal Hours

A duty Veterinarian will be available throughout this holiday period on 07 888 8197

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Welcome Marisa

Marisa Olivier joined the MVS Team this week as our new Finance Administrator.

Marisa graduated from Stellenbosch University, South Africa in 2002 and then worked in diverse finance roles with multiple companies in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Marisa and her husband, PJ, and their three boys have recently moved from South Africa to New Zealand.

As our Finance Administrator Marisa will be responsible for Accounts Payable, bank reconciliations and general administrative tasks.

Outside of work she enjoys running, spending time with friends and family, baking and making crochet rugs.

We welcome Marisa to the team

New addition to our Retail Team. MVS Welcomes Gavin Ford

We are please to announce that Gavin Ford has now joined the MVS Team as our Stock & Procurement Manager.


Gavin graduated from Lincoln University in 1996 and soon after, began work for PGG Wrightson in the retail sector. He also spent time working as a general shepherd in the Taranaki hill country. An interest in Animal Health has led him to taking up a role with MVS to further increase his knowledge in this area.


Gavin works with Abby in the retail team to ensure stock levels are kept up to a standard to meet the seasonal requirements of our clients and vets.


Outside of work Gavin enjoys most sports including rugby, tennis and golf. He took up triathlons after his rugby days finished, with his most memorable experience coming while participating in the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco. He also enjoys woodworking.


Welcome to the team Gavin.

MVS Farewells Neil Brown

After 13 years at MVS Neil Brown, aka Brownie, has decided that now is the right time to retire.

Neil started at MVS in August 2005 after many years of being the local Cobbler, and it didn’t take him long to find his feet at Matamata Vets. He quickly became an integral part of the Retail Team and a valued and respected member of the MVS Family.

Neil has achieved many feats during his time with us, including but not limited to:

  • Getting his forklift license with DG endorsement
  • Being promoted to Retail Manager
  • Having his 3 children all get married
  • Having his 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grandchild

Neil is now awaiting the pending arrival of grandchildren #5 & #6, with his daughter due to have her twins in February 2019.

On behalf of the entire MVS Team, we thank Neil for all his years of outstanding customer service. His dry wit, daily routine of a 3pm cuppa and stories at morning tea will certainly be missed. We wish him all the very best for a long and happy retirement.

Farewell Helen

Helen Snook started at MVS in 2011 as our receptionist and senior administrator and for many years was the first friendly voice you would hear when you phoned the clinic.

A couple of years ago she transitioned across to the Financial Administration role and has been a huge asset to the company with her attention to detail and vibrant personality.

We have loved following Helen in her theatrical performances, especially in her most recent role as the lead in Dusty Springfield.

Helen has been a key member of the MVS Family for over 7 years and we wish her all the very best in her relocation to Taranaki.

Protect Your Pets Smile

Over the next two months MVS will be focusing on dental awareness for your pets.


Up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from dental disease by the time they’re 3 years old. If left untreated dental disease can affect their general health and wellbeing.


During the months of August and September we will be running FREE dental checks and every dental booked will receive a FREE dental kit goodie bag to help your pets maintain their toothy grin.


Please call the clinic on 07 888 8197 to book in your pets FREE dental check!



Are The Winter Blues Getting Your Pets Down?

Just like us, our pets experience a few winter aches and pains and love to be cozied up in a warm environment when it’s cold out.

This cold weather can be hard on our pets and especially difficult for older or overweight animals that may be struggling with joint pain and arthritis.

If you are noticing your pet sleeping more, struggling to get out of bed or looking a little stiff during the day then it may be time for them to get a check.

Things you can do to support your pet this winter:

  • Give them a warm jacket to wear
  • Provide more blankets or beds with more padding
  • Joint supplements such as ‘Sasha’s Blend’ & ‘Mobilize’
  • Ensure covered shelter out of the rain and wind
  • Warm up their food with hot water or in the microwave
  • Sneak hot water bottles into their beds
  • Manage weight to assist with joint pain

Queen’s Birthday Weekend Trading Hours

A duty veterinarian will be available for emergencies on 07 888 8197.


  • Large Animal Counter Closed
  • Small Animal Clinic Open from 10.00am-Noon

SUNDAY 3 JUNE – Closed

MONDAY 4 JUNE – Closed

The clinic will be open for business as usual on Tuesday 5 June

We’d also like to wish farmers all the very best on Gypsy Day. We hope the transition between farms for you, your family and your stock goes smoothly.



