Now, you may have gotten lucky, and your pup doesn’t mind their crate at all from day one (I personally was one of the lucky ones). However, the concept of possibly going from being curled up with his warm brothers and sisters all night to being alone in a crate may be quite overwhelming for your new furry bundle of joy and he may get a poor night’s sleep—and understandably so. Young puppies may suffer from separation anxiety, have no idea when he needs a potty break and may end up crying all night. Therefore, we’re going to tell you some of our tips and tricks to making this transition as smooth as possible though puppy crate training, and how the best way to prevent having to crate a crying puppy—and end up with both of you getting a good night’s sleep.
Never use his crate as punishment
You do not, under any circumstances, want your pup to associate their crate with anything bad; you leaving the house to go to the store is bad enough. The crate needs to be associated with comfort and positivity, and certainly not a place that he has to go when he’s done something bad. You want to nip any additional negativity to do with the crate in the bud instantly.
Do not overuse the crate
There are definitely situations in which your puppy will need to go in his crate (if you’re leaving the house or bedtime if you deem it necessary). However, don’t make your dog’s crate the place where he has to spend the majority of his time. You want to make his crate a “sometimes” situation that is not associated with not being able to move around for long periods of time. If your pup does not absolutely have to use the crate at night time, even better—we’re not suggesting you give him free reign of the house (especially prior to potty training), but perhaps keep him in a closed off room with the door open, so he understands that this is where he is supposed to sleep, but he’s not confined. If you do feel the need to keep your pup closed in his crate at night, start by keeping the crate close to you, and gradually move it if you wish as he becomes more comfortable!
Take care of its needs before crating
Has your puppy “gone” to the bathroom? Is he hungry or thirsty? Make sure that before you’ve crated your puppy, that he’s as comfortable as he can be. If not, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re going to end up crying at night and you’ll be in and out of bed and never get any sleep.
Make sure the crate is comfortable
This is an absolute must. Although the reality is that your pup may relieve himself in the crate, even if he’s not in there for an extended amount of time, that doesn’t mean that he needs to lie on a cold, hard surface so it’s easier to clean up! Even if you don’t have your pup’s actual bed in the crate, make sure you have some comfy blankets with pee pads underneath to absorb any extra liquid! Yes, you potentially will have to frequently wash these blankets, but your pup being comfortable will drastically reduce the chance of him crying! You also need to make sure that your dog can, at the very least, turn around comfortably in his crate and that he can stand up in his crate whenever he wants to. There is nothing worse for a pup then being in a confined space where he can’t even turn around!
Give your pup long breaks between crate times
Yes, this might be easier said than done if you have a busy schedule, but it is an absolute must that you’re giving your pup a walk and plenty of playtime in between crate times. The last thing that a pup which is full of energy wants to do is go back in his crate and not be able to burn off energy. If you have to hire a dog walker or have a friend come and let them out and play with him during the day, then that’s what you need to do. You will not effectively crate train your pup if he’s left in there eight to ten hours per day.
Feed your pup his meals in his crate
You want your pup to associate as many positive things as possible to do with his crate. Therefore, why not introduce one of his favorite things to his crate? Also, give your pup all of his meals in his crate with the door open, so you’re creating another positive association. Feeding your dog treats in his crate, even when you’re home—especially in the case of something that takes a little longer to eat like bones and chews—is another fantastic way to encourage that positive connection. Always remember that edibles items should only be given under supervision.
Reward your dog for going in his crate
Offering a reward such as a treat, affection, and lots of praise when your pup is put in his crate will, without a doubt, help create some positive crate vibes. All your pup really wants to do is make you happy, give and receive affection, and enjoy tasty treats, of course! If he knows that they are doing something that makes you happy and they get rewarded for it, it’s really a win-win situation for everyone!
What if my pup keeps whining?
As I said, you can rarely expect miracles on his first night—your pup is going to need to work up to being comfortable in his crate, and you can certainly expect some whining to go along with that. However, if you have consistently tried all of these steps, and your pup is still whining, you may be taking things too fast, or giving into his whining too quickly. It’s important that, unless your pup needs something (such as have a little pooh), you do not give into his whining. It cannot be seen as a way to get attention. If it is ignored and your pup is still whining, you may just need to take some even smaller baby steps. Try your pup in his crate for shorter periods of time and work your way up. I promise you, your pup will eventually get used to his crate. The most important thing to remember, however, is to be patient. After all, would you like to be a little pup separated from his siblings, and made to lie in a crate all by himself? I think not!
Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.
And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!