As many of you know I raise lots of puppies and one of the questions I get asked often is if they should crate train their new puppy. And my answer is always YES!
I am a firm believer in crate training every single dog. There are many reason for why I want all dogs crate trained: It’s a safe place for your dog to go while you are gone, it teaches a dog patience, it can let you have several dogs in the same room with you even if they don’t all get along, you can have your dog near you if you have company over and your dog/puppy is still learning manners, and if you ever travel you may need to keep them in a crate to fly or in the car.
Now, I understand that crate training takes work, and some times it can be very stressful on you and the dog/puppy. But just like we have to teach our kids to sleep in their own beds we need to teach our dogs to sleep/stay in their crate.
I am going to give you some tips to hopefully make it easier on you. I know that not every one will agree with how I crate train, and that’s ok. I have trained a lot of dogs and puppies using these methods and I have never not had it work, or had a dog get hurt doing it the way I have.
If I have a young puppy that will be flying to its new home this is how I start crate training. I start crate training at about 6 weeks. I start with putting 2 puppies together in a crate for about 30 minutes or so, every day for about 3 days, then switch to just one puppy in the crate, some times I will have 2 crates side by side each with a puppy in them. I do this for another 2-3 days. I then transition to doing it overnight (Again starting with 2 puppies). Now remember, by this time the puppy will be 7 weeks old which is when I start weaning so they are already used to being away from mama. The first night or two that they are by themselves is when they cry a lot, but they are still in the whelping barn so it doesn’t both us too much. I feed them, let them play for a couple of hours with their siblings and then put them in the crate at about 9:00pm, turn the lights out and leave them. Now, because they are still so young there will be a mess in the crate in the morning,(by morning I mean 5:00am) but I have found that it’s better to clean a mess up then to try and let them out in the middle of the night. I have never had a puppy once it was old enough to not mess still make a mess because of doing it this way.
When I am training a bit older puppy/dog I train a bit differently. I start with one of my older well crate trained dog’s in a crate next to the new puppy. I start with crate training the first night I bring the puppy home so that it knows this is our routine. I put both dog and puppy in their own crates, after the last nighttime potty walk, turn the lights out and say “good night”. No matter how much the puppy whines and cries that first night I do not go out to it. I have a door with a window I can look in and make sure everything is ok, but I don’t bother the dogs. This is done in my garage so it can be a bit disturbing to us but I would much rather have a few nights of crying then a life time of a dog not being able to go in a crate. I have found that by the second night after a bit of crying they go right to sleep. Most puppies by the time they are 9 weeks old can hold their poo, and will only make a small pee mess.
It does not hurt dogs to be in their crates all night, all of my dog’s love going in their crates and happily go in any time I ask them to. I make sure they have a blanket or a bed and that it is a comfy place for them. I also put them in crates any time I am gone. They have food and water and it’s a safe environment for them to be in when no one is home.
If you are worried about your dog being bored while crated there are some great puzzle toys you can buy. I have filled a Kong with peanut butter and froze it. I also have some rubber balls I put dog treats in for them to play with and work on getting the treats out.
Thank you again for reading my blog, please let me know if I can help you with any of your dog training needs.