WARNING: New Rabbit Calicivirus Strain

Yesterday the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced that a new strain of Rabbit Calicivirus (RHDV2) has been detected in a wild rabbit in Marlborough. It is not certain that this viral strain is confined to Marlborough..

Please note this isn’t the strain RHDV1-K5 that was purposefully released nationwide in March this year.

This strain of Calicivirus is known to cause disease in very young rabbits from 4 weeks of age and can cause a longer severe illness than seen with other strains.  This strain is highly infectious.


Measures to reduce spread from infected wild rabbits should include:

  • Controlling insects (especially flies and fleas) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors. Flies are the main vector through which the virus is spread.
  • Remove uneaten food on a daily basis as to not attract flies.
  • Keep pet rabbits indoors where possible.
  • Rabbit-proof backyards to prevent access by wild rabbits.
  • Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials (eg. cages, hutches, bowls) with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide. Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse off.
  • Limit contact with and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits. Take special precautions if attending any events where unfamiliar rabbits are present, such as petting zoos, rabbit shows and rescue centres.
  • Use good biosecurity measures (eg. wash hands, shoes and clothing) after handling other people’s rabbits.
  • Isolate new rabbits for 7 days before introducing to other rabbits.
  • Rinse all leafy greens well before feeding them to rabbits. While feeding rabbits leafy greens remains a risk for introducing RHDV2, the benefits of feeding these is considered to outweigh the risks.


If you have any suspicious deaths of pet rabbits please let us know so we can help MPI determine how far this disease has spread.

There is a process underway to import a vaccine that specifically protects against this strain but only 1000 doses are likely to be available and they will be distributed by MPI only.

The vaccine we have that protects against RHDV1 may provide some cross protection to the RHDV2. A protocol has been recommended that begins vaccinations at 4 weeks of age and continues with ongoing 6-monthly boosters. If your rabbit is at high risk from calicivirus infection you can consider this protocol.


Please contact us on 07 888 8197 if you wish to discuss this further.

Clinic closed for ANZAC Day

The clinic will be closed on 25th April  to observe ANZAC Day.

A duty veterinarian will be available on 07 888 8197.

We will reopen at 8.00am Thursday 26th April.

Easter Trading Hours

The Team at MVS wish you a happy and safe Easter


A duty veterinarian will be available for emergencies on 07 888 8197


  • Good Friday – CLOSED
  • Saturday 31st March – Small Animal Clinic Open from 10am-Noon
    • Large Animal Counter Closed
  • Easter Sunday – CLOSED
  • Easter Monday – CLOSED

The clinic will be open for business as usual on Tuesday 3rd April 8.00am-5.00pm

Introducing our new Retail Manager

Abby joined MVS this month as our Retail Manager.


She graduated from WINTEC in 2011 where she gained her vet nursing diploma. She then relocated to Western Australia where she worked in a mixed animal clinic vet nursing and continued travelling up north to experience outback nursing in a small animal clinic. She then finished her Australian travels in Perth at a small animal hospital before moving back home to Matamata in January 2017. Here she started in an administration position with Bayleys Real Estate covering advertising, social media and sales support.


Abby’s experience in both the veterinary industry and in sales made her the natural choice to manage our Retail department. She brings with her skills of innovation and beyond to our valued customers.


Outside of work Abby enjoys spending time with her daughter and family on their Richmond Downs farm, working on an ever expanding vegetable garden, reading and spending time at the family beach house in Pauanui. Abby has recently made an addition to the farm with a MVS rescue kitten called Pablo.

20% Off Microchipping In March & April!

Many pets go missing each year, ending up in shelters, with the SPCA or at veterinary clinics. Without any form of identification it can be very difficult to return the pet to its owner.  We know of pets that have ended up as far away as New Plymouth and the Hawkes Bay after getting into vehicles, which makes finding the owners even more difficult without permanent identification.

MVS strongly recommends microchipping your pet to provide permanent identification, provide protection against loss, and even enable specific activation of pet doors/food bowls to your pet.

To show our support and get as many pets microchipped as possible we are providing a 20% discount for the months of March & April 2018.

Microchipping is quick, easy and safe

Contact the clinic on 07 888 8197 to take up this great offer!

