How to crate train your puppy
Puppies don't naturally like being on their own and this can lead to nervous and destructive behavior. Crate training helps your puppy to feel at home, even when you're not there.
Why is crate training important?
What are the benefits of crate training?
There are many good reasons to crate train your puppy:
Crate training is a good way to limit your puppy’s access to the house before they learn the house rules
Once comfortable in their crate, your puppy can be safely left overnight, or alone at home
When familiarized with the crate, your puppy no longer feels nervous or abandoned when left on their own
Soiling, chewing, and destructive behavior is reduced
Your puppy has a place all of their own where they feel safe, so they can retreat at any time
You can use the crate to easily transport your puppy to the vets or other places
How to choose a crate?
Getting used to the crate
- Place the crate in a room where the family often spends time together
- Line it with a soft blanket
- With the door open, slowly introduce your puppy to the crate
- Place a trail of treats leading inside to encourage them to explore
- Alternatively, you can place their favorite toy in the middle of the crate
Feeding in the crate
- Start feeding your puppy regular meals near the crate
- If your puppy is already happy with the crate, place their dish inside the crate
- If your dog is nervous, start feeding him outside the crate and gradually place his dish further inside, each time
- When your puppy is comfortable eating inside the crate, slowly close the door. Food puzzles can be great ways to increase meal times in the crate
- Slowly build up the time the door is closed after each meal
Sitting in the crate
- When your puppy is happy spending time inside the crate, try leaving them for short periods while you are at home
- Call your puppy to the crate and give them a treat
- Give them a command, such as "kennel up" and when they enter the crate, praise them and give them another treat
- Provide your puppy with a toy or food puzzle to engage them. When you are sure they are calm, slowly leave the room
- Slowly increase the amount of time you are away each time until your puppy can be left alone, without whining
Staying in the crate
- When your puppy is happy to spend 30 minutes or more in the crate without becoming nervous, you can leave them in the crate when you are away from home
- Always praise your puppy calmly and give them a treat before leaving them in the crate
- Make departures quick and matter-of-fact, not emotional
- When you return don’t respond to your puppy in an excited way – it’s important to make this separation feel normal
- You should not crate your puppy for more than four or five hours per day. The time should be built up gradually, as most puppies will need to urinate at least once in this time
Sleeping in the crate overnight
- Introduce your puppy to the crate from an early age
- At first move your puppy’s crate near your bedroom – this keeps them from feeling isolated
- If your puppy whines at night, they may need to be let out to go to the bathroom
- Praise your puppy when they enter the crate and give them a treat
- When your dog is comfortable with sleeping in their crate, you can move it elsewhere in the house
Puppy training and play
Learning and play are vital to puppy development and provide them with an understanding of the rules of life. Training should start as early as possible while your puppy naturally has an excellent capacity for learning.
How to socialize a puppy
Socialization is one of the most important steps in ensuring your puppy grows into a well-balanced, confident adult. It's never too early to start gently introducing your pet to new experiences, people, and animals.