Dog Crate Training: How to train My Puppy For A Puppy Crate

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Adopting a dog is like going on an exciting journey. But owning a puppy is a very different adventure. This little creature with endless energy will conquer your heart with its explorer attitude, keen to learn everything. Congratulations on deciding to share your life with him. Amazing experiences that you will never forget await you.

Your new puppy will have a lot to learn. New tastes and new smells will introduce him to life. Everyone who adopts a dog would want to live a full, happy life with their dog. To achieve this dream, you will need to give some training that will make him adapt to your lifestyle. But don't let these stress you out. Each of these training will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. It will enable you to discover a more harmonious lifestyle together. 

In this article series, we are talking about one of the most functional of these training; crate training. In our previous article, we talked about what crate training is. If you're wondering if crate training is right for you and your new puppy, we recommend reading our first post. The link is here.

If you have read this article and decided that crate training is the way to go, you are in the right place. So let's take a look at how you can train your puppy for a dog crate.

Dog adoption

What is the best age to start crate puppy training ?

Experts recommend you start crate training your puppy at about 12 weeks old. Before 12 months, they are still so small, and it's hard for them to hold their bladder. Your puppy will be separated from his mother and littermates. So before getting into serious crate training, it will be wise for your pup to get used to living with you.

Finding when to start crate training depends on many factors such as the size of your home, the amount of space you have available, the breed of your pup, the number of people living in your house, etc... Some breeds are easier than others to train because they tend to be less stubborn and independent. Others are not hard to train but require lots of time and patience. Puppies usually grow up quickly, so it is important not to rush things when starting your puppy on his training program. You should also consider the fact that puppies are still growing and learning all the time. They may behave differently depending on their age. For example, a young puppy may be more active than an older one. So do not expect them to act like adults from day 1.

That being said, there are certain benefits to having your puppy trained early. First, you'll avoid any potential problems later down the road. Second, by doing so, you'll save yourself from spending money on toys and other items that he will probably lose or destroy soon after getting used to them. Lastly, if you wait until your puppy is fully grown, you might find that he has already learned enough to get along with other dogs and strangers.

How long does it take to train my puppy for a puppy crate?

When training your puppy for a puppy crate, the length of time required will depend on several factors, including the age of your puppy, his personality, the environment where you choose to train him, and even how much effort you put in put in into the process. Most puppy owners start training their puppy around 12 weeks old, which may take up to several months.  

Step by Step Guide

What supplies will I need during dog crate training?

You will need some supplies during your puppy training for a puppy crate. These supplies are crucial for crate training to achieve its goal.  We can list these materials as follows:

1. The right crate for your puppy 

2. A comfortable cushion or dog bed : 

3. A convenient bowl for water

4. Dog toys of all kinds (since it's early to know your puppy's favorite type of toy)

5. A lot of healthy treats

 Blue weimaraner puppy is looking and getting ready for his dog crate

Find the Right Crate

When dogs are properly introduced to their crates, they feel comfortable inside them. When they are tired from a long and satisfying walk or after living a stressful event, they want to rest in their crates. You should keep these in the back of your mind when purchasing a crate for training your puppy.

The crate you will buy should be large enough for your dog to stand and turn around comfortably. The dog's movement should not be restricted while inside the crate. Your puppy's crate should have enough windows to circulate the air and help your pup to breathe fresh air. Anna Flayton, a senior dog trainer for PUPS Pet Club in Chicago, says " “Depending on how big your dog is going to get, buy the right crate for their adult size. Then get a divider so you can build the space and grant them more and more space.” Using an adjustable crate divider is really good advice.

Make sure the crate is sturdy and safe. Even if it's expensive, think of it as a long-term investment.

And, of course, the crate should be for one dog only, if you have multiple puppies, acquire multiple puppy crates. There should be nothing in the crate that could pose a danger to your dog. 

You can choose between wire crates, plastic crates, and heavy-duty crates. Plastic crates can be especially advantageous for dog families that travel frequently. They are also loved by dogs as they offer a more cozy space. You can put some cover on the wire crates to create a safe distance as well.  Besides these traditional crates, you can also check out wooden dog crates, which are now trending. Adding great beauty to your home decoration, wooden dog crates can provide your dog with a natural lifestyle.

Best Products for Puppy Crate Training

The Felix Dog House is made from durable MDF and includes a soft, warm, cozy bed. The perfect dog house for small dogs.The Felix Dog House is a small, indoor dog house. The Felix Dog House is made of durable, high-quality materials.
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Introduce the Crate to Your Puppy

You have purchased everything needed and find the crate that best suits your dog. Now it's time to introduce your puppy to the crate.

When you first bring the crate home, set it aside where you often sit, such as in the living room. Do not show excessive interest or excitement. Then, all is well and calm.

When your dog comes near the crate, you can give him a treat. Remember, you are trying to establish a positive bond with the crate. If your puppy doesn't come close to his, don't force it. Give him some time. You can leave toys and treats in and around the crate.

Don't expect your dog to pop right in; this may take time. Every time your dog comes near the crate, give him a treat; this makes the positive association stronger.

Smart border collie puppy is playing his toys in his dog crate

Start When Your Puppy is Ready Mentally

The most important part of crate training is that the dog always has a positive experience with the crate. The crate should always be associated with calm, safe, peaceful feelings for him. Trying to get your dog used to the crate while doing something he enjoys a lot will, therefore, not work. Your puppy will negatively encode anything that separates him from fun.

It's a good idea to start crate training after playing with your dog until you tire him out. No matter how energetic they are during their youth period, they get tired in a short time. You can consider after-play sessions for crate training.

Once your dog gets over the initial nervousness and starts to feel good around the crate, he is ready for the next step. When he begins voluntarily entering the crate, it is time to extend his time inside gradually.

When it's time to eat, you can start by giving her food in the crate while the door remains open. If you close the door before he is ready, he may feel trapped! Next, you can give him toys in which food is stored so that he can have a pleasant time in the crate. The idea here is to give him good memories and experiences and help him to create a pleasant association with the crate.

Do not rush the work; take it slowly. Put the crate in the room and open the door throughout the day. Keep this same procedure for weeks if needed.

You can play some games that include the crate for establishing these positive experiences. Throwing the toy inside the crate may be a really good idea. Throw some food your dog likes in front of the crate and wait for your dog to eat it up. If your dog enters the crate, do not forget to encourage, love, and even reward him.

If your puppy has something he likes, like a bed or blanket, put it in the crate as well. In this way, he can enter the crate more easily.

Another trick would be leaving a favorite toy inside the crate. When your dog is outside, close the crate door. Your dog will naturally beg you to come in and get the toy. Open the door, let your dog in, and immediately reward and love him. Put the toy in the crate again without showing it to your dog, and let your dog find the toy himself and play in the crate. Again, don't forget to love and reward him.

Closing the Crate Door

Repeat the crate training process we listed above for a while. Once your puppy gets used to them, you can move on to the next step. This step is to close the door of the dog crate.

When your dog is in the crate, close the door and feed him through the bars. At first, hold the door for 10 seconds and gradually increase this time. Do not rush while increasing the time; increase the time little by little… Since the time will gradually increase, leave your dog alone in the crate and enter the room again after a short while. In time, he will get used to being alone in the crate. During the first weeks of this extended period, be careful not to forget your puppy's potty breaks.

Over time your puppy will get used to being alone in the crate for longer minutes. After a while, your puppy spends enough time in the crate. In the blink of an eye, your puppy is all the time crate ready and the crate has become a happy part of your life.

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