Protect your pet from Heat Stroke this Summer

Summer has arrived in New Zealand and we couldn’t be happier! We all know how to be sun savvy so let’s apply that knowledge and keep our pets safe.

Heat Stroke (Hyperthermia)

Heat Stroke is a very real and life-threatening issue for your pet. Our pets overheat when panting and pad sweating can’t keep them cool enough, which can lead to organ malfunction or failure.

What signs to look for:

  • Panting & excessive drooling
  • Hot ears and paws
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Problems standing and walking
  • Collapse or seizure

How to avoid Heat Stroke:

  • Under no circumstances should pets be left in cars, even if the car is in the shade and windows are down
  • Exercise your pet early morning or late afternoon, avoiding direct sun during the day
  • Groom/de-mat long haired breeds to help keep them cool
  • Provide fresh water and shady areas for your pet to rest in
  • Keep white, or thin coated dogs/cats indoors and apply pet safe sunscreens if going outside

Flat faced (brachycephalic) breeds of dogs and cats are more susceptible to heat stroke, so be extra vigilant with these breeds.


Festive Season Business Hours

The clinic will be closed on all Statutory Holidays – 25th December, 26th December, 1st January and 2nd January

Saturday 23rd December                  10.00am to Noon                Small Animal Clinic Only

Sunday 24th December                     CLOSED

Wednesday 27th December              8.00am to 5.00pm

Thursday 28th December                  8.00am to 5.00pm      Small Animal Clinic from 8.00am-7.00pm

Friday 29th December                        8.00am to 5.00pm

Saturday 30th December                   10.00am to Noon               Small Animal Clinic Only

Sunday 31st December                        CLOSED

Wednesday 3rd January                     8.00am to 5.00pm

Thursday 4th January                         8.00am to 5.00pm     Small Animal Clinic from 8.00am-7.00pm

Friday 5th January                               8.00am to 5.00pm

Saturday 6th January                         10.00am to Noon               Small Animal Clinic

                                                          10.00am to 11.00am        Large Animal Counter


What treats to avoid this Christmas; Dog friendly recipes

Although many of our foods and beverages at Christmas may be harmful to pets, we can still surprise them with pet-friendly festive treats!

Try these at home and let us know what your furbaby thinks!

Contact us on 07 888 8197  if you have any concerns to ensure a safe and happy Christmas for all.




  • 2 apples
  • 1 cup plain non-fat Greek yoghurt
  • Water
  1. Slice 2 apples into small pieces, removing the seeds and core.
  2. Blend the apple slices, yoghurt and a splash of water in your blender until you get a liquid consistency.
  3. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours, or until hard.




  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Mix together flour, peanut butter and eggs until slightly combined.
  3. Add in one Tbsp of water at a time until the mixture becomes wet enough to roll out as dough.
  4. Roll out dough and cut your favourite shapes with some cookie cutters.
  5. Place treated onto baking paper and cook for 15 minutes.


If your pet is on a strict veterinary diet, try moulding their wet food into fun shapes and either baking in the oven, or freezing for a treat on a hot day! We don’t want them missing out on the celebrations.

Closed for the Matamata Santa Parade

Matamata Veterinary Services will be closed on Saturday 2nd December 2017 as our staff will be participating in the Matamata Santa Parade.


The parade will commend at 11.00am on Broadway and our team will be sporting a fabulous float. Pop on down to the parade and support our great community.


Our veterinarians will still be available for emergencies on 07 888 8197.

Is your pet itchy?

Spring has spring and so have skin problems!


These allergies are most commonly seen in Spring/Summer. It can be an airborne allergen such as dust mites or pollen, or even grasses that cause skin reactions.

The symptoms include: excessive scratching, rubbing on the carpet, hair loss, greasy or flaky with a foul odour, excessive chewing and itching of the paws, groins and armpits.



Although most pets react to flea bites by itching, some cats and dogs develop a hypersensitivity to flea saliva. Just one bite can result ion excessive itching, licking, chewing, thickened skin and fur loss. The best defence is to maintain good flea control with a quality flea treatment and ensure you treat the environment for fleas at least once a year.



A food allergy is a condition in which the body’s immune system reacts adversely to a food, or an ingredient in a food. Any ingredient can cause an allergy. However, meat-sourced protein is the most common offender.

