Crate Training A Puppy

Let me start off by first saying that I personally, very seldom use a crate for my dogs. But there are times where it may become necessary to use one (vet,airplane,etc..) and this is why crate training a puppy is important. Now on with the article.

Some people feel it is cruel to crate their pup while they are away.  In fact, puppies that are properly crate trained view their crate as a place of safety and security while their owners are away. 

Even if you do not plan to regularly crate your dog, it is still a good idea to crate train them as there may be a situation in which crating them is necessary, such as if you stay at a pet friendly hotel that requires it.  If they have not been properly trained, being crated could be stressful.

Crate training a puppy of any age is easier than some might think, but it takes some time.  Training a puppy is easier in some ways, because it is unlikely the dog has ever had a negative experience associated with the crate.  Follow the simple steps below, and your puppy will be crate trained in no time. 

  • Purchase the Right Size Crate

When purchasing a crate for use with a puppy, consider one that has a removable wall.  This will allow you make the crate the appropriate size for your puppy and then you can remove the wall when she is bigger.  This will save you from having to buy a new crate as the dog gets larger.  Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around in the crate.  If she cannot, then the crate is too small.

  • NEVER Associate with Punishment

When crate training a puppy many people make the mistake of using the crate as a form of punishment.  For example, the dog makes a mess on the rug or chews a pair of shoes and the owner forces the dog into the crate for a “time out”.  Then the owner wonders why it seems nearly impossible to crate train their puppy!  It’s because from that point on the dog is going to associate the crate with punishment. 

Never use the crate as a punishment. You must work to establish time in the crate as something positive in order to effectively crate train your puppy. 

  • Leave the Crate in a Common Room

Leave the crate in a room where the dog spends time with you.  Leave the door open, but don’t put your puppy inside.  Just leave it in the room and put a soft blanket inside.  Anytime the puppy shows interest in the crate offer words of praise. 

  • Place Food or Treats Near the Door

Once the crate has been in the room for a few days, place the puppy’s food bowl or some treats near the door of the crate.   While the puppy is eating, pet her.  By putting her food or treats there and then petting her, you are helping her associate the crate with positive attention.

  • Place Food or Treats in the Crate

Next, move the food or treats inside the crate.  Let the puppy go inside, but don’t close the door.  After a few days, you can stop putting the food in there.  Be sure there is soft bedding and perhaps a favorite toy inside the crate.   Let the puppy move in and out of the crate at will. 

  • Shut the Door

The next step to crate training a puppy  is to shut the door while the puppy is in the crate, but stay in the room with her.  If you get any sense that the puppy is getting nervous, open the door.    Gradually increase the amount of time that you leave the door closed. 

If the puppy whines to get out, use your training voice to firmly tell her “no”, but once she stops whining, let her out.  You don’t want to set a precedent that whining will get her out of the crate. 

  • Leave the Room

Once the puppy seems comfortable with the door being shut, try leaving the room.  Only leave for a few minutes at first and then gradually increase the time that you leave her alone.  If the training has gone well, by this time the puppy should be comfortable staying in the crate.

If it does not seem that the training has worked, you may have to go back to step one and start again.  Try lingering on each step a bit longer. 

Crate training a puppy properly does not happen overnight.  It can, in fact, take several weeks.  The benefits, however, will last for years.

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