Crate training is an essential part of owning a puppy. It makes your life easier and makes the dog happier.
Dogs are naturally den creatures so they like a small, safe place to lay down at night.
What is Crate Training?
Crate training is something that every puppy owner should consider.A crate is a small space that your dog can call his own. Unfortunately at the minute he doesn’t know that it is his…And in most cases he won’t like being locked away in it at first.
Although most puppies do naturally like small cosy spaces they are often anxious the first time you put them in the crate.
For this reason you need to train your puppy to accept his crate and accept that it is his safe, comfy place to take a nap. And more importantly for you, he needs to accept that once he is locked in the crate, no amount of whining will get him out!
Your dog will grow to love his crate in time and he will realize that it is his special space, that he is safe in. But in order to get to this stage, you need to crate train him.
Is Crate Training Cruel?
We could debate this point all day. And although crates are used throughout the world to house dogs, some people consider it a cruel way to keep a puppy. IT ISN’T CRUEL. Dogs do not look at the crate as a little prison. All evidence suggests that dogs are perfectly happy in their little crates, and in fact often love to get in there.
The Advantages to Crate Training a Puppy
- A crate gives your puppy something and somewhere to call his own. Puppies who have a crate will settle in faster.
- A crate is more like a dogs natural den environment than a basket is.
- Dogs don’t generally like to mess their own beds, a crate is only being enough for the bed so the crate should in theory remain clean and dry.
- The crate is a great aid to toilet training your puppy.
- A crate will keep your puppy away from dangerous small items that he can choke on.
- It provides a safe place where your puppy can relax away from the hectic home that most families have from time to time.
How to Crate Train a Puppy
The first thing to do is to choose a suitable crate. A common mistake some people make is to buy the biggest crate they can find. This sounds like a good idea but defeats the whole object of the crate.
The crate should be just big enough to fit his bed in and nothing else. if the crate is too big then your puppy will sleep in his bed and simply climb out and do his business in the empty end of the crate.
You will need to buy two crates throughout your puppies life, one for when he is a new born and a second for when he gets a little older. Although you can actually buy crates with a removable section and use the same one for when he gets a little bigger.
Once you have your new crate and have brought it home you need to get your puppy to accept it and move on in!
For the first few days your puppy may whine and cry when he is put in his new home. Its extremely important that you understand that no harm is coming to your puppy and that he is not under any stress due to the crate. He is simply craving human contact. If he gets a reaction to his crying it is going to be very difficult to stop it. You should ignore him and only let him out when he is being quiet.
The last thing you want is for him to relate crying to getting what he wants.
The puppy needs to associate his crate with pleasurable experiences. You can achieve this by always making pleasurable things happen when he is inside his crate. You can feed him when he is in there and leave little treats in there for him and make it a great, comfortable place to be. Put a comfortable bed in there with a nice blanket.
You should never use the crate as a punishment, it is his home, not his prison.
It usually takes around a week for a puppy to accept their new home and feel safe and comfortable in it but during the first few nights you will likely need to get up and let him out.
Common Problems Crate Training
The main problem with crate training arises when people buy the wrong size crate. The crate needs to be just big enough for the bed. Dogs won’t fowl their own bed so if the entire space is their bed, they won’t fowl. Buy the correct size crate!
Another common problem people complain about is the puppy crying when they are in the crate. This is almost always caused by either anxiety or by taught crying. Anxiety will usually only be a problem for the first few days and will pass, Taught crying occurs when the puppies owner has reacted to him crying in the past and has learned that crying equals attention from the one he loves. You should avoid giving him attention when he cries in his crate.
Crate Training Tips
- The puppy needs to learn to love his crate.
- Make every second in his crate a great experience.
- Leave treats in his crate for him.
- Make the crate as comfortable as possible.
- The crate should be his space only, it should be a safe space just for him.
- Never use the crate as a punishment.
- Little and often is the key to success, don’t lock him in there for long periods at first and gradually increase the length of time.