TOP 10 TIPS TO CRATE TRAINING A PUPPY
A crate can become your puppies favourite place to sleep, enjoy some quiet time out or just to have a lovely snooze. Once you have a crate-trained dog, if they ever have an illness or an operation that requires crate rest, your life, and theirs, will be so much easier.
Baxter and Pickle love their crates and at 6 and 5 years old they still sleep in them.
Getting your puppy to love their crate can be done very easily with a little preparation and some patience.
Some puppies love their crates straight away, some need to be taught to love it. But with perseverance and time, and plenty of yummy treats, you are not far from having a dog who loves his crate and chooses to go there for a snooze.
MY TOP 10 TIPS TO SUCCESSFUL CRATE TRAINING
Ideally, your dog crate should be located somewhere quiet and out of the way. Perhaps in the corner of the kitchen, but where they can still see you.
2. MAKE THE CRATE COSY
Dogs prefer their crates to be like a den. Put a comfortable bed in the crate, a favourite toy and consider covering it to make it super cosy. You can use a blanket or a towel. Or if you would like your crate to look a bit more stylish you can order one of my hand made crate covers here: The Cosy Canine Company Dog Crate Covers.
3 TAKE YOUR TIME
Introduce your puppy to the crate gradually. Leave the door of the crate open. If your puppy investigates the crate reward with a treat. When your puppy first goes into the crate again, reward with a treat.
4. CLOSING THE CRATE DOOR
Once your puppy is happy to go into their crate of their own accord start closing the door. Do this very gradually. The first time you do it just close the door and open it straight away. This will help your puppy get used to the sound of the door. Give your puppy lots of praise and reward with a treat. Continue doing this gradually increasing the time puppy is in the crate.
5. MOVE AWAY
Your puppy is now happy to go into their crate. They know good things, treats or a favourite cuddly toy will be found in there and they are happy to have the door closed. Now is the time to start to move away. The first time you do this just stand up, walk one step away and then go straight back. Reward your puppy and let her out of the crate.
Gradually increase the time until you can leave the room without your puppy getting upset.
You have nearly cracked it!
6. TAKE YOUR TIME
Crate training should not be rushed. If your puppy loves her crate straight away that is brilliant. We were lucky with Pickle she loved hers from day one. Baxter on the other hand took a while and really didn’t like being left. He would cry. We persevered and now at nearly 7 he still sleeps his crate.
Kate over at Dotty 4 Paws has written a lovely blog about crate training Gertie, the gentle way. Gertie was not keen initially but now loves her crate. You can read Kate’s blog here https://dotty4paws.co.uk/how-to-crate-train-your-puppy-the-gentle-way/
7. DO NOT DISTURB
Make it a house rule that if the puppy is in his crate he will not be disturbed. This way, they know their crate is somewhere safe for them. Sometimes your dog will just want some peace and quiet and they will take themselves off for a snooze knowing they won’t be disturbed.
8. MAKE IT FUN
Make your dog’s crate somewhere they want to go. If you are going out and need to leave them in their crate you can leave a treat for them. A Kong filled with something yummy will keep your puppy entertained and happy. You could even give them their dinner in the crate to reinforce the point that good things happen in here!
9. KEEP CALM
If you are calm about the crate your dog will likely be too. I use Pet Remedy Calming Spray in Baxter and Pickle’s crates. A quick spritz at bedtime helps them to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
10. THE RIGHT SIZE CRATE
For successful crate training making sure you have the right size crate for your dog is important. According to the RSPCA, they should be able to stand up, sit, turn around and lie down and have a good stretch.
I hope these tips will help you and your dog learn to love their crate. My top 10 tips are based on my experiences with Baxter and Pickle. If you would like expert information on crate training a puppy I thoroughly recommend having a look at Victoria Stillwell’s website. This was my go-to site when Baxter was a puppy. I love her positive reinforcement training.
Another useful video that I used when crate training Baxter was this one from Kikopup.
If you would like to order a crate cover like the ones in the photographs you can order one here: DOG CRATE COVERS
If you are crate training your puppy, please let me know in the comments how you are getting on.
If you have recently given a home to a puppy or a rescue dog you might like to read my blog on Dog Poo Dos and Don'ts!