Crate Training Your Puppy


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Crate Training Your Puppy or Dog

Crate Training

Table of Contents

If you try to keep your puppy in a crate overnight, do not put the crate in a place where you can’t hear him. If your puppy cries for hours and you don’t respond, he will feel that the world is a cruel place and no one is going to help him. Instead, you want him to learn that the crate is a safe place where good things happen.

What is Crating?

A crate is a portable “kennel” that is just large enough to contain
the dog it is intended for, made of either metal or plastic.
“Crating” is the practice of using this kennel for training purposes,
usually in housetraining and houseproofing a dog.

Crating is a controversial topic. There are those who believe that
crate training is indefensible and others who believe that it is a
panacea. The reality is likely somewhere in between.

What does the dog think?

First, you must understand what the crate represents to the dog. Dogs
are by nature den creatures — and the crate, properly introduced, is
its den. It is a safe haven where it does not need to worry about
defending territory. It is its own private bedroom which it
absolutely will not soil if it can help it. Judicious use of the
crate can alleviate a number of problems, stop others from ever
developing, and aid substantially in housetraining.

Where to put the Crate? It should be around other people. Ideally, set
it up in the bedroom near you. Have the dog sleep in it at night.
Dogs are social and like to be around their people. Don’t force it
into the crate. Feed your dog in the crate.




Can they be abused?

Certainly. Anything intended for a dog can be abused. That doesn’t make
it wrong; it does mean you need to know what you are doing. Things to remember:

  • The crate must be large enough for the dog to stand and turn around.
  • A puppy should not be left in for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time.
  • An adult dog should not spend more than about 8 hours a day in one.
  • No dog should be forced to remain in a soiled crate. You must rearrange time
    spent in the crate to avoid this happening in the first place.
  • Not all dogs require constant crating; most can be slowly weaned off once
    they get older and you can trust them more in the house,
  • Properly introduce dogs, especially older dogs, to the crate. Most dogs like their
    crates, but not all do so immediately.
  • Even when you are no longer using the crate regularly, leave it available for
    napping. A crate trained dog is always more easily handled: in the car, at the vets,
    when travelling, etc.

Prices and Recommendations

Plastic Crate

A plastic airline approved (leak-proof) crate will run from $30 to over a $100
depending on the size. Pet stores sell them at astronomical prices.
Mail order stores have competitive prices (but watch out for added
shipping costs), and they sell wire mesh cages. Wire mesh is
comparable in price to plastic airline crates, but the sizing is

For our Aussiedoodle and Labradoodle Puppies:

I recommend the Midwest iCrate Single-Door Pet Crate or the Midwest Life Stages Double-Door Pet Crate

Choose the size of crate that your puppy will need once they reach their adult size, meanwhile you can use the easy to insert divider that comes with all wire crates.

If a dog is properly introduced to a crate as a young pup he will view it as a safe refuge from the hustle and bustle of the house (and away from any pesky children!)—a place for peace and quiet and serious snoozing as well as a potty training tool for us humans.

The crate should be large enough for the dog to lie down, stand up and
turn around in comfortably, but not large enough for the dog to
relieve itself at one end and sleep at the other. You may buy a crate
sized for an adult dog and block off part of it with a chew-proof
obstacle until the dog grows into it, or you may buy a succession of
crates as the dog grows.

Example of Puppy Schedules

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Proper Use of a Crate

Crating a puppy or dog often seems unappealing to humans, but it is
not cruel to the dog. A dog’s crate is similar to a child’s playpen,
except it has a roof (dogs can jump out of a playpen) and is
chew proof. Also, a crate is not suitable for activity or exercise,
but rather for rest. Dogs are carnivores and do not need to be
constantly active during the daytime, like people (as gatherers) do.

If a crate is properly introduced to a dog (or puppy) the dog will
grow to think of the crate as its den and safe haven. Most dogs that
are crated will use the open crate as a resting place.

The major use of a crate is to prevent the dog from doing something
wrong and not getting corrected for it. It is useless to correct a
dog for something that it has already done; the dog must be “caught in
the act”. If the dog is out of its crate while unsupervised, it may
do something wrong and not be corrected, or worse yet, corrected after
the fact. If the dog is not corrected, the dog may develop the
problem behavior as a habit (dogs are creatures of habit), or learn
that the it can get away with the behavior when not immediately
supervised. A dog that rarely gets away with anything will not learn
that if nobody is around it can get away with bad behaviors.

If the dog is corrected after the fact, it will not associate the
correction with the behavior, and will begin to think that corrections
are arbitrary, and that the owner is not to be trusted. This results
in a poor relationship and a dog that does not associate
corrections, which are believed arbitrary, with bad behaviors even
when they are applied in time. This cannot be overemphasized: a dog’s
lack of trust in its owner’s corrections is one of the major sources
of problems between dogs and their owners.

