Crate training puppy requires patience, consistency, and diligence. Explore our guidelines on how to crate train a puppy to success.
Is puppy crate training just cruel? What reason would anyone have for caging an adorable, sweet-looking, and exuberant pup? As peculiar as this may sound, crate training your furry friend is in his and your best interest. Think of it this way—when your mutt is all grown up, he won’t spend his free time soiling your floors and chewing on your favorite clothes.
The reason why most people shy away from dog crate training is that they already have a presumption that it’s difficult. In reality, it’s a fairly simple process but only if you go about it the right way. But that’s not to mean that you should lock him for outrageous periods.
Ideally, you should also give your mutt breaks from his crate. This overview highlights the steps to take when dog crate training your while explaining the benefits of this process.
The Puppy Crate Training Process
How long it takes you to crate train your young puppy will depend on a couple of factors including his age, temperament and previous experiences. For the best results, you should take note of two key points. First, you need to relate the crate to something pleasant: an item or activity that your pup loves. Second, conduct the training in steps: do not rush the process.
Here's a video that gives you a great overview of the process.
Introducing Your Dog to the Crate
The first step entails familiarizing your dog to the crate. For instance, you can place the crate in a common area such as the family room. Putting a soft towel or blanket in this crate can also be inviting. Afterwards, bring your dog over to his new place, talk to him in a friendly tone, urging him to get in.
Remember to leave the door securely open so he does not hit it on his way in and get frightened. If he shows resistance for the first time, do not force him to enter. Instead, you should be patient and try this activity another time. You may also drop food treats to lure your pooch to go inside the dog crate.
If this does not work, you can try putting his favorite toys. Overall, this phase can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days.
Making it a Dinner Date
Once your dog becomes accustomed to his crate, take his training a notch higher. Put simply try feeding him his meals from inside the crate. The precise position where you place his food will be determined by how comfortable your pup feels. If he is still a little wary, place his meal bowl in the middle.
In contrast, if your dog is comfortable, you can place his meal all the way to the back. Once he gains confidence in eating from his new home, start closing the door gently during his mealtime. Once he’s finished his meal, open the door and let him out.
With each successive training session, you can start leaving the door closed for a couple of minutes. Do this up to that point where he can stay in the crate for ten minutes after feeding. If he starts barking or whining, it may be a sign that you are moving too fast with his training.
The best thing is to go back to a point where he felt comfortable with the crate and then progress gradually. And when he does whine, don’t let him have it easy by opening the door immediately—or else he’ll learn that he can always cry his way out of the crate.
Making it a Short Stay
Once your dog has familiarized himself with eating from his new home, you can move on to the next phase. It involves locking him up in the crate for a short time when you’re home. To achieve this, call him over and lure him to the crate using a treat or toy. You can also introduce him to a command for the crate-training process. Many pet owners use “kennel” or “kennel up.”
As soon as your dog is inside the crate, give him another treat as a reward, and then shut the door. Sit beside him quietly for a couple of minutes and then let him out. From this point, you can start increasing the amount of time your dog stays in the crate. You can also leave him in the crate alone but monitor him closely.
Do this until he feels comfortable being in the crate for half an hour. From then on, you can even leave the house with your pup crated but for short periods.
Making it an Extended Stay
Whether you’ve been training your pooch for five days or five weeks, getting to this point is great progress. If you can comfortably leave him crated for even an hour, without him screaming at the top of his lungs, then you’re on your way to completing a successful crate training program.
In this next step, you should leave your dog for a longer period. For instance, you can leave him crated for a night. However, you should only do this is he’s not displaying any anxiety. Apart from adhering to the system you have already set up, other tips to make his extended stay a success include:
- Vary your crate training sessions – if you always lock your pup inside the crate and then leave him by himself, he may start associating being crated with loneliness. Instead, you should crate him even when you are around.
- Keep his kennel in close proximity – or at least for the first few days. Then once your pup becomes aware that crating is not some kind of brutal punishment, you can move his crate to your preferred location.
Potential Challenges When Crate Training a Dog
We cannot guarantee that learning how to crate train a puppy will be a bed of roses. Initially, you are likely to encounter some hurdles. But, it helps if you already know some of the issues that are likely to crop up.
Too Much Time in the Crate
When some pet owners learn how to crate train a puppy, they go overboard and cage their pets all the time. Doing so is neither right nor healthy for your dog. For instance, if you left your pup crated all day long when you were at work, you should not then crate him overnight—that is way too much time in this cage.
Advisably, you should identify other techniques to meet his emotional and physical needs. For instance, you should spare time to take him for a walk. For puppies under six months, you need not create a crate training schedule of more than four hours on any given day. The reason for this is that they are not capable of controlling their bowels for this long.
If your pup tends to cry at night when he’s in the crate, it might be difficult to establish the particular reason for his whining. Maybe he wants to be let free or he just wants to be let out briefly to relieve himself. If the reason for his whining is the former, you should not let him out—unless you want to start rewarding him for wrongdoing.
In such a situation, you should ignore him. Eventually, he will stop whining. Do not attempt to yell at him or pound on his kennel as this will only make an already bad situation worse.
Truth be said, crating is not a magical solution to all the problems that come with keeping puppies. Subsequently, you should not crate him as a way of alienating him. While crate training your pup will prevent him from wreaking havoc on your household items, he may still get injured attempting to escape from his crate.
If your pup experiences separation anxiety, the best way to deal with this is through desensitization and counter-conditioning mechanisms. You can learn more regarding separation anxiety by visiting this link
Some of the most common questions among dog owners are: What is crate training? How is it beneficial? Hopefully, this article has adequately answered your questions.
The key aspect to remember is that kennel training is a process. Some dogs will take a couple of weeks to get used to them. Others, however, may spend months. You need not rush this process as it may have a negative impact on your pup.
You should start by introducing the crate to your pup, which you can accomplish by placing this kennel in a familiar area. Next, try to serve him meals from his new abode.
Finally, try leaving him in the crate for a few minutes then a few hours. If you crate train your dog properly, he will want to spend most of his time here—his very own space!