To a lot of people the thought of ‘crate’ training can be horrible. Think of a crate like a kennel or a bedroom. These things aren’t so terrible. A crate is a safe place that your dog will learn to enjoy being in. Also dogs that are crate trained tend to be less stressed when they need to come for hospital stays.
Choosing a Crate
There are many different types of crates, wooden, wire cages, soft and collapsible. However, the main issue with choosing a crate is the sizing. Be aware that your puppy will grow and you may have to buy a few different sizes. Alternatively buy a bigger size and block of some of the area. Please ensure that blocking off the area is safely done and will not collapse on your puppy if they jump or bump into the sides.
The crate should be big enough so the puppy can comfortably stand, stretch, lie down and sit.
Firstly puppies should NOT be locked in a crate without any training. Puppies need to learn that the crate is a great place to be. This is done by feeding your puppy in the crate and placing your puppy’s toys and bedding in there. The crate should act like a den or a little puppy palace. Your puppy should want to be in there.
Crate training needs to be done slowly as pushing your puppy too fast can establish a negative experience towards the crate. Once the puppy is happy to relax and eat in the crate, give them a long lasting treat or a treat toy (Kong toys). Begin to slowly close the doors. This may take multiple sessions. If your puppy starts to become nervous or scared just leave them to enjoy their treat with the door open. Once the door can be fully shut, do not lock it, allow your puppy to push the door open if they feel uncomfortable. Slowly increase the time the door is locked for in each session; 10 min, 15 min, 30 min etc.
How Crate Training will help with toileting
Just like humans puppies will not want to toilet in their bedding. Crating your puppy at night will give them an ultimatum; to toilet in their bed or to hold on. DO NOT expect results over one or two nights. This will take time for your puppy to learn. For this to work, the floor of the crates needs to be covered fully by the bedding for the puppy.
CRATES SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS A TIME OUT AREA – This will associate a negative experience. Your dog will not like going to their crate.