Your Complete Guide on Crate Training a Puppy - Panhandle Animal Shelter

Your Complete Guide on Crate Training a Puppy

by Jackie Brown

We all know that our four-legged friends can get a little boisterous when overexcited or being welcomed in a new loving home. And as for puppies, well, they’re not used to house rules! However, they are not to blame since we are here to train them! Even though it may take up your time and effort, the benefits of crate training are immense. Here is our complete guide on crate training a puppy or a rescue dog who you’ve opened your heart and home to.

What is Crate Training?

Our pets, just like children, yearn for their private space. In that sense, crates are exceptional since they have the function of training your pet and providing them with a sense of comfort. 

You can use them to be in control of where and when your puppy relieves himself, to teach him house rules and which areas are limited, but also to isolate boisterous dogs during travels or when you are introducing your pooch to your baby or young children. Once your pet is used to crates, they become a happy place, where your small buddy can feel safe and joyful. However, this training takes time, patience and devotion, but the outcome is satisfying both for the puppy and the owner.

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

Selecting a crate

Probably the most complicated and tiring part is choosing the best dog crate for your furry friend since crates come in all sizes, shapes, and materials. From wire, fabric, plastic, and wood, there are hundreds of different options you can decide upon. Just make sure that the crate is large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. If you are choosing a crate for your puppy, maybe it is a better solution if you take a bigger one, since they outgrow them quickly!

Photo by Gulyás Bianka on Unsplash

The crate training process

Crate training should be a positive and rewarding experience, both for you and your furry friend. It is useful to know that there are slight differences in crate training a puppy and a grown dog. The process can take up weeks depending on the age, temperament and past practices of your dog. However, keep in mind that positivity, patience, and praise are crucial steps in your teaching. To properly crate train your dog, follow the complete guide below:

1.   Introduce the crate to your pup by placing it in a familiar area. This comforts him as he is being presented to a new object in his surroundings.

2.   Place the crate with puppy pads since puppies still have to learn how potty time functions.

3.   Add a blanket, or that toy your puppy absolutely adores to chew. This should make the dog crate more engaging to him.

4.   The door of the crate should be open and a treat or a kibble should be nearby. 

5.   If possible, before crate training, prepare your puppy by zapping their energy (play ball, go for a walk or similar physical exercise).

6.   Once that is done, give a command to him such as ‘Crate’ to let him know that he should go inside. While inside, stay nearby and watch as he explores his new surroundings. Then call him outside and give him a lot of praise for passing the first step. You should repeat this two more times for more successful guidance.

7.   After repeating two more times, the next time your pup enters the crate, try closing the door behind him for a couple more minutes. After coming out, praise him again for being a good boy.

8.   Repeat this process, but after each time wait a minute or two before letting him out again. After some time, by increasing minutes, your puppy should be comfortable being in the crate for even 30 minutes.

Puppy Crate Training schedule

Have in mind that young puppies should not be in crates for longer periods since they are still learning how to potty. Therefore, always be mindful of their bladder control and try to break up their crate time.

·  Puppies older than six months should be crated in hours for their age in months, plus one. Therefore, if the puppy is 7 months, he should be crated for 8 non-consecutive hours with the addition of potty time.

·  Disrupt crate time with playing, different activities and walks while teaching your puppy that crate should be for eating, resting and napping.

·  Keep in mind that puppies younger than 6 months should not be in crates for 3 consecutive hours, as they still have not comprehended their potty time.

Be attentive towards your pet, always give him praise and be careful of their needs. Only then, with small changes in their habits, success is inevitable. Our furry buddies deserve all the love and patience we can give!

About the author: Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 13 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is contributing writer for National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care (April 2019) and author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs.