Why a dog crate is indispensable – Part 4
Once you have a crate, begin training your puppy to use it right away. Some puppies are just naturals and pick up the den idea the moment they see it. Set it down on the floor, open the door and watch the pup toggle right in to check it out. If there’s a comfy blanket with some interesting toys inside the crate, a pup may stay a while all on its own.
Other puppies need more coaching. Here is where your patience comes in handy. The best crate training is a slow, positive experience and doesn’t happen overnight. It may take a few days, weeks, or even months before your puppy feels completely comfortable in its new digs.
This depends mostly on how determined and confident you feel about having your puppy sleep in a crate. If you’re unsure, your puppy will also be skeptical. If you don’t give up on the training, your puppy will learn to accept the crate faster.
Two important rules of crate training
1. Don’t place your puppy’s crate in the garage or in a room where it can’t see you. The puppy will feel abandoned, and will bark or howl until you show up again, making it an extremely long night, as well as delaying the crate training process.
During the daytime, put the crate in the room where you spend the most amount of time. Come nighttime, move it into your bedroom. That way your puppy will feel secure that you’re nearby. If it whimpers during the night, it probably means potty time. Take your puppy outside without playing with it, and it will go to the bathroom and go right back to sleep in its crate.
2. Don’t let your puppy out of the crate when it’s barking or whining. This just rewards the pup for behavior you don’t want. Under no circumstances should you “rescue” the puppy, because this just teaches it that if it shrieks long enough it will get its way. Wait until your puppy is quiet before letting it out. Once he starts to calm down and stops making noise, then let it out of the crate.
How to handle crate-haters
There should be no barking in dog crates. If your dog continues to bark in its crate, go back to the basics and repeat the crate training steps. Your puppy may also need a bit more mental stimulation. If so, try increasing your pup’s exercise so it’s pleasantly fatigued before crate time.
For barking puppies 4 months and older, sometimes you just have to ignore the noise. Pups have more opinions as they get older, and if you know that your puppy is nearly crate trained, isn’t hungry, or doesn’t have to go to the bathroom, it’s best to ignore him. The goal is to teach your puppy that a crate is a pleasant place to be.
Now if your puppy has a hard time whenever you leave the house; runs from room to room looking for you; or cries, whines or barks until you return, it will probably do the same thing if you put it inside a crate.
To make your puppy feel more at ease during your absence, try leaving for a short time, around 5 to 10 minutes. This way, your puppy quickly learns that you’re coming back. Other puppies may just bark for a few minutes when you leave, but they’ll eventually quiet down.