The following are benefits that can come from crate training your puppy:
- Prevents damage to your furniture and other household valuables while you are away or sleeping
- Helps teach your puppy proper chewing and elimination (bathroom) behavior
- Provides security for your puppy and safety for young children in your home
- Easy traveling
- Improves your relationship with your puppy
- Gives your puppy a “den”, which is a natural habitat for dogs
The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. If you allow them a space any larger, they can urinate/defecate in one area and sleep in the other.
Dogs are social animals that need interaction. Place the crate in a bright area of your home with lots of activity (i.e. family room). If you put the crate in a dark, solitary room, your puppy will feel as though he is being punished and learn to hate the crate. Crates should be your pet’s “sanctuary”, not a “time out” spot.
Begin crate training your puppy early in the day so he has the entire day to adapt to the crate. Favorite toys, treats, or food placed in the crate may motivate your pup to enter the crate on their own. Leave the room but stay close enough to be able to hear him. It is normal for your puppy to cry and whine at first, but don’t give in. Never reward your puppy by letting him out when he cries. It will be difficult, but ignore his cries until they stop before you release him from the crate.
Various “crate games” can help puppies learn to love the crate. Try teaching your pup to lie down inside the crate, have them stay for a minute, and then give them a “release cue” and a treat for their good behavior. You might also try hiding treats in the crate or throwing treats inside the crate as your puppy goes in so that they associate going into the crate with rewards. When doing this, be sure not to allow your dog to see you put the treats in the crate.