Food allergies can be difficult to diagnose as they require a food elimination diet. This means that a special diet is fed exclusively for at least 3 months to check for an improvement. While on this trial the pet must not have any treats, human food or flavoured medications/supplements.

Let us help manage your pet’s itch…. Call us on 07 888 8197.

Labour Weekend Trading Hours

The large animal counter will be closed from 5pm on Friday 20th October until 8am on Tuesday 24th October 2017.

The small animal clinic will still be open from 10am until Noon on Saturday 21st October, but then closed until 8am on Tuesday 24th October 2017.

A duty veterinarian will be available during this long weekend on 07 888 8197

Caring for Neonatal Kittens

The time of year is fast approaching where the daffodils are out, the days are getting warmer, the lambs are skipping around paddocks and … the kittens will start arriving in droves! 

 All going well, these kittens will stay with their mum right up until weaning, so feeding habits, toileting and socialisation are well under way by the time the kittens go to their new homes. Unfortunately though, some circumstances do not allow for this and we may find ourselves having to step in and care for these little guys, termed “neonates. 

 Neonatal and infant kittens do require A LOT of care, especially in the first 0 – 6 weeks and one does need to be aware that there is always potential that one or more kittens may not survive. However, by implementing a few simple strategies we can do our absolute best to give them every fighting chance to make it through! 


Warmth: Kittens need to be kept warm. In the wild they have their mothers and siblings to snuggle so we need to replicate this. Keeping them in a box or carry cage with blankets in the bottom and one draped over the top is ideal as it will stop any draughts reaching the kitten/s. Hot water bottles with a protective cover are fantastic at providing warmth, as long as they are changed regularly so they don’t go cold. There are “snugglesafe” discs available that you heat in the microwave and stay warm for up to 8hrs which are very effective, especially for lasting during the night! Care just needs to be taken that the kittens have enough room to be able to move away from the heat source should they get too hot. If you are raising a single kitten, providing them with a fluffy teddy or an old woollen scarf to snuggle into can go along way to help them stay warm.  


 Feeding: Neonates will need regular feeding with a milk supplement formulated specifically for kittens. Their nutritional needs are entirely different from that of a cow and human so their milk needs to reflect this or it could effect their development and health. Kitten milk from the supermarket is not designed to be a sole diet for neonates so a milk powder formula is ideal to start with. The kit we use here at MVS comes with powder, measuring scoops AND feeding bottles so is ready to go.  

Neonates will need to be fed approximately:

Age  Amount per feed  Feeds per 24hrs 
0 – 1 week  2 – 4ml  9 – 12 
1 – 2 weeks  5 – 10ml  6 – 9 
2 – 3 weeks  10 – 15ml  5 – 6 
3 – 4 weeks  10 – 15ml  5 
4 weeks +  15ml + introduce meat  4 -5 


  *This is a guideline only and will vary depending on which brand of milk replacer you are using.

Ideally neonates need to be fed with a bottle, not a syringe. This reduces the chance of accidentally forcing milk into their lungs rather than stomach. The kitten should be supported in one hand and the teat of the bottle placed in the kitten’s mouth, gentle pressure can be applied to the teat to aid milk flow. The kitten should latch its tongue around the teat to suckle and once full will show disintrest and may fall asleep. If the kitten is not latching well, not suckling strong or just seems weak or lethargic contact the team at MVS.

 Toileting: In the wild the mother will clean the kittens after feeding, thus stimulating them to go to the toilet. Once again, we need to replicate this! Once the kittens have fed, take a warm, damp swab or soft cloth and gently wipe around their bottom, they should then go toilet! It is also good practice to wipe around their bottoms and their hind legs after toileting to prevent urine scolding. Vaseline can be applied to this area if they are getting a bit red. Toileting is best done away from their bedding so as not to dampen it, and bedding needs to be checked and changed regularly in case kittens toileting on it.

Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training is very valuable and has many benefits for you and your dog. These include:

· Assisting with toilet training

· Improve future stays at the vet clinic or boarding kennels

· Provides a “safe space” for your dog to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed

· Good for use when you have visitors over


Introducing the crate:

1. Call your dog over to the crate

2. Drop small treats near the crate, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside. You can also use your dogs favourite toy if they aren’t treat orientated.

3. Continue this step until your dog walks calmly all the way in.

4. Next, close the door and treat the dog. Slowly increase the amount of time the door stays shut before your dog gets a treat.

