My new Chocolate Female Labrador Retriever “Ellie” has been with us just over a week and she is already crate trained and pretty much house trained as well. The crate is a wonderful safety and training device. Crate training a puppy protects everyone when you are not present in the house with your pup and it speeds in training puppies for house training because your pup will not go to the bathroom in the dog crate unless it’s unavoidable or the crate area is too big. Here’s how I got such quick results with my puppy training.
I bought for crate training dog, full size that included a partition that can be put up to shorten the area your puppy has access too. They should only have enough room to get up and turn around. At first I set up the partition half way back and this proved to be a little large for an eight week eight pound Labrador puppy. A third back seems to be the best at this point.
I put a towel or an easily washed pad in the crate for pup.
Crate training dogs is pretty natural progression. Dogs are den dwelling creatures and feel right at home with a crate. Do not think you are caging your dog, they are instinctively at ease with a crate or den. Above all NEVER use the crate for punishment. Always put your pup in when they are behaving and at ease.
At first I would crawl in the crate, as much of me that I could put in the front of this crate, and coax her into the crate. She would come in for a second or two and I would praise her, and then back out again to play. I would have preferred to have taken off the first week from work to spend time with her and get settled well, but with a vacation coming soon I have to speed this up. By the way we took the crate with us when we picked her up but she rode back in my wife’s lap and did not spend much time in the crate other than to go in and pee a little.
Bed time comes and Ellie has to go in for the first extended period. I had made up my mind that I was going to loose a couple of nights sleep over this training. A couple of nights are well worth it to me to get her trained quickly. First night she is pretty much up every two hours. I wake take her out, praise her if she goes to the bathroom, clean up if she had an accident in the crate, put her back and sleep close to the crate. We cover the crate at night also.
Expect your pup to cry like crazy. My advice is to toughen up. You are going to have to get over the crying so your pup can get used to the changes quickly. If you go to her when she is crying you are reinforcing the behavior and she will quickly learn to use whining to get your attention which is ultimately what your pup craves. A puppy has the attention span of about ten seconds, she will get over it. My Veterinarian suggests “get a fan”, which I was expecting him to say put it next to the crate which instead he said “put it by your bed to drown out the crying”.
Back to my time-line with training my pup the second night was a little better. I went to bed and she woke at three, same routine, out to bathroom, back in for a little play then back in the crate. I sleep the rest of the night in the room with the crate and she does fine until four am and wakes up for good. I resolve to be up and make coffee while I try to tire her out. Mostly she is crying to go to the bathroom now and not a separation thing. Again I had to be strong and not give into the crying when she first goes in the crate.
Third day I read an article the breeder gave me on crate training. Yes reading the directions last is definitely a guy thing! The major suggestion was to work on stepping out of the room, when the pup starts to cry reenter, correct with a firm (not loud) ‘no’ and then repeat. Amazingly this works well after about three times she resolves to lie down. I repeat this training every time I need it and put her in the crate a few minutes before I leave so we have time to practice this. This evening all goes well, she wakes up at 4, we go out, play a little, back in crate and we both fall asleep till 6.
Honestly after this there were no more problems. Yes she still whines a little but I continue to correct and every consecutive night she gets better and better. By the fifth night at home she is sleeping through the night (so am I). It’s been a little over a week, she still has an occasional urinary accident but only when she’s been in three hours or so. She is never in there more than four (I live close to home and go home for lunch everyday to tend to her).
For house training the crate along with watching her like a hawk the first couple of days has proven to be most successful. By the fifth day she is going to the back door and scratching when she wants to go out. I have also gotten better about keeping a CONSISTANT schedule with her which I was a little slack on the first couple of days. As soon as she is released from the crate we go out. Do not hesitate or your pup will find somewhere inside to go, believe me. Also when she’s been sleeping and first wakes up I immediately take her out.
The crate is the absolute best for training puppies. Dog crate training hastens the house breaking routine and keeps pup safe when you are away. Everything is new and my pup will not hesitate to put ANYTHING in her mouth. Unsupervised time is not recommended at this stage. Your pup is learning constantly and it’s your job to show the boundaries on what is theirs and what is yours. Be diligent, don’t give into the crying, and stay on schedule and you will only have a couple of days before you are moving onto more obedience training.