Crate Training Your Puppy

Crate Training Your Puppy

What is Crate Training?

Crate Training can be a very helpful management tool when introducing your puppy into his new home. Puppies don’t like being left alone, and can express this dislike through destructive behaviour. If crate training is done properly, it can help reduce unwanted behaviour and give your puppy somewhere to relax where he can feel safe and secure.

Training your puppy to spend some time alone and rest in his crate, even when you don’t necessarily need them to, means that your puppy will already be comfortable and content when you do need him to go into his crate. Dogs tend to learn very fast and love having their own space to rest, eat, and play toys. So, it’s a win-win for you and for puppy!

As an experienced dog owner myself, all my dogs are crate trained and love being in their crate, whether it is for some shut-eye or simply to relax and chew on a toy. Take a look at the blog post I’ve put together below on the best ways to help crate train your new pup.

Dawn Greer, Professional Dog Trainer

Dawn has been working and training with dogs for over 15 years. She has a Certificate in Canine Studies and a Certificate in Canine Behaviour & Psychology.

She is an advocate for the use of positive reward-based training methods, and enjoys watching how each dog learns, what motivates them, and how they react to challenges. She participates in many online training courses with trainers across the globe about various aspects of play training, obedience, and agility.

She currently shares her life with her dogs ranging in age from 16 years to 12 weeks. She has represented Ireland at the World Agility Open and the European Open Championships and has also represented Ireland in the International Agility Event at Crufts. She is a spokesperson for the Petmania Puppy Club where she has demonstrated her knowledge and expertise in obedience training young puppies.

Benefits of Crate Training

1. They Are Safe In Their Crate

It is unsafe for a puppy to be left unsupervised, especially before they have learned the house rules. They like to explore the world with their mouth, so could easily become curious if they see cables or furniture. If the puppy must be left alone, they are completely safe in their crate, leaving you with peace of mind when you’re away.

2. Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Once your puppy is used to his crate, he will no longer feel anxious or frightened when left alone for short periods. He will feel happy and relaxed in his crate, chewing on his toys or treats, meaning no destructive behaviours or whining.

A chihuahua puppy sleeping in her crate
3. Great For Visits To The Vets/Groomers

If your dog isn’t used to being in a crate this could spell trouble for when he needs to visit the vets or the groomers. If in the vets for a long period, he will most likely be left in a crate. This can cause a lot of worry and anxiety in your pup which will manifest itself into whining, barking, and lashing out. Crate training at home will help quell any of these behaviours.

4. Transportation

A crate is a safe way of transporting your dog in the car, making it ideal when you want to bring him for walks in the park or on the beach.

Think Positive!

To ensure that the crate becomes a place where the puppy feels comfortable and loves to be, it is essential to make positive associations with the crate from the get-go. It should be a nice, safe place for your puppy to go to, but also a fun place too. The more positively he thinks of his crate, the more inclined he will be to go there when you need him to.

It is a good idea to feed your puppy in his crate, and this reinforces positive associations. You could even leave puppy treats or a Kong, a fun treat dispensing toy, in the crate if the puppy will be left alone for short periods. This will keep him busy and occupied while also nurturing his chewing urges (meaning he’s not chewing on things he shouldn’t be!)

Small dog crate with a round bed, some toys and treats inside perfect for crate training

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Crate Training

  • Don’t use the crate for time-out or punishment, as this can create negative feelings around the crate. Always make sure his experiences in the crate are positive – if anything, praise him, feed him treats or give him more attention than usual while he is in the crate.
  • Don’t keep your dog restricted to his crate for longer than he can be expected to hold his bladder or bowels, and this can lead to unwanted accidents. Puppies should not be going toilet in the crate. They may only be able to be in the crate for a few hours at a time.
  • Don’t ever force your dog into the crate. Instead, encourage him to come on his own terms, by placing his food, treats or toys in his crate. This will also help reinforce the positive associations.

Picking a Crate

Crates are available in all different shapes and sizes. The crate should be big enough for your puppy to comfortably stand up and turn around in, even as he grows. Be careful not to select a crate too big however, as if the space inside is too large, your puppy may relieve on one side of the crate and sleep in the other side.

It may be a good idea to get 2 crates for your dog, a large one for where they sleep and relax and a smaller one for when they are being fed.

Our team in store would be more than happy to help you pick out the perfect crate for your little pup and give you the best advice on how to get your puppy used to the crate.


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