How to Crate Train a Puppy

We believe crate training is a personal choice between new owners and their pups. While it doesn’t always suit all families, there are some great benefits to crate training. If you’re welcoming a new pup soon and have decided to learn how crate train a puppy, here are some of our recommendations! For a more comprehensive guide to crate training a puppy, check out this guide by the RSPCA .

Decide Your Crate Training Purpose

There are many reasons why you might decide to crate train a puppy and there are plenty of benefits too. However, it’s important that your reasons for crate training align with your values and lifestyle as a new puppy parent. You may decide to use crate training as a tool to help with toilet training initially. However you have the intention of ditching the crate once they’re housetrained. Or you might be looking for a solution for meal times, to ensure your puppy isn’t pestered by older dogs trying to steal their food. Crate training is also a great tool to have if you travel frequently with your dog. It can also prepare them for any unexpected overnight stays at the vets (paws crossed the latter never happens though!)

Of course, you may decide to crate train a puppy for multiple reasons. Deciding your crate training purpose early on will help you stay motivated and consistent while you’re settling your dog in to their new home and teaching them all about their new safe space.

Figure Out Your New Routine

The first few weeks of puppyhood can be intense. From teething and nipping to disrupted sleep and toilet training – it’s no mean feat! Getting your puppy into their new routine as quickly as possible is definitely key. This is also true for crate training, especially if you’re using it as a tool alongside housetraining and downtime.

Getting yourselves into a predictable daily routing will help both you and your puppy better predict how each other are feeling. If your pup is used to napping in their crate after a walk, they’re more likely to associate it as a comforting space. The same goes for mealtimes. Once your puppy understands how to use their crate and is happy to spend time in there, you can then gradually increase the amount of time you crate them for. However it’s important both you and your puppy are set up for success as much as possible. Being in a daily routine will help to minimise the chances of you accidentally trying to crate them when they’re less receptive (such as when they’re full of beans and ready to play!)

Make The Crate a Safe Space

The Pet Carpenter strongly believe pet crates should never be used as a form of punishment. Crate training is all about creating a safe and comfortable space for your pet; somewhere they enjoy spending time in. In order to do this, you need to make sure your puppy’s crate is cosy and inviting. Along with their bed we recommend placing some of your pup’s favourite toys in their crate. You might want to steer clear of squeaky or loud toys though, especially if you’re using a crate for sleeping overnight! It’s also a good idea to add in some items of clothing with your scent on, as well as a blanket from your pup’s mum and littermates if you were given one. Overall you want your puppy to associate their crate with positive experiences (such as mealtimes and treats) so they see it as their safe space.

If you are planning to use a crate overnight, you may want to move it into your bedroom or sleep close by for the first few nights. It’s a daunting time for your puppy when they first come home. They’ve been used to sleeping with their litter until now. Remember, if your puppy is staying in their crate overnight, they’ll also need access to fresh water. So make sure your training crate is large enough to accommodate a bowl too.

Celebrate Small Successes

Celebrating the small successes such as your pup’s first meal in their crate, or their first nap will help break down your crate training journey into more manageable chunks. It will also keep you motivated over the coming weeks and months. In no time at all you’ll be looking back at your training and realise just how far you and your little pup have come!

There’s so much to think about in the days leading up to your puppy’s gotcha day. There is also a lot of pressure surrounding the ‘right’ way to train the ‘perfect’ puppy. It can all feel incredibly daunting and overwhelming, especially if this is your first dog. It’s important to remember that puppy training is anything but a linear process. Try not to be disheartened if things aren’t always going to plan!

Practise Makes Perfect

As we mentioned, training is full of ups and downs for both you and your pup. Crate training is no exception! Though it may be challenging (particularly in the early days and weeks) regular practise and positive crate experiences are the way to go. Don’t forget to experiment and find a consistent routine and crate training method that works best for you and your pup!

How did your puppy take to crate training? What would your advice be to new puppy parents?

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