One of the first things that I teach for puppy crate training, is for puppies to learn to love their crates. It saves you a lifetime of the puppy crying and whining and in distress when alone.
How to teach your puppy to love their crate:
- Play the cookies in the crate game. Grab a bowl of treats and place a few treats at the door and a few treats inside the crate. When the puppy goes in the crate to investigate, toss an additional treat in the crate every 10-20 seconds until the puppy leaves the crate.
- Teach your puppy to go to your hand when you point; then point in the crate and reward the puppy generously for going in the crate on cue.
- Feed your puppy in the crate. You can leave the door open or you can shut the door.
- Give your puppy interesting things to chew on or play with in the crate like a food stuffed Kong or chew bones.
- When you give the puppy a new toy or bone, hide it in the crate for the puppy to discover themselves.
- It is okay to use the crate for puppy nap time (or for a break for the other members of the family!) but never throw your puppy in the crate in anger.
- Make sure to transition as soon as possible to rewarding the puppy for going in the crate without luring them with the smell of the food or by showing them the food first.
- Transition to reaching for the reward and rewarding the puppy after the puppy has gone in the crate and the door is shut.
Which crate should I purchase?
- Make sure you get the appropriate sized crate for your puppy. I recommend buying a metal crate a size larger than you think you will need.
- If your puppy is still growing, make sure that the one you purchase has a divider built into it. If the crate is too large then the puppy can use half of it to potty in and the other half to sleep in. With a divider, the crate can easily grow with the puppy.