Getting a new puppy in your home is a happy occasion but you would certainly need some planning on how to prevent your puppy having accidents in your house while you are still house training him.
Putting him in a crate could be one feasible option for you. Do not feel that it is cruel to have your puppy placed in the crate, as you can certainly make the crate a “heaven” place for your puppy to stay in. He will be more than happy to be in his crate after he is crate trained.
Tips On Crate Training A Puppy
The success of crate training your puppy is making sure that he feels relaxed, not having any accidents and being calm in his crate. You can accomplish this by building values for the crate so that he will associate the crate with a positive experience and consider it as his den.
Make Your Puppy Choose To Be In The Crate
This may sound impossible at first but believe me, this can be accomplished.
Exercises that you can do to make your puppy happily and excitedly go inside the crate.
1. Do some fun things with your puppy to make him happily and willingly to go in and out of the crate without any stress.
This can be done by throwing some treats in the crate and wait for him to go into the crate to take his reward and let him come out. Repeat this several times till he gets really comfortable going into the crate.
2. Next, play some offering games. Have the treats in your hand and wait for your puppy to go into the crate then you give him the treats.
All the treats are delivered to him when he is in the crate. This will make him associate positive experience when in the crate.
Using Crate At Different Time Of the Day
You should not make your puppy only go into the crate when it’s bedtime or when you are going to leave him alone to do some errands.This will create a negative experience for him as he would associate the crate with loneliness.
What you should do is to let your puppy know that crating can happen anytime and it’s going to be a rewarding experience for him.
You can have your puppy go into the crate with his favorite toy to keep him busy while you watch your favorite TV programs.
Of course, keep the crate beside you so that he would not feel that you are leaving him alone in the enclosed crate.
Do this same approaches when you are cooking or doing some laundry by placing the crate in the kitchen or toilet so that he can see you around while being in the crate playing his favorite toys.
You would want him to know that at any times of the day or any location in the house, being inside the crate is the best choice.
How To Make Your Puppy Like His Crate
Make it a fun and enjoyable event for him to be in his crate.
You can do this by:
1. Let him sniff around the crate, walk around it, and give him some treats if he is reacting well and not walking away from the crate.
2. Next, fully open the crate door and throw some treats in the crate. Wait for your puppy to go at his will (do not force him) into the crate to get his treat and the moment he does that, praise him “Good Job” and give him more treats. This will offer him a positive experience that when he gets into the crate, good things will happen.
3. You can also make use of his favorite toys instead of treats to lure him into the crate. The main goal is to make him have the positive association that being in the crate is not a bad thing at all as he gets to play with his toys and treats to eat.
4. Remember to remove any leash collar or harness on your puppy when you are crate training him as you would want him to really feel comfortable.
5. As he starts to feel more at ease with the crate, you can slowly close the gate gently and reward him if he stays calm and quiet.
6. Always keep the crate close to you as you train your puppy with the gate closed. Your presence will certainly help to ease his anxiety and by rewarding him with treats, he will gradually feel comfortable with his new “home” and treat it as his den.
7. Open the gates periodically during the training so that your puppy knows that he can get out of the crate any time, and he is not permanently “trapped” in the crate.
The other way to make your puppy get used to his crate is to feed him inside the crate. Get the food ready in a dog bowl and place it inside the crate.
When it’s meal time, bring your puppy near to his crate and wait for him to go into the crate on his own desire.
Carry out this feeding approach for all his meals and your puppy will gradually associate crate with his enjoyment which is getting his food. After a few rounds of feeding, you can start to close the crate door when he is having his meal in the crate.
This is to make him get used to being in the crate with the door closed. Once he has his meal, wait for a while before you open the door for him to be out.
You would want to slowly train him to remain calm in the crate with the door closed and meal time will be the best opportunity. He will associate the crate door closed with positive experience (getting his food).
Exercise Before Getting Him Into The Crate
Never crate your puppy for long hours before exercising him. I would always suggest to play with your puppy, give him some workout before you introduce the crate to him.
Exercise helps to release your puppy anxiety and make him more cooperative when he is to be in his crate. When your puppy gets tired, naturally he will be less resistant to the crate as what he needs is a safe and comfortable personal place for him to get some rest.
You can also place some chewing toys in the crate so that your puppy can play with them to ease his boredom after he wakes up from a nap.
Is Your Puppy Dashing Out Of The Crate?
You can overcome this by building values for him to be in the crate when the door is opened.
This is what you can do:
- Maintain control of the crate door. Then slightly open the door and as your puppy is focusing his attention to you, give him a verbal marker “Yes” and throw him a treat.
- Hang on to the door just in case he attempts to dash out of the crate to look for you.
- Make sure that you reward him from the back of the crate, not directly at his face.
- This is to shift his thinking that the values (treats) are in the crate so that he would not make his way out of the crate when the door is opened.
How Long Should Your Puppy Be In The Crate?
Limit the crate time to about 15 minutes to an hour each time he is in the crate. You can have him in the crate after his playtime to get some nap, or to have him in the crate to play with his favorite chewing toys while you are busy with your house chores and of course for his bedtime.
Do not leave your puppy in his crate for more than 4 hours as he will start getting nervous and suffer anxiety separation.
You would also need to consider his potty needs when crate training him. If your puppy is 2 months old, he would be able to hold his bladder up to 2 hours before he creates an accident.
Of course, you should not test on your puppy’s “holding” power and to let him out of the crate as soon as he shows signs of potty need such as sniffing the crate floor or going round in circles in the crate.
If you have to work, you can seek your neighbour’s help or get a dog walker to open the crate for your puppy to do his potty.
Getting the right crate for your puppy is the first step to your crate training success. You would need to get the right size and type of crate that works best for him.
I would suggest that you get a wire crate as it is an “open” view design and your puppy will be able to see you from his crate.
You can also easily monitor his movement from your end so that when he shows signs of potty need, you can quickly bring him out for elimination.
You can go for a bigger size crate to cater for the growth of your puppy. Make sure that the crate comes with a divider so that you can easily adjust the size of the crate to match your puppy’s needs.
Do not make the crate too big for your puppy as you do not want him to use one corner for his potty. Just make sure that it is spacious enough for him to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably.
Crating is certainly a good way to control your puppy’s environment as what he can do is only limited to the enclosed space within the crate.
The benefit of crate training your puppy includes giving him a personal and safe place that he can safely live in, save your home from any accidents, helps in accelerating your house training on him and lastly, gives you some freedom when you need some personal time to be alone.
Of course, for a start, your puppy will not like to be in his crate as he will feel being “trapped” in an enclosure and will show signs of fear and anxiety.
This is when you need to carry out the crate training on him to make him feel comfortable with his crate. The ultimate goal is for him to view the crate as his den.