How to Teach Your New Puppy to Not Hate the Crate

Crate Training a New Puppy

You just brought home your new puppy. While he’s as adorable as can be, he’s also running around, going potty all over your house, and seems like he’s anxious. You’re interested in crate training him to hopefully address some of these issues and ensure he’s happy and comfortable, no matter what.

Here is some crucial information on why crate training is important, as well as what the steps to take to properly crate train your new pup.

Why You Should Crate Train

corig puppy with the puppy smart dog puzzle

There are a number of reasons crate training is beneficial to young puppies. First, dogs love to be in small spaces because it makes them feel protected. Their crate is a safe place for them to hang out whether they are sleeping, playing with a toy, or trying to get away from a chaotic situation.

Additionally, there are certain times in your new puppy’s life when he’s going to have to be in a crate for practical purposes. For instance, if you’re taking him in the car, you may want to crate him for his protection and your own. If he’s running lose in the car, then you’ll likely be distracted and you could end up getting into a car accident.

If you go to the vet or need to take your dog on a plane, you’ll have to crate him or put him in a carrier. When taking your dog to get a haircut or to a boarding facility, he will have to be crated then, too.

Should your dog ever need surgery, then he can recover faster if he’s able to relax in his crate, especially if his movements need to be restricted. It could also be helpful if he’s sick and contagious and has to stay away from other pups in your home.

Crating will also help with separation anxiety. You can put your new dog in his safe place with a comfortable bed and cozy blanket, as well as his favorite toy, like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter, a mentally stimulating dog puzzle, or some other chew toy that will keep him occupied. Then, he should be able to cope much better.

Crate training a puppy is also critical when it comes to house training him. It’s a potty training essential! Since dogs don’t like to go to the bathroom where they sleep, your dog will learn to hold it until you let him outside.

How to Crate Train a Puppy

puppy with a ball

Now that you know all the advantages of crate training, you’re ready to start diving into the crate training process. Here are the training steps you’ll need to take.

Choosing a Crate

You’ll need to first buy a crate for your new puppy. You could try an airline or kennel-style crate so that your dog is more enclosed. These crates will be darker as well. However, many dogs do well with a collapsible wire crate. To make your new puppy feel more enclosed, you can simply cover part of it with a blanket when you let your puppy sleep at night time.

The Humane Society recommends a crate that is big enough so that your dog can get up and turn around, but not so big that he doesn’t feel like it’s a safe place. Wire crates are useful because many of them come with dividers. This means that you can make the crate small when your dog is a new puppy, and then as he becomes an adult dog, you can take out the divider to make it bigger.

Using the Crate

Next, take your dog to his crate when he’s calm, and not when it’s playtime. Teach him during dog training sessions that crate time does not equal playtime. If he’s hyper when he goes in, he will likely want to come out right away. The amount of time you put him in there should be short at first, then you can work your way up to longer periods.

For instance, you may want to put him in his crate for 10 minutes the first time, and then slowly increase the amount of time he spends in there. If he’s spending a longer length of time in there, make sure you take him out for a potty break when he needs it.

The rule of thumb is that for every month of age, your new puppy can hold his bladder for one hour. If he’s one month old, then he can hold it for an hour, if he’s two months old he can hold it for two hours, etc. Keep this in mind when housebreaking. The first night he’s in the crate, you may need to check on him and give him multiple potty breaks, especially if he’s whining.

Once your dog goes in, give him a treat so he has a positive association with his crate. You could also say “good boy” and give him a pat on the head to make it a more positive experience. Then, close the crate door and let him explore his den.

As your dog gets older, you can increase the amount of time he is in the crate. Usually, crate training will take at least six months, so you just need to be patient. You can always hire a dog trainer to come and help you out if the crate training process is proving to be difficult.

Where to Place Your Dog’s Crate

crate training a new puppy corgi

You can put your dog’s crate in a place where he can get some quiet time, such as a guest room that no one is using. Another idea is to put it in the family room or the living room where he can be around you and your loved ones.

If your dog is prone to anxiety, especially if he gets anxious around people, then a quieter place is going to be your best bet. When your first bring home your new puppy, you can put the crate in your room so that you can take your furry family member out for potty breaks as needed.

Never Use the Crate as Punishment

corgi puppy in a dog bed

Keep in mind that you should never use the crate as a punishment, since your dog may become scared of it and not want to go in. Your puppy needs to have a positive association with it, and this will hinder that progress.

No matter how old your dog is – whether he’s a new puppy, an adult dog, or older dog – he shouldn’t spend all day long in his crate. Even if he can hold his bladder, he should not be in there for a long period of time. He needs exercise and human interaction and could have behavioral issues, depression, or anxiety if he doesn’t get out enough.

You can also watch your dog on camera when you’re gone for the day to see when he gets anxious or nervous inside of his crate. Then, you’ll know how long he can be in it before problems start happening. If he pees in his crate, you can also figure out how long he can hold his bladder so that you can more effectively potty train him.

Making Crate Training a Success

When it comes to crate training, it could take a good amount of time and small steps before your dog begins to love his crate and his new home. But once he does, he’ll likely start going into it on his own, which will make your life – and his – a lot easier.