5. Now you can try to leave the room with your dog in the crate and again slowly increase the period of time that you are gone.

6. By this stage your dog should be fairly relaxed in the crate and you can start to leave them for longer periods of time.


Tips for Crate Training:

· Work slowly in stages to get the dog used to the crate. It can take hours, days or weeks depending on the dogs past experiences.

· Put the crate in a quiet area but somewhere the dog can still see and feel involved with the family

· The crate needs to be a fun place only. It must not be used as a punishment space

· Make the crate comfortable with their bed and favourite toys

· Feed your dog in the crate

· Toilet your dog immediately before and after entering the crate

· Play crate games to get them used to being in the crate

· Ignore any unwanted behavior (eg. Barking and whinging)

· You can cover the crate with a blanket to help quiet them at night

· A hot water bottle or ticking clock under their bed can also help ease them during their first few nights as this will stimulate the warmth and sound of sleeping with their litter mates.

Crate Training Games

Game #1 The Magical Crate of Treats and Toys!

This is an easy first exercise. When your dog isn’t in the room place a few treats in their crate, this could be replaced by a favorite toy, peanut butter kong, etc. Let your dog discover the treat on their own. They will learn the crate isn’t scary, it’s the bearer of delicious fun! Leave the door open the first few times you do this. If your dog seems happy and secure in the crate close the door for a few seconds, while he is happily munching, then open to allow him to exit.

 Game #2 The Treat Toss Game

Once your dog is entering the crate on his own you can move on to more interactive games. Get a large amount of small treats ready and begin by tossing one into the crate. Let your dog enter on its own, do not coax or force the dog into the crate. Once the dog enters immediately praise them, after they eat their treat call them back to you and then throw another treat into the crate so they will re-enter. Repeat this process for 5-10 minutes. Remember to stay positive and pay attention to your dog, if they are getting bored with the game be sure to give them a break, you can always play again later.

Game #3 Closing the Door

After your dog is comfortable retrieving treats in the crate it’s time to add to Game #2 by closing the door for short periods of time. Start by tossing a treat in. Fido will enter to retrieve the treat, now close the door for 2-3 seconds. The goal here is for your dog to stay quiet and calm, we don’t want to close the door for too long or they may bark, whine or scratch at the door. If they do any of these things and we open the door we are reinforcing bad behavior. “If I just whine a bit, they open the crate door…” So keep it brief and slowly add a few more seconds to each training session.

Game #4 Meal Time in the Den

This is an incredibly easy exercise that I have used for all of my foster dogs. Simply feed your dog their meals in the crate. I start with the door open but usually after a few days you’ll notice the dog is so excited about dinner time that they won’t even notice if you close the door. If you do close the door be sure to stand by and open it before they finish their meal so they can exit freely.

Game #5 No Bolting, Please!

We want our dog to exit their crate gracefully and calmly. Once a dog is comfortable being crated, with the door closed, you can teach them to exit calmly. The easiest method I’ve found is simply closing the door when your dog tries to bolt. Toss a treat into the crate. When your dog enters, close the door. Now open the door. If your dog stays put then praise them and give them a treat. If they begin to move forward, close the door. Wait until Fido has settled down again and open the door a few inches. If he moves forward, close it. If he stays put open it a bit wider, and wider, until you can give him a treat. Then call him out of the crate, or better yet assign a release word such as “ok” “release” “break” or any other word that you use for releasing your dog from other commands such as sit and stay. If you are unfamiliar with release words then give it a Google! Release words make training much easier! Repeat this exercise for 5-10 minutes at a time. It won’t take long for him to realize that bolting out the crate isn’t ok.

Game #6 This is Your Safe, Relaxing Place

Once your dog is comfortable entering the crate, and when you close the door for a few minutes at a time, you can begin rewarding relaxation. Remember, one of our goals is to make the crate the dog’s calm, safe place where they can sleep/relax. Toss a treat into the crate and give your dog their command to lie down. Praise and treat. Do not release the dog from their down. Wait for cues that the dog is relaxed, these include: sighing, rolling onto it’s side, stretching, yawning, licking their lips, resting their head on their paws, and even blinking. Praise them every time they do one of these things, try not to use large treats or excitable praise, just a calm “good” or “yes.. After they have relaxed, and you have praised them, you may give them their release word.