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How to Effectively Crate Train Your Puppy

Sandra is a veterinary assistant and has worked at various animal hospitals. She is a mother to a GSD, Siberian Husky and two cats.

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There are many benefits to crate training. This includes giving your dog their own space, encouraging potty training, and keeping your own things safe when you’re not there to keep an eye out.

If you’re not quite sure how or if you’re new and have never done this before, there are a few things to remember to make the process run a bit smoother.

Choosing the Right Size

You can find dog crates at most pet stores, or other places like Craigslist or eBay. When you’re selecting the size, make sure you get something your puppy can effectively stand up, turn around, and lay in comfortably.

If you have a large breed puppy, you also have the option of purchasing a bigger crate so they can grow into it. All you have to do is buy a divider so that as your puppy grows, you can gradually give them more space.

Giving your puppy too much space in a crate can derail your potty training efforts. They don’t usually soil their living space, but if there’s enough room, they will find a spot and lay down in another part of the crate.

Supplies and Where to Place the Crate

You can choose to place the crate in a quiet spot in the house/apartment just as long as it’s not completely isolated.

At night, it’s best to have the crate close to where you sleep, or you can choose to purchase a baby monitor so you can hear your puppy when it’s time to take them outside.

There are also a few things you may want to get before starting the crate training process. This includes treats and toys. I don’t recommend having any bedding in the crate—for now, until they’ve been fully housebroken.

This is because if they do have an accident on the bedding, it can be a difficult task to eliminate the smell. As a result, your puppy thinks this is still an appropriate place to keep doing their business.

Let's Start Crate Training

Have your puppy form a positive association with the crate. Place your crate where you’ll be keeping it, and leave the door open for your puppy to explore.

To entice your puppy to start exploring their new hang-out spot, place a few treats inside of the crate. Leave the door open so they can easily walk in and out as they please.

Do this a few times every day, over the course of a few days until your puppy seems comfortable with the idea of going into their crate.

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Crate training is a good way to establish boundaries, which results in a happier home for everyone.

Crate training is a good way to establish boundaries, which results in a happier home for everyone.

Teach Your Puppy a Command

Once you’ve repeated the step stated above, it’s time to teach them a command. You can say something like “Bed” or “Go to bed.”

After you’ve said the command, throw a treat into the crate and give them lots of praise when they follow the treat inside. You’re going to want to repeat this process until your puppy fully understands the concept.

To make it a bit more challenging, wait to throw the treat in until your pup goes in first, and then give them the treat for a job well done. Give them praise when they get this right.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Time to Close the Door

You’re going to want to build up the duration of their stay in the crate. Try leaving them alone with a toy, and walk into a room where they can’t see you.

After a minute, come back and reward them if they managed to stay quiet and calm while you are away. Feed them through the crate itself. Don’t open the door just yet. This is teaching them that this is desired behavior and what is expected of them.

Repeat this process, and build up the amount of time you leave them alone while they’re in their crate.

A Few Additional Tips for Crate Training Your Puppy

  • Always remove their collar before they enter their crate.
  • Make sure you give them a potty break before starting their training.
  • Never reward bad crate behavior. If they whine, you are going to have to ignore them. Giving them attention when they’re trying to get out, only reinforces this bad behavior.

I know it’s tempting to feel bad and let them out. If you do, this only gives them the upper hand, and they now know they can get you to do what they want whenever they want it.

  • Before you open the crate, make sure they are calm, and not whimpering. When they finally calm down, let them out and give them praise. This encourages good crate behavior and manners.

Final Thoughts

Crate training is worth every bit of effort in the long run. It gives your puppy a sense of structure and sets boundaries for them, which will result in a happy home for everyone involved.

As always, I’ll be over here cheering you on. I believe in you!

I wish you all the luck.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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