Picking up your new puppy from the kennel or breeder is an exciting moment. Especially when you plan to have that puppy become apart of the family. However, as the first evening approaches you ask the infamous question should we kennel our new puppy? Learning how to crate train a puppy can be a very difficult process. However, with hard work puppy training is highly rewarded.
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Why Crate Train A Puppy –
Crate training a puppy or dog can be a very practical means for containing your dog when traveling, leaving the house, or while sleeping. A crate or kennel is a small confined space where your puppy should feel safe. Almost dates back to their ancestry living in a den. Therefore, as you travel with your new puppy from the kennel, or even to the vet. A crate will give them a place in the moving car to feel safe and secure. As some puppies can become quite vocal and fear the movement of a car if they happen to get scared while riding in a vehicle, such as falling off a seat.
A crate will also keep your puppy confined if you need to leave the house. Puppies have very short attention spans and as you can imagine if left unattended without confinement they are going to get into a lot of trouble. Most puppies will find items to chew on your even eliminate on places you don’t want them too. Puppies not only can cause damage to your home but themselves as well. You don’t want them eating harmful chemicals, products, or hurt themselves. Therefore knowing how to crate train a puppy is very important.
Lastly, having a puppy crated at night when everyone is sleeping will help the puppy feel safe and secure. It will also help them when learning to become house trained. If you crate train your puppy to enjoy your their crate, you’ll find that when they whine in the evening they have to be let outside to go to the bathroom.
What Type of Crate Should I Use –
There are two main things to consider when selecting a crate or kennel for your puppy. What style and what size of crate to purchase. Therefore, we have expanded the two main points so that you can select the best crate when learning how to crate train a puppy.
Crate Sizing –
Most people will tend to buy a larger kennel than is required. As of course we are caring and compassionate people, we want to make sure our dog has enough room. However, when selecting the size of the kennel look for a kennel that provides just enough room for your dog to stand up, circle around and lay down. In the event, you purchase too large of a kennel you’ll quickly find your puppy will use one side to sleep and the other side as a bathroom.
Therefore, you have a couple options to chose from because as well know puppies grow extremely quick. First, you can purchase a smaller kennel that fits your puppy for the first half of its life and another one when your dog is full grown. This will help prevent your dog from using their kennel as a bathroom. Of course, this option may cost a little more, but sometimes you can find cheap small crates online or even ask a friend or family member if they would borrow you one. The second option is to purchase one adult kennel and block off part of the kennel and adjust it as they grow larger. This option works best if you use a solid cardboard box or even a storage bin.
Crate Style –
Now that you have chosen the best option for the size of the crate you are planning to crate train your puppy. The next thing to select is the style of the kennel. There are a few options to choose from; plastic, wire, heavy-duty, wood, or soft-sided. We broke each of the crates down to give you the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Plastic Crate –
Plastic crates are one of the most popular options you will find when looking for a kennel. They tend to be very well priced and easy to find either online or at your local pet store. Plus the crates are very durable to dogs nails and very hard to chew up for puppies. Usually you can find various colors and sizes. Typically a well built plastic crate can last a dogs lifetime and then some. However, they do lack the ability to store them when not in use. Being hard shell they can come apart in half, but they can be quite time consuming if you plan on taking apart and putting them back together routinely.
|Inexpensive||Lack Aesthetic Appeal|
|Easy To Clean||Closed Sides|
|Multiple Options||Low Air Flow |
|Cozy & Dark Space||Takes Up Space When Not Using|
Using a wire-sided crate is the second most common kennel option when learning how to crate train a puppy. Similar to plastic kennels, wire kennels can be easy to find and pretty inexpensive. They also will usually fold up making them easy to store under a bed or in a closet when not in use. This is really nice when traveling with your puppy. They also are pretty much indestructible to scratching and chewing puppies. Wire crates also create a lot of air flow as the sides are usually open. The drawback is if you are traveling in cold conditions this may be too cold for your dog. The crates tend to be a little heavier and nosier to move around.
