How To Crate Train A Puppy? 10 Mistakes To Avoid!

How To Crate Train A Puppy? 10 Mistakes To Avoid!

1. Lack of Patience

What does being patient with crate training mean?

  • Not forcing your puppy to go into their crate before they are comfortable with it
  • Taking the time to make the crate a happy place for your pup to be
  • Not yelling at them or banging on the crate when they cry or whine in the crate
  • Not giving into their crying and whining by letting them out of the crate while they are crying

2. Crate Is Not An Inviting Place

When setting up your puppy’s crate you want to make sure it is a warm and inviting place for them to hang out. 

To do this, place towels or a machine washable bed in the crate to give them a soft place to lie down. 

If you don’t have old plush towels a washable blanket works just as well.

How to Introduce the Crate

Prepare the Crate

When choosing a bed for your dog, try to think of it as an investment in the health of your dog.

Toxic chemicals can cause allergies and other health issues in dogs.

A well-made bed will last longer than a cheap bed will and cheap beds will cost you a fortune in the long run.

Create a Den

To tap into your dog’s natural instinct to find a safe place to sleep, try to make the crate feel more like a den. To do this drape a thin blanket over the crate to block out light and noise.

Once the crate is ready, give your pooch some time to explore their crate. Make sure to leave the gate open.

This will ensure your puppy can go in without the gate closing. With some luck, your pup will take to the crate right away.

If not, you will need to start the process of luring your pup into the crate. You can do this by using either toys or treats. 

3. Forcing Them into Their Crate

Never force your pooch into their crate.  In order for your puppy to be comfortable with their crate they need to feel safe.

Once you force your dog into the crate they will view it as a bad place to be and will not want to go in it. 

This is where a lot of patience is needed on your part.   You want to take the process of introducing the crate to your pup very slowly.

4. Not Being Consistent

Consistency is the key to all puppy training.  Your puppy learns through repetition.

Puppies do not learn the meaning of words they simply learn cause and effect. 

If you make a certain sound and the same thing happens each time, they learn to associate the two actions. 

If we used different commands every time we wanted her to go in her crate, the only time she would listen is if we threw in the treat first. That is because the treat would be the only consistent part of the request. 

Having a daily routine is also an important part of consistent training.  If you walk your dog every morning and then put them in their crate for a nap, your pup will soon learn that they are expected to nap in their crate after their morning walk. 

However, if some days after your walk you play in the yard and other days you expect them to nap in their crate they will surely protest that they want to play with you instead of napping.       

5. Respond to Crying

Remember you want your puppy to like being in their crate.  To encourage the proper behavior you need to wait until they have stopped making a fuss. Only let them out of the crate when they are quiet.  

You might only have a very short period of time when they stop crying so be ready to open the crate.

Even though you should not give into their crying, you should check on them to make sure they are ok. Don’t leave a crying puppy unattended for any length of time

6. Too Much Crate Time

Puppies are very social animals. It is important to their mental and physical development that they are able to be active while also being close to us.

This means that they should be out of their crates for as much time as possible.  

The general guidelines stated by the Humane Society of the US is “a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age”.

This means that a two-month-old puppy needs to go out at a minimum of every two hours.  They need to be out of the crate to learn the rules of the house and bond with their new family.

Plus your puppy will actually potty train faster if they are only in their crates for short periods of time.

Puppies need time outside of their crate to play and explore their surroundings.

Therefore you need to puppy-proof your home. In Puppy Proofing Your Home 

7. Use the Crate as Punishment

If you force them into the crate when they are bad they will associate the crate with negative attention.

Instead setup a space in your home that is only used for time outs. Preferable somewhere near where you are.  

8. Not Enough Exercise

Just like children your puppy is full of energy that needs to be burned off before they can settle down for a nap or focus on training. 

If you place your puppy in their crate before they are ready for quiet time you will have a very uncooperative, unhappy dog. 

It is best if you spend some time being active with your puppy before trying to convince them they should spend time in their crate. 

9. Crate in another room

Your puppy will have an easier time being in their crate if the crate is close to where the family is.  This may mean that you need to have two crates or that you move the crate around with you.  

10. Not Taking Off Their Collar

So this last one really isn’t a crate training mistake, but it is a mistake people make when using a crate. 

You should never leave your puppy or dog alone with their collar on in a crate.  

The reason for this is that if the collar becomes caught on the grating it can be a strangulation hazard.   

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