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  • Writer's pictureFiona Alder


Updated: Mar 5

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting adventure, but it comes with its fair share of challenges, especially in those early days of puppyhood. One of the most valuable tools in your arsenal for fostering good behaviour and creating a safe space for your pup is crate training.

Contrary to popular misconception, crate training isn't about confinement; it's about providing a den-like environment where your puppy can feel secure and comfortable.

Puppy sleeping in a crate

Step 1: Choosing the Right Crate

The first step in crate training success is selecting the appropriate crate for your puppy. Opt for a crate that's large enough for your pup to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Consider a wire crate with a divider panel for adjustable sizing as your puppy grows.

Step 2: Introducing the Crate

Introduce your puppy to the crate gradually, making it a positive and inviting space. Place soft bedding, toys, and treats inside to entice your pup to explore. Keep the crate door open initially, allowing your puppy to come and go as they please.

Step 3: Mealtime in the Crate

Associate the crate with positive experiences by feeding your puppy their meals inside. Start by placing the food near the crate entrance and gradually move it further inside as your puppy becomes more comfortable. This helps create a positive association with the crate.

Step 4: Gradual Enclosures

Once your puppy is comfortable entering the crate for meals, start closing the door briefly while they eat. Stay nearby to reassure them with your presence. Gradually increase the amount of time the door remains closed to help your puppy acclimate to being inside the crate.

Step 5: Short Absences

Practice leaving your puppy alone in the crate for short intervals while you're still at home. Start with just a few minutes and gradually extend the duration as long as your puppy is happy to be confined, if they show signs of stress or anxiety go back a few steps.

Step 6: Nighttime Routine

Establish a bedtime routine that includes settling your puppy in their crate for nighttime. Place the crate in your bedroom initially to provide comfort and reassurance. Over time, you can gradually move the crate to its permanent location if desired - always go at your puppy's pace and only move them away when they are ready!

Teaching your puppy to love their crate provides you with a secure spot to leave them when you're busy and it serves as a sanctuary for your puppy when they need some quiet time in busy households. It can also reduce the stress of vet visits if your puppy is crated after surgery.

If you need help with crate training your puppy, get in touch here

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