Whether or not your want to crate train your puppy is a decision you will need to make when you get a puppy. Whether you choose to crate train your puppy is entirely up to you and what works best for your lifestyle. Before you make that decision, you should consider the benefits of crate training and how it could help make the transition easier for your puppy as he or she adjusts to their new home. In this post, we'll go over the benefits of crate training and give you 5 easy steps on crate training your puppy. Here we go!
There are many benefits to crate training your puppy. First, it gives them their own dedicated, den-like safe space to retreat to when stressed or tired. Their crate or kennel will quickly become their favorite place to rest and stay when you're not home. Second, it helps with sleep schedules and potty training. And third, crate training your puppy not only gives them their own dedicated space, but it also helps them grow up to be obedient and well-behaved dogs. Learn more about the benefits of kennels and crates for your puppy here.
The first step in crate training your puppy is finding a crate that's perfectly sized for your puppy. When choosing the size of your puppy's crate, you'll want to make sure your puppy has just enough room to walk in, turn around, sit, and lay down comfortably. A good rule of thumb is to measure your dog from their snout to the base of their tail, then add about 3-4 inches in length. Use this measurement to determine what size kennel or crate you should buy.
Try not to purchase a kennel or crate that's too large. If you have a crate that's too large, your puppy is more likely to have accidents since the space is there. So, keep size in mind when looking for the best crate for your pup.
At Petmate, we carry a wide variety of dog crates and kennels so that you can find the perfect one for your pup. Choose from durable plastic kennels, sturdy wire crates, or soft portable pop-up shelters.
The next step in the crate training process is setting it up in your home. Location is key here. If you have a very young puppy and it's the first couple of nights in your home, you'll most likely want to set up their crate in your room or wherever you sleep at night. As your puppy gets older and gets more comfortable with being left alone, you can move it somewhere else in your home if needed.
We recommend placing your puppy's crate in a room where you and your family spend time, like the living room. Just be sure to set it out of the way of foot traffic and away from fireplaces, vents, electrical cords, or curtains.
To make the crate as comfortable as possible for your puppy, add a kennel mat inside so that your puppy has something soft to rest on. When you're home, you can also add some toys, treats, and a small bowl of water to make it more inviting. But if you leave, be sure to remove the bowl of water so that your puppy doesn't have any accidents while you're gone.
Once your puppy's crate is set up, it's time to introduce them to it. This is a process that requires a lot of patience and care. Start out by letting your puppy explore the crate on its own in the beginning. Leave the door open and throw in some toys and treats to encourage your puppy to check it out. Never shove or force your puppy into the crate and close the door. Doing so will create a negative association with the crate and will make crate training much harder.
Once your puppy gets used to being in the crate itself, you can slowly start closing the door to the crate. Do this only for short periods of time in the beginning and remain close by and within eyesight of your puppy until you know your puppy is okay to be left alone without suffering from any separation anxiety.
To get your pup into the crate when you leave the house or are going to bed, start training them with a command such as "kennel!" or "kennel up!" Over time, they'll learn that these words mean it's time to get in their kennel.
When your puppy successfully gets inside their kennel, be sure to reward them with a treat or toy so that they know they'll get rewarded when they get inside their kennel.
When you're ready to start training your puppy to be left alone in their crate, it's important to start by leaving them in their crate for a short amount of time. For example, put your puppy in its crate and leave the room. Return after five minutes and let your puppy out. If your puppy was good and had no accidents, be sure to reward him with praise and cuddles. If your puppy starts to whine and cry while in its kennel, return and comfort him or her. Let them know it's okay and you are right there. You can even try sitting next to the kennel while they're in it. Gradually work up the amount of time you leave your puppy in their kennel. We recommend starting out with 5-minute intervals, then moving up to 20 minutes, then moving up to 40 minutes, and so on.
As you build up time, your puppy will become more and more comfortable with its crate.
Once your puppy is used to being in their crate with the door closed, you can train them to be left alone in it when you leave the house. Anytime you leave your house, make sure you let your puppy use the restroom first before you put them in their kennel. Your puppy will most likely sleep the entire time you're gone, so only kennel a kennel mat and a durable toy in the crate while you're gone. Remember, puppies can only hold their bladders for up to a couple of hours at a time. So, if you're planning on leaving your puppy in its crate all day, you'll most likely need to stop by your house on your lunch break to let your puppy out to use the restroom. As always, reward your puppy every time you get home and the crate has no messes.
Crate training your puppy doesn't only benefit your puppy, but you as well! Once your puppy is crate trained, you'll be able to leave home knowing your pup is safe and sound until you get home. Crate training doesn't have to be hard. As long as you have the right sized crate, time, and patience, your puppy will be crate trained in no time! Good luck!
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