THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CRATE TRAINING YOUR PUPPY (2023)
Many experts agree that crate training is an excellent way to improve your puppy’s life. But what is crate training, and how can it help your puppy?
A crate is a small space your puppy can be in for extended periods in your home and could be an enclosed crate or a play pen. This gives them a ‘safe space’ to retreat to, while helping with toilet training as well. (The puppy will seek a place outside the crate to go toilet.)
In This Article
- What Are the Benefits of Crate Training A Puppy?
- When Should You Start Crate Training A Puppy?
- Can You Crate Train An Older Dog?
- How Do You Train An Older Dog To Sleep In A Crate?
- How Do I Crate Train My Puppy? A Step By Step Process
- How Long Should My Puppy Stay In the Crate?
- How To Crate Train Your Puppy At Night
- How To Choose The Right Crate For Your Puppy
- Common Problems When Starting Out Crate Training
- What Not To Do During Crate Training
When Should You Start Crate Training a Puppy?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CRATE TRAINING?
Having a puppy crate eases many of the challenges of everyday life with a dog. The biggest motive for teaching a puppy to use a crate is that it’s an extremely handy tool for toilet training a puppy. As a bonus, it’s also the easiest form of transportation when your puppy needs to visit the vet, when you need to travel to a friend's house, or when you’re going on a road trip – just close the crate and away you go! Finally, a crate can act as a secure place to leave your puppy when you leave the home, ensuring that they can't get themselves in any trouble.
To explain why crate training a puppy is so important, we’ve created a detailed list outlining the benefits. Let’s get started.
1. Crate Training Helps A Puppy With HOUSE TRAINING
Crates are really useful for toilet training. Puppies are very clean by nature, and they don’t like to be near their own urine-soaked space any more than you do.
That’s why selecting an appropriate crate size is essential for successful training. If you choose a crate that’s too large, your puppy may see this as an invitation to pee in one corner and sleep in another. By using a crate, you’re teaching your puppy to control their bladder and display clear signals to let you know exactly when they need to go to the toilet.
When your puppy wants to go, they may whine and scratch at the crate. Whenever you see this behavior, it's important to act quickly by leading them to their designated toilet area outside. Remember, they can’t hold on for long!
2. Crate Training Can Help With Separation Anxiety:
To help puppies dealing with separation anxiety, it is important to establish a positive association with their crate. This will encourage them to use it more often, and teach them to be comfortable being away from you. Soon enough, they’ll view the crate as a safe space to retreat to whenever they feel the need.
You can help create this positive association by offering your puppy food or a verbal reward for entering the crate. Remember, don’t rush things. To avoid overwhelming your puppy, dogs need to be trained to be able to stay in a crate. You should also ensure your puppy’s had ample opportunity to go to the toilet before entering the crate
3. Crate Training Can Help To Prevent Bad Behaviour In Puppies:
With a new puppy, you’ll need to be on your guard constantly. Of course, because you’re not superhuman, this isn’t always realistic. One of the biggest perks of crate training is that it provides your puppy with some much-needed downtime while you go about your day.
This is where a crate comes in really handy. If you give them a couple of toys, some food, and a comfy bed for them to rest while you’re gone, they’ll be as happy as can be in there. However it is important to note that some dogs do not like being crated and need training in a step by step approach.
4. A Crate Provides A Safe Space For Your Puppy
Just like us, puppies need their own space. Giving them an environment where they feel secure to retreat is essential for their overall happiness and mental health.
This is harder than it looks! All we want to do when we get a new puppy in the door is to round up our family and friends for playtime. Introducing a puppy to the family is a magical and exciting time, so organizing an impromptu family gathering is pretty tempting …
Not so fast, though. While exposure’s good for young puppies learning socialization, it can be stressful and overwhelming if it’s too much, too soon. That’s why a crate can be great, because it gives them a space to retreat to when they’re feeling stressed.
And because it’s their own space, it’s important not to physically remove your puppy from the crate when they have chosen to retreat there. (Think how it would feel getting dragged out of your bedroom for no apparent reason.) If you need them to come right now, it’s time to get some treats and entice them. That’ll encourage them to emerge on their own.
WHEN SHOULD YOU START CRATE TRAINING A PUPPY?
We recommend crate training your puppy from 8 weeks old - pretty much as soon as you bring them home. This gives your puppy plenty of time to familiarise themselves with their crate which will help them feel more relaxed and settled in your home.
We suggest having your crate set up before the puppy even breaches the front door so that you can introduce them to their crate straight away. Keep the crate open during the day so that they can go in and out of it as they please. It’s important that they’re not kept in their crate for long periods of time in the beginning, as this needs to be a gradual process.
CRATE TRAINING IS BENEFICIAL FOR DOGS OF ALL AGES
There’s no reason why an older dog can’t be crate trained - it just may take a little longer to train them than it would a puppy. Here are a few benefits to crate training an older dog:
- Safety and preparedness in the case of an emergency
- Safe transportation when going on road trips or visiting the vet
- Provides safe confinement during illness
- Provides a safe place for your dog to relax during stressful or overwhelming situations
Because they’re more set in their ways, it often takes more time for an older dog to get used to its crate than it does a puppy. For a puppy, everything’s new and exciting – there's no routine or habits for them to fall into. Older dogs are creatures of habit, and that’s why most of their training will involve helping them unlearn old habits and form new ones.