House as a concept has evolved to encompass the meaning of a home so that the emotional and peaceful amenities of a person are sufficiently met. All of us love the four walls of our home to feel cosy, safe and at peace all through our lives. Certain hypothesis advocates that dogs are den-dwelling creatures. While the opponents state that dogs are creatures that burrow into the ground to feel safe against their predators, the truth remains blurred.
The fact is, only dogs know what they want. Moreover, as far as the incomprehensibility of their woof-warf and their barking states, we do not know if our little puppy wants to run around the whole world or sleep until eternity.
Along with sizing tips, you should check out our article on kennel training a puppy, as it has a great schedule you can use to ensure that your puppy has fewer accidents in the house.
Home makes us feel relaxed, calm and content. The same way that whenever your puppy feels low, alone or unsafe, the crate can prove-out to be of great help for him. Like each of us feel uber-secure and safe in our house, if you train your puppy to link the crate to safety and surprise treats, he will slowly treasure his crate as his own private space and den!
First steps on crate training
Crate training is a quintessential training technique of both the modern and traditional way of teaching your puppy discipline, health and safety. A new concept for most of the dog trainers, this training technique is an effective tool to manage your puppy when guests are at home or overnight or whenever you need to move off from your house. The crate should register as the safest place for your dog equivalent to the warmth of its mother’s fur.
There are many options, choices, and guidelines to keep in mind to promote healthy crate training for your puppy. Crate training also helps in resolving many aspects of the attitude problems in your dog as well. From the introduction of the crate to the duration of time spent on the crate, one must understand that all the teaching and learning processes should be carried out in a gradual style rather than sudden or in confusing ways.
Puppy crate training is mainly to teach your puppy to adjust to confinement without any derogatory vibe. It should be carried out in such a way that our puppy loves to stretch and relax out in his crate as well as be anxious to search for treats inside the crate at random hours. Starting up with Crate training requires one to keep up with many guidelines in the focus. Crate, for a dog is a safe place that he or she should associate with pleasant things like finding surprise bones, treats and comfort in the crate.
When you are sure that your puppy is healthy, stable and good to be left alone, that is, from an age of 6-7 weeks, it is time that he starts to realize his own power and potential to be independent. The first and the foremost preparation to crate train your puppy is through the preparatory actions to gift your little one a den of his own. If you end up suddenly breaking the crate on him, it is almost certain that he will persistently refuse it with violence.
You must introduce the idea of crate slowly to him. You must present him with time and reason to explore the crate and make it his own home. Puppy crate training involves measures of providing reason for your puppy to feel safe, secure and cosy in the crate than anywhere else.
Useful tools you might need
Tool #1 — Crate
Buying the perfect crate for your dog that is adjustable enough to accommodate his comfort even when he grows up, is mandatory. Buying the perfect crate for your lovely dog is indeed a job with utmost dedication and planning, as you need to look out for one that the little one feels comfortable and safe inside.
Buy a big crate to hold your puppy when he grows up so that you would not have to train him separately to accommodate into another crate when he grows up. Additionally, you can hide a part of the bigger crate so that your puppy feels safer. Some of the varieties of puppy crate training crates available in the market today are: Kennel, Puppy pen and wire mesh crates.
- Kennel: closed crate with ventilation holes;
- Wire Mesh: made of strong wires that cannot be bitten through;
- Puppy Pen: movable crate without floor.
Tool #2 — Bowl
Buy a fancy and likable bowl big enough and comfortable for your puppy to eat from. Buying a bowl that can accommodate both solids and liquids is a good option as this also gives room for him to spill into the other section when eating in hurry.
Bowl that you select should accommodate your puppy’s estimated measure of the full-grown mouth when he is bigger and should have a bigger tray to hold the liquids safely. You can concrete this bowl into the crate in order to prevent spills and other chaos that your puppy subjects the bowl to!
Tool #3 — Covering
Another most important aspect of crate training your puppy is the covering over his crate. A strong blanket that has no hanging loose ends can add a lot to your puppy’s idea of safety. This cover provides a dark den, which has been proved to make dogs feel safe inside. Additionally, take care to check and scrutinize the ends of this cover in order to prevent hazards that your puppy can induce by pulling, biting and chewing the cover.
Tool #4 — Bed/Plank
A good way of reducing the size of your puppy’s crate if it is not an adjustable one, is by covering a portion of the crate by making a make-shift bed with a wooden plank or so. You can make a raised platform in the crate to make sure that your dog finds the crate cosier. This also helps in keeping your puppy warmer, if he chooses to.
Tool #5 — Toys
A reason for your puppy to choose time in his den more than wandering about and settling on your brand new Cashmere-covered sofa is by introducing toys in the crate. Decorate the crate without congesting the space to make your dog feel entertained in the crate. Remember that a crate is not a cage for your dog and you must help him realize it as his home through spending productive and memorable time in it.
Tool #6 — Treats
A second way of helping your dog be acquainted to the atmosphere and space of the crate is by keeping treats inside. Try to keep surprise treat and a tasty treats in the crate without your dog’s knowledge. This surprise element of the crates will make him go to his crate more often in anticipation of the treats.
Basic and advanced training techniques
Puppy Crate training is not a solution to spend lesser time without your dog or keep him caged. Crate training is an exclusive training technique to get your puppy to feel safe in some space other than your arms. Hence, there is a routine and duration of crate training in order to avoid your puppy from growing violent or having uncontrollable attitude and behavioral changes.
