We're in the process of crate training our 7-month-old pup. He has been eating his meals in the crate since we got him (at 3 months) and learned early on to go into his "house" on command. But we didn't start real crate training (closing the door) till a few weeks ago. We are now keeping him in there for about an hour a day, with us in the same room. We give him his favourite treats once he's in: a kong with peanut butter and his bully stick. He'll quickly lick out all the peanut butter and will sniff his bully stick, but he won't chew it - even though it's his favourite chew of all time and he only gets it in the crate now. He'll just sit there or lie there and look at us. He doesn't whine or try to get out - he'll paw weakly at the gate here and there, but that's it. When we open the door, he runs right out with tear stains on his sweet little face. So… we get the feeling that he's not freaked out by the crate, but that he doesn't like it either. Is this normal? Will he learn to like it with time?
Our goal is for Charlie to stay willingly and peacefully in his crate for an hour or two at a time when dog-fearing guests come, or when we're vacuuming, etc. Any suggestions to make the crate a happier place for him?