- 1 How Crate training can improve your life (and your puppy’s, too!)
- 2 Crucial Tips
- 3 How long does the crate training process take?
- 4 Creating a crate training schedule
- 5 Steps to Crate-Train
- 6 Crate training to assist in potty training
- 7 Crate training when your puppy is always crying
- 8 When and how to stop crate training:
How Crate training can improve your life (and your puppy’s, too!)
Life with a new puppy is rarely easy, but the joy of having a new fur-ball in your life is incomparable! Dogs quickly become a part of your family, and as a result, they should be given the best treatment and love possible! A common question amount pup parents is How to Crate Train a Puppy?
Chose a crate that is the perfect size for your pup! Of course, your dog should be growing a lot in the first weeks and months of its life, but do not be tempted to buy a crate for the size your dog will be when it reaches its full size. A crate that is too big can cause your dog to think it can potty inside without soiling his bed and can create future problems when he is out and about in the house. On the contrary, a crate that is too small can be incredibly uncomfortable for your pet and cause stress, as well as internal cramping.
A puppy’s crate should be a place of comfort that they love! Going to their crate should be a positive experience, to ensure that your puppy loves his crate for many years to come! If it is not a place that they enjoy, it will be very hard to train them, and the entirety of their time in the crate will be spent whining, trying to escape, or being miserable. To avoid this, never punish your puppy by putting him in his crate, and always use a positive tone when crate training.
How long does the crate training process take?
Training time will vary from breed to breed, and dog to dog, but it there are some similarities between training times that can be noted.
Dogs that were rescued can have problems being crate trained if they came from a previous home of abuse, or if they were punished by being put into a crate. If this is your dog, it is important to have extra patience for your pup and make the process as joyful and excited as possible (with lots of treats, toys, and plush blankets). In every scenario, it is important to be attentive to your puppy’s needs and reactions!
In the “how- to” section of this article, we will cover the approximate time ranges for each step of the crate training process.
Creating a crate training schedule
You can begin crate training your dog as early as 9 weeks. It is possible to do this in a weekend, depending on the maturity of your dog, but do not rush the process, as this can make it happen incorrectly.
Start the process on a Friday evening when you will be home for the weekend. Set aside a few hours a day for introduction and experimenting. After your dog becomes comfortable with his crate, let your dog be in his crate for an hour at a time, and set a timer to make sure a pup is not forgotten! Begin to grow the time your puppy is left in the crate, but you must be aware of when the puppy needs to go pee.
Steps to Crate-Train
- Begin the process by putting the crate in an open space where you are and letting the dog explore the cage, sniff it out, and get a good look at it. Next, sit by the cage, and invite your pup to come near to the cage. Put a blanket and a t-shirt that carries your scent in the cage to make it a comforting place. At this point, you can put his favorite treat inside and let his head wander in. If your dog does not want to go all the way in, do not force it. Continue to put treats or his favorite toy further and further back in the cage until he wants to go all the way in. Do not even begin to close the door at this point. When you get to a place that your dog will go inside comfortably, you can move to the next step! You have completed the most important step of crate training.
- The introduction stage can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, and in severe cases, may take a day or two! Remember to be patient, especially if you have a rescue dog of which you do not know its history!
- The next step is feeding your dog its meals in the cage. Dogs tend to associate meal time with very positive thoughts, so this is a sure way to make your dogs cage a place of comfort and fun! Start by putting your dog’s meal in the cage and let your dog eat with the door open. When he is done, take him outside to potty. After this step becomes easy, let your dog eat inside with the door closed. Immediately after he is done feeding, let him out and take him to potty. Repeat this for a few meal times. After this, condition your dog to staying in the crate for up to 10 minutes after meal time. Do not reward whining by letting him out. If your dog is whining, it means you have progressed too quickly. This process should be gradual if you want to avoid problems!
- This stage could take anywhere from a day to a week, depending on how your dog reacts. Continue to be patient and make the experience fun and exciting by using plenty of treats and love!
- After meal time in the crate is achieved without a sign of stress, problems, or anxiety, move to letting your dog stay in the crate for up to 30 minutes at a time while you are home. Do not start with 30 minutes at the beginning! Start by leading your pup to the crate and using a specific word or phrase, followed by a treat when they go inside. Then leave the room for 10 minutes. Come back and let them out. Continue to progress until 30 minutes can pass peacefully without whining. Always take them outside after and reward good practice and behavior with a treat! If your dog is between 9 and 10 weeks, do not move past the 30-60- minute mark, as they are unable to control their bladders at this time. If your dog is older, you can increase the time according to their age. For 11- 14 week old puppies, 1 to 3 hours is suitable. For 15-16 weeks, 3 to 4 hours. And for 17+ weeks, 4-5 hours is good! Do not exceed 5 hours while your dog is still a puppy.
- This can take a week to a few weeks, depending on your pup! Make the process warm and never use a harsh tone with your puppy.
- Crating for long times
- When your pup is a little older, and comfortable staying in the crate for a couple hours at a time while you run errands, you may be ready to leave your pup in the crate while you go to work, or even while you sleep. Both should be done with caution and slowly, never leaving a puppy for more than 5 hours without a potty break. The first night can be hard, as they may be whining as they are not used to being apart from their litter, but do not reward this behavior. Always allow potty time before and after crating for over a few hours. Make sure your departures and arrivals are calm and collected, so as to not make them associate crating with big emotions. For crating at night, you may want to start by crating your dog near you, and then slowly moving the crate to where you desire it to be. Puppies usually need to pee at night, so make sure you can hear when they whine to go outside. Make sure to create a key phrase, like “go outside?” when they go to potty, so that you can judge if they need to potty in the night, or if they are simply whining.
- This step can be the longest of the four, but it is the final step to making your puppies crate a place of comfort and safety while you are away or sleeping! Do not progress to fast, and always keep a positive attitude around your pup! You are well on your way to a stress-free life with your puppy and a dog well trained for the future!
Crate training to assist in potty training
Crate training when your puppy is always crying
When and how to stop crate training:
Though crate training is a great tool for puppies in their first months, some owners will choose to continue to keep their dogs in a crate when they are gone during the day, or in the night while they sleep for many different reasons. It is best to eventually move dogs away from crates, as they should come to a place in their training that they can freely wander about the house, or a specified area, without problems. This will also take time, so be patient!!
Some owners will choose to keep their dog crate trained for its life. This can be a helpful decision for some, and this is in no way abusive or hurtful to the dog. In some cases, it can even protect the dog from harming itself. If your dog struggles with separation anxiety, crate training may be an important and helpful tool in calming your dog while you are away. When a dog has a contained space where they can stay, they can feel calmer and safer while you are away. When a dog destroys the house, it is never just so they can bother you. There is always a reason behind this, and it can usually because they miss you or have anxiety. Crate training can prevent this from happening, and save you stress and money! This is not recommended for all dogs, as they should come to a place of freedom, where their crate is a place they go voluntarily. If your dog has severe anxiety, try and see a veterinary or dog behaviorist.