You might’ve heard that a crate is one of the most important aspects of dog training.
Crate training is a great option for pet owners who have to be away from home for short periods of time and want to make sure their puppy is in a safe spot.
In order to get the most out of crate training, some pet parents could use a little guidance. Here’s a look at the different ways a crate may help turn puppies into well-adjusted adult dogs, how to find the right crate, and how to make crate training a positive experience for both you and your new family member.
Benefits Of Crate Training Your New Puppy Or Dog
Here are some of the biggest benefits of crate training.
- You can leave your dog at home knowing they will be completely protected and won’t chew up your furniture, shoes, or anything else in your home.
- A crate helps speed the training process. It helps you establish control over your dog, and it also makes it easier to start a potty routine.
- If you have guests over, a crate can serve as a temporary puppy home, keeping the dog out of harm’s way.
- A crate makes it possible to take your puppy with you when you travel. It might help make your young dog more comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Your pup can have a place to go if they need their own time out, of sorts. All dogs should have a private, safe place they can go to get away for a little while, and a crate is a perfect solution.1
Choose The Right Crate For Your Dog
You’ll have a lot of options when it comes to getting a crate. Whether you’re looking at wire crates or plastic crates, you’ll probably have no problem finding one online or at your local pet store. But what is the ideal crate for a puppy?
In order for your puppy to have the best response possible to the crate, it needs to be durable, safe, comfortable and the correct size. Make sure to get a crate with strong sturdy locks so your puppy doesn’t accidentally escape when you’re away and get into trouble. If you’re potty training, make sure the crate is big enough so that your puppy can easily stand up and turn around in a full circle, but not so large that they can take multiple steps. If its too large, the dog might think it’s okay to poop or pee in one corner and sleep in the opposite corner.2
If you’re not sure what size to get, measure the puppy from the nose to the base of the tail. Then add about four inches to that measurement. Now you have the proper length of the crate. The next step is to measure the dog when sitting, from the floor to the top of their head. Again, add about four inches, and you’ll have the correct height.3
Consider the Goals of Crate Training: Creating Positive Associations
When used correctly, a crate can be a major help when it comes to house training your new dog. It’s important to make sure your pup has a pleasant association with the crate – it shouldn’t be something that scares the dog. Start by introducing your pup to the crate by tossing a few treats inside and letting them reach in for them. Place them further and further from the door, but keep the door open. You can also try feeding your pup inside the crate. Just remember, don’t force them in – keep placing treats or a toy inside until they go in on their own. This could take a few days, so be patient.7
Place a puppy bed in the crate so they are comfortable, but keep in mind that the dog is going to have occasional accidents until they learn their potty routine. A blanket, some towels, or something else washable might be the best choice.4
Likewise, don’t give the dog unlimited access to water inside the crate. Wait until they’re out of the crate to do so. Finally, make sure there are plenty of safe toys to keep your pup occupied.5
Small steps, such as providing a comfy place to sleep and some of their favorite toys, can help to make the crate a much more inviting environment for your pet.6
Getting Your Puppy Used To The Crate
Once the puppy starts getting used to the crate, try closing them in. Wait a few seconds, then let them out for a treat. Do the same thing for a few more seconds. Hopefully, you’ll reach a point where they can stay inside for about 15 minutes with no signs of stress. Stay near them throughout the entire 15 minutes at first, if possible.8
Here are a few additional tips for crate training. Remember to be patient with these training procedures. Focus on small increments of progress.
- While your puppy is in the crate, walk halfway across the room. Then go back to the crate, open the door, and give some treats and love. Keep repeating this step until you can leave the room completely without your puppy getting upset.
- Try to stay out of sight for about five minutes at first, and then try it for 10 minutes. Eventually, you should be able to leave for several minutes before the dog shows any signs of stress.
- Over time, your dog should be just fine with the crate. Again, though, don’t force it. If they’re having issues being confined in the crate, let them out for a little while, and then repeat the steps.9
Puppy Crate Training Schedule
Having a puppy is obviously a lot of responsibility. Both you and your new family member will have to go through a lot of training steps. One of the most important is to establish a daily schedule. Your new crate will play a big role in that schedule.
- Keep the crate near your bed, so you’ll be able to hear if the puppy starts whimpering at night. They might be giving you a sign that they need to go outside to do some business. Puppies can only hold their pee for about an hour for every month of age. So make sure to set an alarm to let your puppy out to pee throughout the night.
- You should also take them to pee first thing in the morning. Don’t do anything else – take the dog straight outside.
- Once you and the puppy have had your breakfast, take the dog outside again. It should take anywhere from five to 30 minutes for a puppy to need to “go.” Do the same thing after your pup drinks water.10
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Help
In the majority of instances, a puppy will eventually become acclimated to their crate. You might wind up using some sort of regular command, such as “crate” (or something similar) to get your dog inside.
Keep in mind that all types of dogs – even service dog puppies – can have difficulties crate training. If you just can’t seem to get your dog to accept staying in their crate, talk to your vet or a trainer. They may be able to help.