Crate Training

A Complete Guide on Proper, Safe and Effective Puppy Crate Training

Having a puppy often brings joys to families. That is, before the puppy starts wreaking havoc in your home. This is why it’s a good idea to train your puppy as early as possible. There are a lot of training methods out there, and we’ll tell you why crate training is one of the first things that you should do.

What is this Method?

Simply put, it’s training your puppy to love the crate and feel comfortable inside of it. This type of training can serve as a tool to protect yourself, your home, and your puppy.

The Benefits of this Method

Why even bother to train your puppy to go into the crate on command? It’s because there are a lot of benefits to crate training. Here are some of them:

A Crate Is A Good Place To Confine Your Puppy When Needed

  • Let’s say that you have company coming over. Surely, you wouldn’t want your puppy “welcoming” your guests with barks, whines, pee and poop? Of course, putting your pet in your backyard is not an option for a lot of pet owners especially if the weather is not cooperating. If not properly trained, your puppy will be barking and whining the whole time while inside the crate.
  • With proper crate training, your puppy will be more than happy to go inside the crate as you play host to the party of the year.

You Can Move Your Pet Around When Needed

  • A good crate is very portable. This means that you can move your pet from one room to another with little to no trouble. How is this helpful? Let’s say that you’re cleaning your home and of course, you don’t want your puppy running around. You can place your puppy in one room and move the crate to another when you have to clean that room.
  • This is also helpful if you have company over.

It Prevents Your Puppy From Chewing On Your Favorite Slippers

  • Let’s face it. Puppies will chew anything they can get their paws on. You can’t really stop them from doing that unless you have your eyes on them 24/7, which of course is impossible.
  • With proper crate training, you can save your slippers, shoes, furniture and sanity by establishing some “ground rules” when it comes to chewing. You can train your puppy to only chew on things that you provide for them inside the crate. This is a good compromise since puppies need to chew on things anyway. But in the process, you’re establishing good behavior and not encouraging your pet to be Sir Chew-A-Lot whenever it wants to.

Crate Training Can Help Protect Your Puppy

  • Speaking of chewing, electrocution is one of the leading causes of deaths in puppies. This is because they chew on wires and they get electrocuted in the process. This usually happens around Christmas time when puppies couldn’t resist chewing on Christmas lights.
  • You can also stop your puppy from accidentally ingesting poison which happens a lot too. This is because puppies are very curious animals.
  • While inside the crate, you can also protect your pet from your bigger pets. This is important if you’re just introducing your new puppy to the family.

It Makes Traveling Stress-free

  • Have you ever traveled with a pet that hasn’t undergone crate training? There’s a good chance that your pet hated it since it’s not used to being in a crate. This is why you should train your puppy as early as possible so when the time comes that you need to travel with your pet, your pet will be safe and comfortable inside the crate.
  • The feeling of comfort is very important when you’re taking your pet to the vet. The last thing that you need is to have a more agitated pet by the time you arrive at the vet.

You Can Use The Crate To House-train Your Puppy

  • By instinct, dogs wouldn’t soil the area where they sleep in. You can use crate training to encourage your pet to “hold it in” until you allow it to go outside your home.

It Can Be The Start Of More Complex Obedience Training

  • Once your pet is trained to go inside the crate on command, obedience training will be easier. This is because your pet will have a comfortable and familiar place to rest in and recharge in between sessions. This is also important later on if you plan to enter your pet in competitions.

NOTE: It’s important that you don’t use the crate to punish your pet. If you do this, your pet won’t feel safe and comfortable inside the crate.

Things To Consider When Buying A Crate

Now that you know the benefits of crate training, it’s time for you to buy one. Of course, don’t buy the first one that you see. Make sure that you consider these things before buying one:

  • The Type

You generally have two options – a plastic crate and an all-wire crate. The plastic crate generally has just a few holes on the sides, with a wire mesh serving as the door. On the other hand, an all-wire crate is often of the mesh type so you can see everything inside and your pet can see everything outside.

Which one’s better? It’s a matter of personal preference, really. But obviously, an all-wire mesh type crate provides more ventilation, so keep that in mind if you live in a hot and humid place.

  • The Size

Make sure that you buy one that will fit your puppy’s adult size even while you’re still crate training your puppy. Do research on the average height, width and length of your puppy’s breed when it reaches adulthood and base your decision on that. Make sure that there’s extra room for your puppy to move around once it becomes a full-grown dog.

  • Accessories

In order to succeed with crate training, you need to buy additional accessories like bedding, chew toys and water bowls.

How To Start Crate Training

It’s important that you don’t overwhelm your puppy so you have to introduce the crate to it first. Here’s a step by step guide on how to do it:

  1. Place the crate inside the room with you and your puppy. Make sure that the door is open. Give your puppy a few minutes to be comfortable in the fact that it’s inside the room.
  2. Place a trail of his favorite treats that lead to inside of the crate. Allow your puppy to consume the treats in and around of the crate.
  3. Make the crate as comfortable as possible. Place your puppy’s favorite bedding inside of it. You can also place your puppy’s favorite toys inside the crate.
  4. Place your pet’s food and water bowls inside the crate. Don’t close the crate just yet while your pet is eating and drinking inside.
  5. Once you feel that your pet is comfortable inside, close the door and feed your pet with some treats. Afterwards, open the door again. Start with closing the door for about 10 seconds and increase the time as your pet’s level of comfort also increases.
  6. Once your pet is really comfortable inside, it’s time to up the ante on your crate training by leaving the room. Listen to whines and barks. Again, start with just a few seconds and take it from there.
  7. Come up with a command like “crate”, “inside the crate”, “bed time” and the likes. Reinforce the command as soon as your pet is entering the crate. With repetition, your pet will understand the command.

Tips to Improve Crate Training

In most cases, the steps above are enough to train your puppy to be comfortable inside the crate. But if it’s not working, do the following in order to encourage your puppy to love the crate:

  • Give praise and/or treats by “levels”. For example, give praise when your puppy looks at it. Later on, only issue the praise when your puppy approaches it. You can then level it up by only giving praise or treats if your pet enters the crate.
  • Once your puppy starts entering the crate expecting a treat, wait until your puppy sits down inside and feel comfortable before giving the treat. You can then start closing the door and giving your pet some treats through the wire mesh.
  • Soon enough, your puppy will see the crate as the praise and/or treat itself. You may need to repeat this process several times until your puppy sees the crate as a comfortable place that it wants to be in.

Some Rules

Here are some rules to protect your puppy during and after crate training:

  • Remove your puppy’s collar.
  • Don’t place your pet inside the crate for more than 5 hours except during bed time.
  • Be the boss. Once trained, don’t take out your pet when it starts to whine or bark unless you see that there’s something wrong.
  • Don’t go into the habit of crating your pet and then leaving. Don’t allow your pet to associate the crate with you leaving.

Follow these tips and rules and crate training will be a success. You and your puppy will be thankful that you did.