Wondering if you should crate train your puppy? Confused about how it works or whether it is cruel? Most people have heard of crate training but don’t know if it’s a good idea when they bring their new puppy home. Here we discuss the reasons why it’s a good idea, explain the steps to successful crate training and help identify some potential problems that may get in your way when you are crate training your new little family member.
Crate training may seem uncomfortable or cruel to you at first, but there are many excellent reasons to crate train your puppy. Crate training will reduce the frustrations experienced by puppy and owner while he is learning the right behavior and house rules. When you’re not there to directly supervise, you can eliminate accidents and destruction of household objects. Crate training will make it much easier in the future when you need to travel or put your dog in a crate in order to transport her to the vet. It will also make it easier when she needs to be boarded. When dogs are in the wild, they gain a sense of security when in a small confined space such as a den. This instinct is present in a domesticated dog as well. A crate can give your dog a calm sense of comfort and security.
Steps to crate training your puppy:
- Choose a crate that has room for your puppy to lie down, stand up and turn around, but not large enough for him to create a space in the crate to eliminate away from his spot where he lies down.
- Place a blanket or bed inside with toys and treats for your puppy to find.
- Don’t ever pull your puppy in or force her into the crate. Give praise and treats when she goes in on her own. Do this after you’ve taken your puppy outside to eliminate and exercise.
- Start feeding your puppy in the crate. Then close the door while she is eating, gradually increasing the time the door is closed.
- At first, stay in the room with your puppy. Then eventually leave the room for a short amount of time, gradually increasing that time.
- Begin to put your puppy into the crate for short periods of time when she is not eating, gradually increasing the amount of time.
- Soon you’ll be able to leave the house for short periods of time, thereby giving you and your pet a calm, secure and fear-free time when you’re away from home.
Having problems crate training your puppy? Here are some common reasons:
- Going too quickly – remember that the crate training process takes time and patience. You must gradually build up the time inside the crate, and some dogs take longer than others. Puppies still need to be taken out for frequent bathroom breaks.
- The crate may not be the appropriate size. Is it too big? Too small?
- NEVER use the crate as punishment! It needs to be a positive experience.
- Don’t let your puppy out of her crate when she’s upset and making noise. Wait until she’s quiet, and then let her out. Conversely, don’t praise her when she comes out, because you want to reinforce “going in” behavior rather than “coming out”.
- Leaving your puppy in the crate for too long- be sure to keep your puppy crated for small amounts of time, gradually increasing it at a comfortable pace for her. Keeping your puppy in the crate long enough to force it to eliminate must be avoided!
Crate training is a valuable tool to help you train your puppy, and there are many good reasons for doing so. However, it does take time and patience. Follow these steps and you should be successful crate training your puppy; however, it is advised that you seek a professional trainer or training program if you don’t have success with these simple steps, or if you want to train your puppy with more complicated behavior.