|Lots of Air Flow||Noisy|
|Inexpensive||Easier To Escape|
|Easy To Clean||Heavy |
|Removable Floor Tray||Can Rust Overtime|
New to the outdoor and hunting industry are heavy duty highly durable dog kennels. Some of the kennels are even rated to withstand car crashes. The kennels are usually still made of plastic however, they tend to be thicker and made of higher strength molds and materials. The drawback is that they can be quite expensive, but more than likely you’ll never need another kennel. Heavy Duty Crates can also be heavier and some don’t collapse or store easily.
|Easy To Clean||Expensive|
|Escape Proof||Heavy |
|Multiple Accessories||Hard To Move Around|
If you are planning on having a kennel that looks and fits into your house setting. A wooden handcrafted crate can be a really nice piece of furniture. They tend to be very attractive and even well built. However, there are some issues when using them for puppies. As wood can be quite easy to chew and stains can occur on the wood easily. Wood crates also tend to not be that easy to move around or use for transportation.
|Easy To Match House Setting||Chewable|
|Multiple Options||Hard To Move Around|
Steps For How To Create Train A Puppy –
When you decide to crate train your puppy, you may find that it can take days or even weeks. It all depends on your dog’s disposition and comfort level with crates. Therefore, remember to always keep crate training associated with positive stimulation. And the training should be small slow steps forward. If you expect your dog to master crate training overnight you are going to lose your patience.
STEP 1 – How To Create Train A Puppy –
- Locate a safe place in your house that is going to be the designated spot for your puppy to sleep and lay. Picking a space that is safe, but yet visible to the family is an ideal location. Maybe place the kennel in a family room or kitchen corner. Many puppies will be curious, especially if you place their favorite stuffed animal toy or blanket in the kennel, they may just walk right in. However, if you have a dog that is more stand off towards a crate try the following:
- Use positive stimulate to encourage your puppy to enter the crate. Use a treat and coax them to enter the crate, remembering not to force them and take this step slowly. You may find that this could even take a day or two, to accomplish.
- Try to use positive vocal commands giving the dog a sense of safety and security as they enter the kennel.
- Stick to one command to tell the dog to crate, “Kennel” or “Place” is a great command to use for puppy crate training.
STEP 2 – How To Crate Train A Puppy –
- The second step after you have your puppy associated with their crate is to give their crate a positive association, and not a negative one. Most puppies think they are being disciplined when they go by their kennel. So to make it positive, feed your puppy near their kennel you may even find placing there bowls near it helps.
- You can even go one step further and place their food inside the back of the crate. This will help your puppy think of their crate as a safe place to eat that they are protected in.
- When you have your puppy eating their food in the kennel after a day or two you may begin to close their kennel door only for short periods. However, as they make progress you can increase the closed door time frame.
- The main goal is to have them eat from their crate with a closed door and upon finish settle down and not whine.
STEP 3 – How To Crate Train A Puppy –
- Now that your puppy is eating meals inside their crate and not whining. You can begin to extend the periods or duration of time they are in the kennel. As soon as your puppy can be in their kennel for 30 minutes without barking, or becoming anxious you are able to leave them alone for longer periods.
- You want to begin crating your puppy 10-15 minutes before you leave as to give your dog a sense of comfort. When you do place them in the kennel, do it quickly and without large emotions so as to scare the puppy and regress.
- Plan your first visit to last no longer than 30-45 minutes.
- A huge step is to keep your arrival back home as low-key and not bring a lot of attention. This will only increase a dog’s anxiety and they may begin to think of the kennel as a bad place again.
STEP 4 – How To Crate Train A Puppy –
- Now that you have your puppy crate trained you will find placing them in the crate at evenings will be much easier.
- Similar to when you leave the house, crating your puppy 10-15 minutes prior to going to bed will help reduce any whining or anxiety.
- You may find that moving the kennel inside or near your bedroom is necessary for the first few days to weeks. If that is your case make sure you are moving the kennel to the safe place you located in step 1 during the day.
- As soon as your puppy is sleeping comfortably through the night without making noise you can begin to move the kennel back to the location you have made in step 1.
Tips & Tricks – How To Crate Train A Puppy –
- Puppies will require being let out usually at night maybe once or twice. If you follow the four steps listed above it will help make sure that when your dog whines at night that they need to be let out and not that they are whining to get out of their crate.
- In the event you do have to let your dog out at night, make sure you keep the process quick and not a playful time. If you begin to get the dog excited as they awake at night they will soon associate getting up at night means play time.