Crate training is a valuable tool in house-training as well as keeping your puppy safe at the same time. It is a good way to keep him out of harms way when you can’t watch him before you have taught him to chew appropriate chew toys.
Puppies learn from their mothers not to soil in their sleeping area. When they are still in their whelping box they learn to crawl away from their sleeping area to a toilet area. By using a crate, the puppy will continue what he has learned from it's mother, provided that it is let out within every 4 hours and the crate isn’t too large for the puppy.
It is also good to have your dog crate trained so if you ever decide to go to dog events your dog will be used to the crate. Boarding will be easier on your dog and if there is ever a reason you need to fly your dog it will be one less thing he will need to get use to.
Crate training should be done positively with no negative associations.
- Don’t force the puppy into the crate, let him go in on his own.
- Get 5 pieces of small yummy treats.
- Lure the puppy into the crate and praise when he goes in. Let him come out when he wants – leave the door open.
- Throw a treat in the crate and praise the puppy for going in.
- Repeat until your 5 treats are gone then quit for a while.
- Repeat several times the first day. You could also feed your puppy in the crate – with the door open. When the puppy is comfortable going in the crate go to next step.
- Lure a tired, just pottied puppy into the crate. Have a new toy in the crate that will hold the puppy's interest for a few minutes.
- Close the door of the crate and sit in front of the crate so you can reassure the puppy if necessary. If the puppy whines, put your fingers through the grate in the door and talk to the puppy but do not let him out until he is quiet for at least 30 sec. Hopefully the puppy will go to sleep.
- Then open the crate door and when the puppy wakes take him outside to go potty. The puppy must be quiet before you let him out of the crate. Don’t yell or correct him, just calmly wait him out.
- Set the crate up beside your bed so you can reach out and reassure your puppy. Make sure the puppy is tired and pottied.
- Remove the puppy’s collar and lure the puppy in as before if you haven’t already got him used to the crate.
- Turn out the lights as usual. If the puppy whines put your fingers in the grate as before and reassure the puppy but do not let him out. You may lose some sleep the first or second night but do not open the door for 4 hours. Puppies cannot be expected to hold their business for more than 4 hours. So be prepared to get up and carry the puppy to the toilet area. Do not play with puppy, just put him back in his crate and turn out the lights. In 2-3 nights your puppy will be used to the routine.
Train for leaving your puppy in a crate while you are away:
- Start by leaving him in the crate with a chew toy for a few minutes while you go in another room.
- Then extend the time that he is left alone. Always make it successful by returning to the puppy when the puppy is quiet.
- When he is comfortable with this go out the door and return in a minute. Then extend the time as he is comfortable.
Other benefits of using a crate:
Provides a safe space for travellingless stressful for flight travelcan be used to teach impulse control exercisesaids in prevention and treatment of separation anxietyprovides increased management around the house with chewing and barkingprovides peace of mind for the puppy owner that the puppy is in a safe secure space not causing damage to himself or the house