Puppy crate training is a great method of training your young puppies and if you know anyone who has had a dog for a while, my guess is that they used a crate when they first got their dog. If you use the crate properly, your puppies will learn and establish great habits and make sure that problematic behaviors do not come up.
You may have heard some bad things about puppy crate training but i can assure you that if you crate train your puppy, they are the ones that are getting the most benefit from it. While your pup will get the most benefit, you also need to think about the furniture around your house and how much better of that is as well!
Why Puppy Crate Training?
When you were growing up, your room was your own little area that you felt secure in and could call your own. This is the same feeling that your puppy is going to associate his or her crate with in the few weeks to come. As the trainer, here are some of the ways which you will use the crate with your dog.
- The crate is a great tool for when you are in the puppy housebreaking stage. You can teach your dog very quickly that they should go potty outside. IF you have not taken the time to check out the puppy house training article, then I suggest you do.
- Putting your puppy in a crate will help teach them that the toys we provide for them are great for chewing on and certain things are not great to chew on such as the furniture around the house as mentioned above. This really helps your puppy establish good habits for the rest of their lives and makes sure they do not get any bad habits that are usually hard to get rid of if they come up.
- Just the act of being in a crate keeps your pup safe from household items that may be dangerous for them. The sad truth is that every year many young puppies are killed because they get into poison or decide to chew on wires.
- If you use the crate properly, you will be able to reduce the chance that your dog gets what is called separation anxiety which is an increasing problem in the dog population. The crate becomes the dogs personal area where they are used to being by themselves and learn to enjoy it. A side note should be mentioned that if you are someone who works all day long and will leave your puppy crated up, should you really have one in the first place? The answer is probably not.
Do NOT Use The Crate As A Punishment Tool!
- If friends are visitoring your home, or you are going out for the night, keeping your puppy safe in a crate is perfectly acceptable.
- Many crates are small and portable. This means that if you are switching rooms, you can typically bring your puppy with you in his/her crate.
- If you are concerned with your dogs safety in the car, then you can always crate them when transporting your puppy around town.
- After your puppy starts to like his crate, going to the vet will be a much better experience for both of you.
- If puppy crate training correctly, there is no possible way that your pup can get into any trouble which means you will need to discipline them much less. This makes your house a much more enjoyable place to live for both parties.
- You may plan on doing agility training or competitive training with your dog. If this is the case then the crate is great to place your dog in between sessions or when at a show. Make sure to place it out of the sunlight to make sure your dog is cool. If this is something that you plan on doing or sounds interesting, I always recommend this do it yourself training course.
Choosing A Crate For Your Puppy
There are two general styles that crates will come in. These are wire mesh and durable plastic. If you choose a wire mesh style, you will often be able to cllapse it for easy transportation. Neither style is better than the other but you just want to make sure you get a big enough crate that will house your puppy when they grow into a larger dog.
If you are looking to purchase a crate online, I typically get mine from Amazon which you can get here: Puppy Crates Online.
What Else Should You Put In The Crate?
The dog obviously will go in the crate but there are a few key things that you should keep in your puppys new room as well.
- Make sure you get them some bedding so that they are comfortable. I recommend that you get a dog bed that is comfortable and that is chew proof so that your puppy does not eat it.
- Get them chew toys. Some good options are toys that you can put in the freezer to help with teething when you are training them not to bite.
- The last thing is water. Make sure you always have fresh water in their crate and use heavy bowls that can not be tipped over and spilled everywhere. There are also types that you can secure to the walls to make sure they are not moved.
Introduce Your Puppy
When you first introduce your puppy to their crate is a very important time. If they do not view their first experience with the crate as positive, then you could have an issue. You want the puppy to love it. Let him make the first decision to use it instead of shoving them in there to be lonely.
Below I have laid out some puppy crate training tips that will make it a lot more inviting to your dog. Always remember to take training slow and keep the crate in a room where you can keep an eye on them.
- Put some treats around the crate and inside to allow your puppy to explore and eat some of their favorites. If your pup gets in, be happy and give them praise.
- If your dog has a favorite blanket use this to your advantage. Put the blanket inside the crate and encourage him to go get it.
- Keep the door open but feed your pup all his meals there.
- Close the door to the grate and put the dogs favorite chew toy inside. Your pup will be looking at you and wanting to go get it. Open it up and give him lots of praise as they dive inside the crate. I have always found this method to be one of the best working in the list.
- If your puppy is in the other room, take a chew toy and tie it to the inside of the crate and keep the door open. They will soon find what you left behind and enjoy playing with it.
- After your dog has gotten used to the crate, close up the door and give them some treats inside. When you first try this, only leave the door closed for a few seconds before you open it. You can increase this time slowly but do not do so too quickly as you can upset your dog.
- When you are building up the time that your dog is in the crate, do so slowly. Next you will want to step outside the room for a brief moment and then come back. If all goes well, their first long time inside their new home is going to be overnight but the crate will be in your bedroom if they need you.
Shape Your Puppys Behavior
What I listed above is usually more than enough to get puppies very happy with their new crates. If you are still having troubles or maybe have a pup who is very nervous, try some of these exercises to make sure to shape their behavior.
- Leave the crate door open and put it in a spot that both you and your pup spend a lot of time together so they can get used to it.
- If your puppy is showing interest in the crate, always give them praise and give a treat. Repetition here is key!
- After a while, your pup will become very interested in the object that is their crate. When this happens, do not praise them or give them a treat. Instead, wait till they go towards the crate and then give them praise and their treat for the dogs efforts.
- Keep on repeating the last step but make it harder and harder for them to get the treat they want. You must practice repetition here if you want this to work.
- By this step, they should be very willing to go inside their crate to get their treat. Now you must not praise them until they lay down inside.
- The last step is to get your puppy inside the crate and sitting down while you close the door for a few seconds to start. You will then feed them a treat through the door.
- It is best if you give a word to be associated with the crate. This can be anything but I find that Bedtime works out well. Say the word each time your puppy gets inside and they will soon associate the word with the action.
Rules Of Puppy Crate Training
- When your dog goes into the crate, take their collar off. This is to make sure it does not get caught on anything and cause damage to your dog.
- Do not ask your dog or puppy to hold off from going potty by putting them in the crate!
- If they have an accident inside, do not punish them! It is your fault that you did not let them out. Simply clean up the mess and try to pay a bit more attention.
- When there is hot weather, do not leave your puppy crated in a car or inside a hot room. This can be fatal for your dog.
- NEVER crate your dog for longer than 5 hours unless it is overnight. Why would you even have a pet if you are going to confine them for this long during the day? Try getting a hands off pet if this is the case.
- If you are going to crate your dog, then it is a requirement that you give them a lot of exercise as well as mental stimulation during the day before you put them away at night.
- If your dog is throwing a fit by barking or whining, do not let them out of the crate for any situation unless it may get out of control. If you end up giving in, this will just reinforce the wrong behavior and will be a negative to your training.
- Do not only crate your pup when you are going to leave the house. If you do this, they will soon figure it out and this will not end well.
If you follow all of the above advice and instruction, you should not have many problems crate training.