Crate Training Your Puppy
Crate training your puppy should always be a positive experience. It should be a happy place for your puppy to relax, where only good things happen. Use a special toy or treat when your puppy is inside of their crate, that they only get inside the crate.
Encourage your puppy to go in the crate every hour or two when training, leaving them inside for a short period of time. Place the crate in an area where you will be. When it is time for bed, move the crate to your bedroom.
Exploring the Crate
A crate can be a place where your puppy feels safe. Begin by opening the crate door or doors and allow your puppy the time to explore it on their own. Place a blanket or a pad in the crate along with a couple of toys to play with.
Some puppies will check it out immediately and others will not. Walk away from the crate and soon your puppy may decide to explore it. If not, place a tasty treat inside the crate to encourage your dog to go inside.
Inside the Crate
The goal is to get your puppy comfortable walking into the crate. It will take some time for some puppies to feel comfortable inside the crate. Encourage your puppy, but never force your puppy into the crate. Keep all associations with the crate positive.
Feeding Your Puppy
If necessary you can try feeding your puppy inside of the crate to help your puppy get used to the crate. Place their bowl of food inside the crate, all the way in the back. If they go inside to get the food, close the door while they eat.
If your puppy won’t go inside, move the bowl closer to the door and move the bowl backwards a little each time they eat until they are comfortable being inside the crate. At this point you can close the door while your puppy eats.
Praise Your Puppy
The first time your puppy eats with the door closed, open the door when they are finished and praise them for being in the crate. The next time you can leave the door closed for a brief period of time and then open the door.
Slowly increase the amount of time the door is closed before opening the door. If your puppy whines inside the crate, do not let them out until they stop whining. When they stop whining, open the door. Do not praise your puppy for whining.
The next step is call your puppy over to their crate and give them a treat or praise. Give your puppy the command word, Kennel Up, and use a treat to show your puppy that you want them to go inside the crate.
Once they are inside the crate, close the door and sit with them for a few minutes. Then open the door and praise your puppy. Repeat this process adding in a few minutes each time that you are away from the crate.
Leaving Your Home
When you can crate your puppy successfully for 20 minutes or more, you will be able to leave your home for short periods of time. Slowly add more minutes to the time that you are gone.
When you return home, enter calmly and don’t acknowledge your puppy if they bark or whine. If they are quiet, you can open their crate calmly, without excitement. Don’t make a big deal out of returning home, instead remain calm to help keep your puppy calm.
Never Do This
– Do not close the crate door if your puppy is not relaxed
– Never push your puppy into the crate
– Never use the crate as a punishment
– Don’t take a whining puppy out of the crate
The size of your puppy’s crate will depend on how big your puppy will be when they are fully grown. Buy a crate that has a divider inside so you can adjust the size of the crate for your growing puppy.
You puppy should be able to stand up, stretch, and move around a bit. Don’t put your puppy inside of a large crate without a divider. They will use one side to lay down and the other side to relive themselves.
A crate can be a wonderful positive experience and your puppy will see it as a safe place of comfort when you keep it positive. Your puppy will be safe and stay out of trouble when you are away.
Crate training your puppy is going to take a lot of patience on your part. It is up to you to take all the time that your puppy needs to adjust to it’s new home and surroundings. Remember to keep it positive and be patient!
Leave a comment below or share a story about your puppy or dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.