A secondary advantage of a crate is that it minimizes damage done by a
dog (especially a young one) to the house, furniture, footwear etc.
This reduces costs and aggravation and makes it easier for the dog and
master to get along. It also protects the dog from harm by its
destruction: ingestion of splinters or toy parts, shock from chewing
through wires, etc.

A young dog should be placed in its crate whenever it cannot
be supervised.

If a dog is trained in puppy-hood with a crate, it will not always
require crating. Puppies or untrained dogs require extensive crating.
After a year or so of crate training, many dogs will know what to do
and what not to, and will have good habits. At this time crating
might only be used when the dog needs to be out of the way, or when

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do think of the crate as a good thing. In time, your dog will
  • Do let the dog out often enough so that it is never forced to soil
    the crate.
  • Do let the dog out if it whines because it needs to eliminate. If
    you know it doesn’t have to eliminate, correct it for whining or
    barking… a simple “shush” should do.
  • Do clean out the crate regularly
  • Don’t punish the dog if it soils the crate.
  • Don’t use the crate as a punishment.
  • Don’t leave the dog in the crate for a long time after letting it
    eat and drink a lot. (because the dog will be uncomfortable and
    may have to eliminate in the crate.)
  • Don’t leave the dog in the crate too much. Dogs sleep and rest a
    lot, but not all the time. They need play time and exercise. I leave the crate open during play time so they can go in and out of their “bedroom”.
  • Don’t check to see if your dog is trustworthy in the house
    (unsupervised, outside of the crate) by letting the dog out of the
    crate for a long time. Start with very short periods and work
    your way up to longer periods.
  • Don’t ever let the dog grow unaccustomed to the crate. An
    occasional stint even for the best behaved dog will make traveling
    and special situations that require crating easier.
  • Don’t put pillows or blankets in the crate without a good reason.
    Most dogs like it cooler than their human companions and prefer to
    stretch out on a hard, cool surface. Besides providing a place to
    urinate on, some dogs will simply destroy them. A rubber mat or a
    piece of peg-board cut to the right size might be a good
    compromise (be sure to clean under any floor covering frequently).

Decreasing Crate Time

Remember, your ultimate goal in using the crate is to produce
an easily housetrained dog and one that can be trusted in the
house. Therefore, you should consider the use of a crate for a dog
to be temporary. You are always working toward the time when you
do not need to use a crate extensively.

With house training, it is only a matter of time for the pup
to outgrow the need for a crate. As as puppy gets older, it will
naturally develop ways of telling you that it needs to go (but probably
not before about 4-6 months, be patient), especially if you encourage
this. As this starts to develop, you can decrease the crate usage.
Always keep a close eye on your pup — the trouble you take now
will pay big dividends later. If you need to, put a leash on your pup
and attach it to your waist. That keeps the pup from wandering off
into trouble. By the time your puppy is about 6-8 months, he should be
able to sleep through the night either in an open crate or a dog bed.

Many breeds, especially the larger and more active ones, will need
to be crated during their adolescence until they can be trusted in the
home, if you cannot leave them outside in the yard while you are gone.
There are several things you need to keep in mind. The first is that
this type of crating is never to be a permanent arrangement except for
those rare cases where the dog proves completely unreliable. While this
does happen, it’s more common for the dog to be sufficiently mature by
the time they are two or so to be left alone in the house.

To make the transition between keeping your dog in the crate and leaving him outwhen you are at work, start preparing your dog on weekends. Leave him in your house for an hour and then come back. Maybe it needs to be fifteen minutes. Whatever. Find the time that works, and make a habit of leaving him unsupervised in the house for that long. Be sure
to praise him when you come back. (Leave the crate open — available
but open — while you are gone.) When you know the dog is reliable for
this period of time, gradually add 15-30 minute increments to the dog’s
“safe time.” Don’t be surprised if this takes months or even a year.

Now, there are some dogs that are never reliable when left inside.
This might include dogs that were rescued, dogs that have separation
anxiety, dogs that destroy things indiscriminately, or who mark or
otherwise eliminate in the house.

Does Everyone use a Crate?

Of course not.  If you have a doggy door to an outside yard with a fence you many not need to use

Read this post: All I know about Potty Training…with out using a crate

Crates are extremely useful. But they are not the only means to achieve housetraining. I love my doggy door but I also have a huge crate in my living room for nesting and sleeping. My dogs love their crate and they all sleep together in it.

Cleaning up Accidents?

I highly recommend Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover which you can get for cheap and fast on Amazon and at most pet stores.

Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover

Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover

AMAZON LINK: Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover, Lavender Scent, 32-Ounce Spray