Some things to remember are:
- 9-10 weeks old: Leave in the crate for 30-60 minutes
- 11-14 weeks old: 60 to 180 minutes
- 15-16 weeks old: 180 to 240 minutes
- 17+ weeks old: Maximum of four hours
With a concession of night hours, one must never crate the dog for more than 4 hours!
We want to give you step-by-step instructions on crate training:
- Fix the crate in an ideal location: One must make sure that the crate’s location is consistent throughout the training period of your puppy. Try not to make any confusion for your dog regarding the crate location. Make sure the crate does not obstruct the way of traffic flow in the house. Additionally, choose a location close to bathroom so that you can manage your puppy’s spills and eliminations properly.
- Introduce the crate: Introducing the crate to your dog is through first basic pointing and hanging around the crate. One should make sure that your puppy is neither pushed into the crate forcibly, nor put in as a punishment. Enrich the crate experience to be one that is cosy, safe and peaceful, for your puppy.
- Leaving the crate door open: the second thing to take care is to never shut the crate door. Keep the crate door always open. This helps the puppy to investigate and find comfort on its own, inside the crate, while wandering about in the house. If the crate is height-specific to your puppy, then your puppy will resort to the crate as his safe place whenever you scold or punish, to escape from you.
- Potty breaks and training: Elimination timings of your puppy should be properly understood while training him to the crate. A few days before the whole event of crate training, make sure that you clearly understand the pooping and peeing schedule of your puppy. Keep a journal that records his feeding and eliminating times. This helps you to keep a steady track on when to take him out for potty and pee breaks.
You should also ensure that your puppy has the same feeding time everyday, and you can learn how to set one up in our article about consistent feeding schedules for puppies.
Apart from that, never let your puppies stay indoors or closed-in, for more than 4 hours as this will trouble his emotional stability as well as bowel movements. Additionally, try to keep mute when taking your puppy out for potty breaks; this will make your puppy understand that the time is not for playing around or talking, but to potty.
- Communicating with your dog: Make sure that you communicate well with your dog, at all times. Puppies love the human-presence while growing up. In the initial days of introducing your puppy to the crate, never leave him alone in the house, inside the crate. Make sure the door is open for a few weeks into crate training. Eventually, just your command will ensure him to enter the crate and remain their even with open doors. This is possible when you keep a healthy communication with your puppy. Reward him whenever he does anything right or well.
- Feeding in the crate: with the introduction of the crate, also make sure that you start feeding your puppy inside the crate; keeping tasty treats and food inside the crate without his knowledge will insist la sense of checking the crate every once in a while. Make sure that you surprise him with different treats and toys in the crate, regularly.
- Exercise before letting your puppy in the crate: Always make sure you exercise with your puppy well, so that your puppy resorts to lying down and sleeping right when you put him in the crate. This helps the puppy to realize that the crate is for him to rest, relax and rejuvenate himself.
- Crate timings and schedules: never put your puppy in the crate more than 4 hours. Make sure you have regular playing and crating schedule so that your puppy does not feel alone. Repeat and increase crate timings of your puppy gradually so that he is not put to a shock or fear through the introduction of the crate.
- Crate command: It helps your puppy to realize and react fast if you set a crate command when crate training him. Use a hand gesture with a certain pitch or tone so that your puppy understands that it is to go to the crate. Whenever he obeys the commands, instantly reward and appreciate him.
One more thing to mention here is how to crate train your puppy at night. Night crate training for your puppy is based on its own range of comprehension and comfort of the crate. When your puppy is almost happy and adjusting with the crate, introduce it to longer hours of staying in the crate at night.
Before bedtime, make sure you run and play the maximum to exhaust him thoroughly. Make sure you always provide toys and other treats for him to keep himself entertained at night, in the crate. Keep the crate under ad im light, so that he does not become afraid at night. Make sure the crate is settled close to your rather than far away, outside the house where you cannot hear your puppy even if he is wailing. When he cries at night, make sure you take him for potty break.
Issues you may face
There are three problems we want you be aware of:
- Too much time in the crate. While crate training is an effective tool to teach your puppy to spend time on its own, it is also a damaging effect if you keep him crated for longer hours. Too much time in the crate will compel your puppy to eliminate inside the crate and realize a chaotic bowel schedule. Neither a puppy, nor a dog should be put in a crate for longer than 4 hours. For a puppy, make sure you do not leave him alone more than 3 hours in the crate.
- Violent behavior. Puppies when crated for long can end up behaving violently soon after the release from the crate. This is based on the fact that your puppy has registered the crate timings as one similar to caging or being punished. Hence, when released, the puppy ends up being impatient and reacting violently.
- Whining. All pups whine aloud and quite a lot, whenever kept alone or isolated. To a point, ignore this whining. Although, whining is also a signal when the dog wants to eliminate or relieve. Always make sure that you provide enough potty breaks to your puppy. Never let him out just because he is whining, if it is not time for him to potty.
If this is your first time taking home a new puppy and you’re still feeling a bit overwhelmed, you can ease your anxiety by reading our complete guide for taking care of a puppy.
In conclusion, remember to never let your dog be forced into the crate or rushed into the introduction for the crate. Additionally, never punish your dog while he is in his safe place, that is, the crate. Make sure you make the slightest scene or issue out of arriving and departing from the house. This helps your puppy be patient and relaxed all the while during puppy crate training.
Apart from the steps and methods elaborated above, one must make sure that the puppy is always safe. If your pup is whining too much in the new crate, it is time to realize that he is not happy with something in the crate or inside himself. Make sure you crosscheck and treat new techniques on your dog after consultation with a psychiatric.