Crate training a puppy is one of the most challenging things for most pet parents, especially in the early stages of puppyhood. Like most tough puppy stuff, it’s more about repetition and human discipline than convincing the dog to do something.
The hardest part about crate training a puppy is the whining and crying. Like us, dogs are social, pack animals – and they want to be with their packs as often as possible. However, it’s healthy for your dog to learn to be independent and have its own safe space.
How to crate train a puppy
Most people prefer to have their puppy’s crate in their bedroom, at least for the first few nights.
Covering the crate with a blanket can increase the dog’s sense of security, as well as your willpower, as your dog will be pleading at you with those big, beautiful eyes.
On the first night of crate training, expect your puppy to:
- Whine and cry: Before they came to you, your puppy was most likely with other dogs, either with their family at the breeder or at a shelter where they exercised and socialized. Here at home, they have only you, your existing pets, and your human family, and they will be isolated when crated.
- Need to go outside every few hours: Puppies’ bladders only last as many hours as their months in age until they reach nine months. That means if you have a puppy that’s a week and a day, don’t expect them to be able to hold it any longer than three hours.
- Beg and look cute: By their nature, puppies have big, wide eyes, which encourage us to adore them and give them whatever they want. This made humans want to give over food, ensuring the pup’s survival. In modern times, however, this cuteness can soften your rules and boundaries, which you should not let happen in this circumstance.
You must be patient enough to understand that your dog will need potty breaks, and show them that they must be patient enough with you to learn to love their crate.https://dogsbestlife.com/dog-health/dog-blanket/
Introduce the dog to the crate
To begin, introduce your dog to the crate during the day, and don’t immediately lock them in. Lay a familiar blanket, like the one your dog got to know in the car ride home, and add in a toy they like, some kibble they’re already used to, and a treat. Leave the crate door open and create a positive association. Reward your dog for entering the crate. You can ensure the door stays open by tying it back, so it doesn’t slam shut and alarm the puppy.
Keep the rewards coming
Over time, as you notice your dog enter the crate, provide them with rewards, such as treats or special toys. Let them know that entering the crate is positive, and they’ll enjoy going there.
Add a verbal command
Decide what you’d like to call your dog’s crate. You can say “Crate” or tell your dog to “Go home.”
“Bedtime” makes sense if you always want to crate your dog at night. When your dog enters the crate, say the magic word when you provide the treat.
In the future, you’ll be able to say the word, and the dog will go into the crate expecting a reward. This is especially useful in an emergency or when you want to vacuum without a dog chasing you around.
If you have more than one dog, we recommend placing them in separate crates, not just for safety reasons, but so that each dog is allotted their own space in your home. This sense of ownership helps your animals feel safe.
Don’t say goodnight or goodbye
When it’s time to go to sleep or leave your dog alone and crated, don’t make a big deal because this will register as a separation cue to the puppy.
Instead, lock the crate, reward them with a treat, and do what you must, whether you’re leaving home or staying in the same room and doing your business.
And remember: if you are anxious, your dog will be too.
Make using the crate a regular part of your day because, after some practice, it will be.
Crate training benefits
The most significant benefit of crate training a puppy is safety.
Secured in a crate, your dog won’t get into power cords, eat blankets and pillows, or encounter many other dangers and hazards that can land your dog at the emergency hospital.
To keep your puppy safe and secure, crating is best for them.
If you have maintenance or service people enter the home, or if your dog takes a while to warm up to strangers, they must have their own safe space. The crate provides them with an area of their own that smells like them and is made just for them.
When there is any kind of emergency, human or veterinary, it’s essential to be able to crate your dog quickly and without fuss.
If your puppy or another animal is injured, or if your puppy later gets spayed or neutered and there are other animals or children in the home, it will be safest to crate them, and they need to understand that a crate is a place of safety.
If you need to take your dog somewhere, they can’t freely roam, or if you need to go on an extended car trip, a crate indicates that your dog is safe as long as the crate is there.
When you crate your puppy and leave them unattended, ensure that you leave only safe toys and objects with them.
Exclude anything that could cause a choking hazard or items like antler chews that should only be used when supervised or can cause bleeding gums if overused.
Avoid harnesses, collars, and tags when the dog is crated to prevent strangulation or other safety issues.