Now, we’re going to talk first about crate training, and the first thing I want to explain to you is there are two different types of crates you can choose for your puppy. One is a wire crate, and the second is a plastic, enclosed crate. There are many other types of crates out there, but those aren’t recommended to start off with your puppy.
Training puppies to like the crate is started by doing little fun games to happily get her to go in and out of the crate without any stress. So don’t put her in and lock her in there right away. You can do some fun things to get her willing to go in, and then let her come right back out again. So, you use treats method for this game and throw treats in the crate so that your puppy can hear them hit off the crate. Let your puppy go in and get the treats. And then let her come out.
Now once you’ve repeated that a few times, the next thing you are supposed to do is play a little offering game. Get those treats ready; wait till she offers to go in, and then you can reward her.
Choose a properly sized crate for your puppy. The ideal size of a crate for your puppy is to be big enough that they can move easily and get laid, many puppies tend to use one end as their play or sleep area and then often use the other end as their potty area, and that can sort of open a world of issues. So keeping the crate small enough that they want to keep it nice and clean as their den, will help prevent any bathroom issues that your puppy may be having.
Now, one of the tricks that you can do to help your dog to not go to the bathroom in the crate is to keep in mind that you don’t use any absorbent material in the crate. Puppies go to the bathroom on it and push it off to the side, so the rest of their area to sleep in is quite clean. Dogs are fairly clean animals; they don’t necessarily like to lie in their own mess. So, it’s nice for them to be able to push it off to the side. So, if you don’t leave anything in their crate that they can pee on. They typically will try to hold their bladder a little bit longer and hopefully if you’re lucky they’ll be able to make a noise or make a sound to let you know they have to go outside, and then, of course, you can let them out from there.
Now puppies have little tine bladders, which means they cannot necessarily hold their bladder for a really long time. So you have to take your puppy outside often, so they don’t end up going to the washroom in their crate.
Give them all of their meals in their crate. It’s a great way to get the dog to offer to go in that crate really easily without any battles whatsoever.
However, on top of that, I try to make sure that I make the crate a really, really great place for my dogs. So, if you teach the dog that a crate is a great place, not only does it help you, but it also gives the dog a place that they can go and hang out and be happy as well.
Is your puppy ready, or are you about to make a huge puppy training mistake? We all know the value of crate training as a tool to keep our dogs safe and to avoid some common puppy training mistakes, as well as to allow us to be there to give our dogs good information. But when is our puppy ready for a little bit more freedom? Is your puppy ready for a little bit more independence in your home? Today, I’m going to talk to you about some puppy crate tips that will allow you to know whether your puppy is ready for you to stop using their crate.
Now it’s interesting because this is a pretty common question from people who are just beginning their puppy crate training. But for people who have a puppy or a dog that’s quite comfortable in their crate and likes going in their crate, there’s less of a sense of urgency about removing the crate from the picture. But if you are at the point right now where you’re just starting to teach your puppy that their crate is a safe and relaxing place to be, then I’ve linked a article that you should definitely check out and there are a few exercises in there that will really help your puppy to be excited about their crate and love to go in their crate.
But if you have reached the point where you’re wondering if your puppy should have a little bit more freedom from their crate, there’s a couple of really important considerations that you need to take into account. Let’s talk about how. This isn’t an all or nothing process; you want to make sure that you’re setting your puppy up in an area or a location that’s maybe a little bit puppy proof.
The last thing you’d want to do is introduce them to an environment where they can make all sorts of bad choices. So spend a little bit of time puppy proofing this area so that your puppy is much less likely to make some mistakes. You can set up a room in your home. Pick up anything that your puppy might chew on, even leave them with something that they are allowed to chew. Maybe they’ve got a favorite chew toy, that’s great past time for your puppy.
But don’t immediately allow them to complete the free roam of your entire home. You must use something like baby gates or chairs or some way to set up some barriers so that your puppy doesn’t go from inside their crate to have complete free run of the house.
