THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CRATE TRAINING YOUR PUPPY
Crate training has proven to be an extremely effective tool for training a puppy. Many owners feel guilty about crate training their puppy, as placing them in a crate means confining them in a restricted place. However, when taught correctly, the crate can actually be seen as a safe haven for puppies - they have their own private den to retreat to whenever they are feeling overwhelmed.
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
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CRATE TRAINING?
Having a puppy crate eases many challenges of everyday life with a dog. The biggest motive for teaching a puppy to use a crate is that it’s proven to be an extremely handy tool when it comes to potty training a puppy and is 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.
Understanding the need for crate training is the first step, which is why we’ve created this detailed list on the benefits of crate training a puppy:
1. Crate Training Helps A Puppy With HOUSE TRAINING
The reasoning behind why a crate is so useful for house training is because puppies are very clean by nature, and they don’t like to be near their own urine-soaked space any more than you do. Selecting an appropriate crate size is essential for this as a crate that is too large may be seen by your puppy as an invitation to pee in one corner and sleep in another. Using a crate helps to teach your puppy to control their bladder and use signals to let you know that they need to go to potty.
When your puppy wants to go, they may proceed to whine and scratch at the crate. When your puppy demonstrates this kind of behavior, it's important that you act quickly and lead them to area they go potty outside.
2. Crate Training Can Help With Separation Anxiety:
Crate training can be beneficial for puppies who suffer from separation anxiety. Indeed, separation anxiety is becoming more common because pet owners were spending more time at home and are now returning to a more standard work schedule that their pets are not used to.
Creating a positive associating with the crate will encourage your puppy to want to use it and view the crate as a safe space to retreat to when needed. This positive association could be in the form of a food or verbal reward for entering the crate. In addition, initial sessions in the crate should be short and you should ensure that your puppy has had ample opportunity to eliminate before entering the crate. This will help avoid separation anxiety, which is easier to avoid than to untrain.
3. Crate Training Can Help To Prevent Bad Behaviour In Puppies:
A new puppy means that you need to be on watch constantly, which is not always realistic. One of the biggest perks of crate training is that it provides a space for your puppy to have some much-needed downtime while you attend to your day.
Leaving your puppy unsupervised can often be detrimental to your household. Puppies can become destructive when they’re left alone for too long without you around to entertain them. This is where a crate comes in handy: a couple of toys, some food and a comfy bed for them to rest while you’re gone and they’ll be much happier for it.
4. A Crate Provides A Safe Space For Your Puppy
Just like us, puppies need their space sometimes as well. Giving them an environment where they feel safe to retreat is essential for their overall happiness and mental health.
All we want to do when a new puppy (or any animal for that matter) is brought home is to round up our family and friends and introduce them. The introduction of a puppy to the family is a magical and exciting time, and it can be tempting to invite many friends and family to introduce them. While exposure is good for young puppies to learn socialization, it can also be stressful and overwhelming. That is why a crate can be beneficial, because it gives them a space to retreat to when they are feeling stressed. To that end, it is important not to physically remove your puppy from the crate when they have chosen to retreat there… Need them to come now? Get some treats and encourage them to come out 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.
CAN YOU CRATE TRAIN AN OLDER DOG?
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
HOW DO YOU TRAIN AN OLDER DOG TO SLEEP IN A CRATE
The key to training an older dog to sleep in a crate is to have patience.
It often takes more time for an older dog to get used to its crate than it does a puppy. Everything is new and exciting for a puppy - there's no routine or habits for them to fall into. Older dogs however are creatures of habit, which is why the majority of their training will consist of helping them to unlearn old habits and introduce new ones.