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6 Steps To Crate Training Your Puppy

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Bringing home a new puppy can almost feel like bringing home a baby. Just like when you bring a baby home, you need to be prepared. This means getting supplies and equipment, doing research, and making crucial decisions about how you’ll raise your baby – or puppy.

Crate training is something that a pet owner will need to decide on very early in their puppy training. So, what is crate training, and why should you consider crate training your puppy? If you do decide to go ahead with crate training, what are six easy steps to get your puppy used to the crate?

Let’s find out.

What Is Crate Training, and Why Does It Help?

Crates are small dog cages, designed to be used indoors. They can provide a safe and comfortable space for your pet and can keep them safe and happy while you’re out of the room or even out of the house.

Some pet owners like to keep their puppies in a crate overnight, as it can minimize accidents and help your puppy to feel safe. Since dogs instinctively don’t want to do their business in their sleeping area, they’re more likely to hold their bladders until they can be let out of the crate.

Crates can also keep a puppy safe if you can’t keep an eye on them all the time. Puppies have a nasty habit of chewing cables and eating things that can harm them. Until your puppy is old enough to keep itself safe, it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to watch your puppy.

Of course, it isn’t realistic to think that you can always be watching your puppy. This is where crate training comes in handy. So, how can you get into crate training?

6 Easy Steps to Crate Training

Getting your puppy used to a crate can be tricky. Your pup, quite naturally, wants to be out with you, and they may bark, whine or howl. How can you handle this?

First of all, you need to approach crate training in the right way.

1. Choose the Right Crate

The first step to crate training is to choose a suitable crate. Your crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up, lie down comfortably, and turn around. If you want to keep food and water in the crate, you might want to go for a bit more floor space.

Crates come in all different sizes, so you’ll need to choose one that’s the right size for your puppy. There’s no good buying a small crate for your Great Dane puppy, as your pup will outgrow its crate in a few months or even weeks.

On the other hand, buying an XXL crate for your toy Chihuahua could lead to the little dog feeling swamped and lost in the large space.

2. Place The Crate In A Good Spot

Choose a spot for your crate that’s away from direct sunlight or draughts, to keep your pup from getting too hot or cold. Consider practicalities, too – you don’t want your puppy’s crate getting knocked or jostled.

If you want your puppy to have some peace and quiet in their crate, consider putting the crate in a location that isn’t in a frequently used or busy area of the house, such as the living room or kitchen.

On the other hand, your puppy might get distressed if they don’t see you or your family nearby. At least to begin with, you might consider putting your puppy’s crate somewhere that they can see you.

Where you put the crate might depend on what sort of pup you have, and what is likely to calm them down or get them excited.

3. Make The Crate Comfortable

Next, you need to make the crate look comfortable and inviting. Put plenty of blankets and/or a dog bed inside the crate, so that your pup can sleep comfortably in there. Throw in a few dog toys, and possibly some treats.

You should always have water available for your pup in their crate, although be aware that they might knock over their water bowl and get their blankets wet.

Putting a blanket over the crate is a good idea to keep out draughts and create a snug little den for your pup, free from distractions.

4. Let Your Puppy Get Used To The Crate

Now that the crate is set up, it’s time to introduce your puppy to the crate. Don’t force your pup into the crate. Leave the door open, and let your pup explore on their own. You might want to put some treats or even your pup’s food inside the crate to tempt them inside. If your pup is used to getting their meals regularly inside the crate, they’ll be happier to go inside.

Resist the urge to quickly slam the door on your pup once they go inside – they might get scared and be reluctant to go inside next time.

5. Leave Your Puppy In The Crate for Short Periods of Time

Once your pup is familiar with the crate – and it smells like home to them! – you can try putting your puppy inside the crate and closing the door.

Your pup might whine and cry, but don’t let them out immediately, or your pup will learn that whining will get them out of the crate immediately.

Use treats and toys to make your pup’s crate time more fun, and experiment with leaving the room while your puppy is in the crate. Only leave them alone for five to ten minutes at a time and stay nearby. If your pup sounds really distressed, take them out and try again later.

6. Leave Your Puppy In The Crate for Longer Periods

Once your puppy is comfortable being in the crate for short periods of time, you can try leaving them in the crate for longer periods when you go out.

However, you don’t want to leave your pup in the crate for more than a few hours at a time. Dogs can be left on their own for longer as they get older, but realistically, you shouldn’t even leave an adult dog for more than, say, four hours at a time. Some dogs experience separation anxiety and can’t be left for more than a few hours.

Crate training can be a great way to keep your pup safe when you’re not around, and it can also provide them with their own personal safe space. Why not give it a try?

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