Crate Training 101
Crate training is a valuable tool for all puppy owners. It can help with house training, reduce anxiety, and provide a safe and secure place for your puppy to stay when you’re not home.
Here is a comprehensive guide to crate training your puppy the right way:
- Choose the right crate. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around comfortably, but not so large that they can use one end as a bathroom. You may need to upgrade to a larger crate as your puppy grows.
- Make the crate a comfortable place. Put a soft blanket or bedding in the crate and add a few of your puppy’s favorite toys. You can also try feeding your puppy in the crate or giving them treats inside.
- Start slowly. Don’t force your puppy into the crate. Instead, try to make it a positive experience for them. Leave the crate door open and encourage them to explore it at their own pace. You can try tossing treats inside or putting a favorite toy inside.
- Close the door for short periods of time. Once your puppy is comfortable in the crate, start closing the door for short periods of time. Start with a few minutes and gradually increase the time as your puppy tolerates it. If your puppy whines or barks, be patient and wait until they are quiet before letting them out.
- Use positive reinforcement. When your puppy goes into the crate or stays in the crate quietly, praise them and give them a treat. This will help them associate the crate with positive experiences.
- Be consistent. Crate training takes time and patience. Be consistent with your training and don’t give up. If you have any problems, consult with a professional dog trainer.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t use the crate as punishment. This will make your puppy associate the crate with negative experiences.
- Don’t leave your puppy in the crate for longer than they can hold their bladder or bowels. Puppies under six months old can only hold their bladder for about two hours at a time.
- Give your puppy plenty of exercise and playtime outside of the crate. This will help them stay tired and relaxed when they are in the crate.
- If you’re going to be away from home for a long period of time, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to come and let your puppy out of the crate.
Benefits of crate training
There are many benefits to crate training your puppy, including:
- It can help with housetraining. Puppies have small bladders and can’t hold their urine for very long. A crate can help prevent accidents in the house.
- It can provide a safe and secure place for your puppy to stay when you’re not home.
- It can help reduce anxiety and stress in your puppy. A crate can be a cozy and den-like space for your puppy to relax and feel safe.
- It can make traveling with your puppy easier. A crate can be used to transport your puppy safely in the car or on an airplane.
- It can help your puppy learn to be calm and independent. When your puppy is in their crate, they have a chance to relax and unwind on their own.
How to crate train your puppy at night
Many puppy owners struggle to get their puppy to sleep in their crate at night. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure the crate is a comfortable place for your puppy to sleep. Put a soft blanket or bedding in the crate and add a few of your puppy’s favorite toys.
- Feed your puppy their last meal of the day a few hours before bedtime. This will give them time to digest their food and empty their bladder and bowels before going to bed.
- Take your puppy for a potty break before putting them in the crate at night.
- If your puppy whines or barks when you put them in their crate, be patient and wait until they are quiet before leaving the room.
- You may need to sit next to the crate for a few minutes until your puppy falls asleep.
- Once your puppy is asleep, you can leave the room.
Be patient and consistent
Crate training can take some time and patience, but it is a worthwhile investment. With a little effort, you can teach your puppy to love their crate and make it a safe and secure place for them to stay.
Teena Patel is a Certified Dog Trainer and Behavioral Counselor who works with pet owners and owners of doggy daycares to bring her philosophy of Enrichment to the canine population. After almost two decades of successful dog training under her belt, Teena has done away with the standard doggy daycare “warehousing” of animals in kennels and runs. In place of an industrial model, she focuses on what is right for the dogs as living beings, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in companion dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, much happier. True to her passion, Teena Patel gives dogs the freedom “to be dogs”.