Your Puppy Can Learn to Love Their Crate - Promise!
Updated: Apr 29
Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP!
Of course your puppy hates their crate initially. You just took them from their litter and locked them in a box alone for the first time. They’re going to have a hissy fit! And that’s OK.
Really, it’s OK.
Crating is usually the first in a series of stress inoculations you should be giving your puppy. Teaching a young pup to cope with stress is one of the most important things you’ll do in the next few weeks! Don’t avoid it! That is, unless you want to struggle with housebreaking, car rides and training for the rest of your dog’s life, not to mention increasing the chance of Pup developing separation anxiety.
Successful crate training is very easy physically but sometimes hard for people emotionally. Even people who’ve raised a few kids and been through the “ignore the crying baby” phase struggle with doing the same thing with a new puppy. It’s tough at first, but it doesn’t last long if you follow some basic rules.
Here are a few tips that will help you get through the rough patch quickly:
1) Don’t use a cheap wire crate! You’ll need a couple of appropriate sized plastic ones, such as the Vari Kennel by Pet Mate but trust me - I’ve solved a lot of crating issues just by using a real crate instead of a cheap wire one. It’s worth the investment and you can resell the used ones on Craigslist.
2) Make sure pup has been fed, watered, exercised and had a few chances to eliminate before you put them in their crate. That way, you know they don’t have to pee or poo when they cry!
3) Ignore the crying baby! One of the worst mistakes people make is assuming Pup needs to pee and letting them out while they’re fussing, especially during the night.
4) Set your alarm for every 2-3 hours and wake Pup to take them out at night - don’t sleep in and wait for them to cry
5) Don’t let them out when they are bouncing all over in the morning either! If you did your job overnight, you should know they don’t have to pee right away! Let them calm down before you let them out. Violate this one and you’ll be calling me at 0530 on Saturday when Pup wakes you up - right.on.schedule.
6) Put your crate in the most highly trafficked area of the house and leave it there!
7) Put Pup in their crate when you’re at home as well as when you’re away! One of the most important lessons they need to learn is that they can’t always have your attention.
8) If Pup screams a lot early on, know it’s just temporary! Within a week or two it will all be over and pup will have a happy place to go hang out for life!
9) Don’t plan on ever taking their crate away. They should have a place to get away from life when they want some space. You have a bedroom. Why doesn’t your dog get one? Your bed is not their bed, BTW.
10) Feed them their meals and give them a pacifier toy when you’re leaving them in their crate a while. They’ll learn to love it there if that’s where their favorite time of day is spent every day.
Above all else - DON’T GIVE UP! Your dog will thank me later when they’re laid up, snug as a bug in a rug in their comfy crate they call home.