You may have heard that crate training is a mean way to punish your puppy who has done nothing wrong but I can assure you that it is not cruel at all and should not be used as a punishment. Actually, veterinarians and breeders even recommend crate training for all dogs starting as soon as possible because there are almost nothing but benefits that come from it when used correctly.
Giving your dog their very own bedroom where they can rest and sleep will actually help them feel safe and secure, especially in a new environment. In the wild, dogs search out and rest in dens that allow them to be safe from danger, so being in a crate is a natural feeling for dogs.
It is also extremely helpful with house training as well since dogs won’t want to dirty their beds.
Now first things first you must choose the best dog crate for your beloved canine friend. It should be well-ventilated and large enough for your puppy to stand up, lie down, and be able to turn around comfortably in. The crate will need to grow as your puppy grows so you can purchase a crate that is the perfect size for your dog’s expected full-grown size but use a divider to make the crate smaller while your puppy is still small.
Size matters because if the crate is too small then your canine friend will be uncomfortable, while on the flip side if the crate is too big then your puppy might still have an accident in the crate and that is a nasty habit to undo.
After choosing the perfect crate, next you must choose a location for it. A place near the family and in an area where you spend lots of time will be perfect for your puppy to want to be.
Now the biggest goal with crate training is to always associate positive experiences and feelings with the crate. Start by lining the crate with blankets and toys to make it cozy. You can even cover the crate with a lightweight blanket to create a “den-like” environment but make sure it is still ventilated.
Initially, you should let your puppy smell and explore the crate by themselves and have them walk into it by themselves by placing treats or food at the far end. Feeding your dog their meals in the crate as well will help them learn to enjoy the space.
Bring your puppy into the crate for naps and quiet-time breaks so they can learn to destress and unwind in the crate. Start putting your puppy in for 10 minute increments and then start increasing the time as your puppy feels calm. Offer treats when they are inside and toys to keep them busy.
Whenever you let your puppy out, take them for a walk to stretch and learn he must do his business outside. A good rule of thumb is to teach your puppy that bathroom time comes after crate time and always outside. Praise your dog every time they use the bathroom outside.
Remember to never use the crate as a punishment or to leave your puppy in the crate all day. Both of these situations will make crate training nearly impossible. The crate should be a peaceful place your puppy can retreat to and never be afraid of.
Dogs should never be left in a crate for longer than four or five hours during the day. If they are in the crate for too long they can feel trapped and isolated. You don’t want your puppy injuring themselves if they try to escape the crate.
You will need a lot of patience and a lot of treats to crate train your dog but believe me when I say it is well worth it in the end and will help you create a positive and loving environment with your puppy.
Paws. (2019.) How to crate train your dog. Retrieved on May 5, 2019 from, https://www.paws.org/library/dogs/training/how-to-crate-train-your-dog/
How to crate train a puppy. Retrieved on May 9, 2019 from, https://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-training/how-to-crate-train-a-puppy/