Top 5 Tips for Crate Training a Puppy

Author
April Brightman
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at
·
September 19, 2023
June 21, 2023
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6 minute read
Updated By
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Expert Reviewed By:
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at
Author
April Brightman
-
at
·
June 21, 2023
·
6 minute read
Updated By
·
Expert Reviewed By:
-
at
Discover the essential tips for successful crate training your puppy with our top 5 expert recommendations. Ensure a smooth and stress-free process to help your furry friend adapt and thrive in their new environment.

Tips for crate training a puppy can be a big help when you’ve got a new four-legged bundle of joy on your hands. Crate training can help puppies learn to control their bladder, making house training much easier. Being comfortable in their crate gives your dog a safe place to be when you’re away, it’s time to rest, and to keep them from getting into mischief. 

Crate Training a Puppy

Crate training a puppy is an effective method to establish a safe and comfortable space for your furry friend. Start by introducing the crate gradually, using positive reinforcement and treats. Make the crate inviting with soft bedding and toys. Remember to never use the crate for punishment, and gradually increase the duration of crate time to help your puppy associate it with relaxation and security.

Tips for Crate Training a Puppy

Puppies are adorable, boundless energy. Sometimes this can mean training a puppy is a bit of a challenge. Crate training a puppy can be tough because they’ll likely want to be wherever you are, whether you’re home or not. They may whine and cry at first, but it’s in their best interest and yours to get your dog comfortable spending time in a crate. 

1. Choosing the Right Crate

When it comes to choosing the right crate for your dog there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ll want to consider the size of your dog and the amount of space you have for a crate. The crate you choose needs to be big enough for your dog to be able to sit, stand, turn around, and lay down comfortably.

2. Make the Crate Comfortable for Your Puppy

The crate may be a place where your dog ends up spending a lot of time, so you want to make sure it’s a comfortable place for them to rest. Putting one of their dog beds or a cozy blanket in the crate for them to snuggle up with can help them feel more relaxed. Stuffed animals or favorite toys can also be added to make the crate more appealing for your pup.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is using a reward or an incentive to encourage your dog to do something. In this case, you want to reward your dog for good behavior when they exhibit it in their crate. Using treats and verbal praise as well as rewards like playtime with a fun toy will show your dog they’re doing a good job with crate training. Avoid giving rewards or praise for behavior like whining or scratching, and reinforce behavior like remaining calm and waiting patiently in the crate.

4. Slowly Extend the Time Period

When you first start crate training, keep the amount of time your dog is in the crate very short. Once they start to get comfortable with the crate and have a good understanding of what’s expected, slowly extend the time period your dog is in the crate. Keep doing this gradually and work up to a few hours at a time before a whole work day or overnight.

5. Avoid Using the Crate as Punishment

The crate should be a comfortable place for your dog where they’re happy to spend time. Some dogs actually choose to sleep or relax in their crate because they know it’s their own space. Using the crate as a punishment will allow your dog to associate the crate with something negative and make them want to start avoiding it. This can be trouble when crate time becomes essential and your dog doesn’t want to go in.

How Early Should You Crate Train a Puppy?

For the most part, puppies can start crate training as soon as you bring them home. The earlier you’re able to introduce crate training the better. When dogs become used to time in the crate at a young age, it makes it much easier for you to utilize crate training as they get older. Just keep in mind that young pups need frequent breaks, positive reinforcement, and patience to feel comfortable with their crate.

Is it OK to Let a Puppy Cry in Their Crate at Night?

It can be tough to hear your puppy cry when they’re still getting the hang of crate training. Leaving them in the crate to cry can be important for teaching them to self-soothe and become comfortable in the crate, but leaving them to cry for too long can have a negative effect on their experience with a crate. They might start to associate it with stress or being trapped, and therefore won’t want to go into their crate without some resistance.

On the other hand, letting your puppy out of their crate as soon as they cry will teach them that crying gets them let out. Start with short crate sessions and try to avoid reacting when your puppy cries until they’ve settled down. Reward the calm behavior with treats or praise, and be consistent with practice.

Crate Training Your Puppy with Pettable Academy

You don’t have to take on crate training your puppy alone. Pettable Academy has online dog training classes designed to be completed from the comfort of home. You and your dog will have access to self-paced lessons created by a certified dog trainer with the Pettable seal of approval. Browse Pettable’s training courses for your ultimate dog training resource and get started with training your dog today.

Meet the author:
April Brightman
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April Brightman is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for traveling and hiking with her rescue pup, Marley. She's written for pet-centered sites like Outward Hound, as well as outdoorsy adventure brands like BearVault, Hipcamp, and Explorer Chick.

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