Another mistake that people will make is that they cross their fingers and hope for the best. So they’ll give their puppy this freedom and then they’ll head off to work for several hours. You have to introduce your puppies slowly to this newfound independence. So a great way to do that is to allow your puppy the freedom in this puppy-proofed area, and then go outside for a couple of minutes, or maybe you can head upstairs, and then you can return. It’s so important that your puppy starts to understand that they are free to make some choices and they never really know when you’re going to reappear. This is also a great way for you to show up and interrupt any behaviors, any bad choices that they may have made. But you are giving them that short opportunity to choose.
Keep in mind this is going to be a dynamic process, so avoid the temptation of packing your crate away or selling it on eBay when your puppy is transitioning away from it. Leave the crate in place and leave them some access to it even in this new puppy-proofed environment.
Something that people often mention to us is if there’s a thunderstorm that rolls in, their puppy or their young dog will often go to their crate because it’s a safe and comfortable place to be. So don’t be in a big rush to remove that crate from the environment even when you feel like your puppy has successfully moved away from using it every single night.
If your puppy still has the occasional accident, where they sneak away into another room and leave you a little yellow puddle. Then now is not the time to be giving them more opportunities to have that kind of freedom. You know you need to be a great leader for your dog, and your crate is still going to be a really good way to manage them. So that when they do come out of their crate, you’re able to watch them, you’re able to give them great information.
So if you’re having house training issues then hold off on giving your puppy a little bit more freedom at this point. If you can’t remember the last time your puppy had an accident in your home, or it’s the last time that they chewed on something, then your puppy may be ready for a little bit more independence.
But those aren’t the only factors, and there’s something that’s even more important. The most important factor you need to consider is, does your dog listen to you currently when they have freedom in your home? One of the best things about using a crate with your dog is that every time they come out, at this point, you’re there to engage with them. You’re there to play with them. They see you as someone of great value because you’re so much fun. You’re there to give them good information. You’re there to tell them when they’re making a mistake.
These are all great ways to set your dog up to see you as a leader, and these are the most important things when you’re considering giving your puppy more freedom to make their own choices. If your puppy isn’t listening to you currently, that’s a great reason to continue using their crate.
It allows you to set up more structured training. It allows you to give them better guidance. We really want to be able to show our puppies how to be right and not have to tell them what they’re doing wrong constantly. Using your crate is so important to set up those situations.
One of the reasons I wanted to make this video for you today is I remember this point in my training with my first dog. She struggled with jumping up on people, and it was at a point when I started to transition her away from using the crate. What I quickly learned was that someone would come to my house, she was so excited, she couldn’t help herself. I’d always have to put on a leash or a houseline quickly; at that time we didn’t have cell phones so people couldn’t text ahead when they were going to show up. But what I found was that by putting her in the crate, just for those moments. She had all sorts of freedom other than when people came into our home. I’d put her in the crate until the excitement died down a little bit.
At that point, I could let her back out of the crate. I could put her houseline on, and we could focus on teaching her that it was much more rewarding to keep all four paws on the floor. But without the crate, I struggled to manage her. I struggled to set her up to be right, so I was constantly trying to fix her, and you know I teach her that she wasn’t allowed to jump up. It wasn’t a good training scenario for either of us.
So keeping that crate available was helpful to overcome that. And you may encounter some tough training challenges, maybe it’s barking, or jumping up, or whatever the thing maybe. Putt your dog in their crate with something to chew. Having them go and relax and hang out is the best solution. It’s the best way to give them good information.
I don’t want you to look at this as a reactive step to addressing some of these behaviors. It’s a proactive step. You’re setting yourself up, and you’re setting your dog up to make better decisions, to be able to give them good information. It’s a really important differentiation that you need to make. It’s one of the things that any good dog trainer would understand, is that training is a fluid process and using a management tool like a crate is the best way to be clear, consistent, and fair for your dog. It’s the best way to continue having a motivated dog who loves to listen.
If you’re looking for more puppy crate training tips, click to visit our Dog training page. That’s our crate training a puppy guide, and if you still have questions, comment below.