Puppy Crate Training Tips: 5 Ways To Get Your Puppy To Love Its Crate

Crate Training Your Pup? Here are our Top 5 Puppy Crate Training Tips to get your puppy to love its crate

Tips for crate training golden retriever

Making sure your puppy is crate trained is one of the most important things you can do when you bring home your new pup – here are our top 5 puppy crate training tips to help with a smooth and easy transition for both you and your pup.

1) Make Your Puppy’s Crate Nice and Comfortable This is something that we stress because it really worked for us. A lot of different advice we read has said to not use beds, pillows, or towels because the puppy will soil them but we have found that our golden retriever puppy is much more apt to go in her crate when there are towels and pillows inside. Use old towels so you don’t risk them being ruined. When your puppy is older and out of the chewing phase you can invest in a nice bed or crate pad to make the crate super comfortable.

2) Introduce Them to The Crate Slowly Make the crate seem like the coolest thing ever to your puppy. Dork out and get super excited. Even go in the crate yourself or put an old towel or t-shirt in there with your scent. Don’t force them in the crate at first and allow them time to explore.

3) Have Special Toys & Treats Your Puppy ONLY Gets When They Are in The Crate This is something that has really helped us with crate training our golden retriever puppy, Kona. We have special toys and treats that she only can play with in her crate. The brand we recommend is Kong toys. This stuff is like puppy crack. Kona has a Kong puppy toy and a Kong teething stick. We also have the Kong puppy “Stuff’N” Easy Treat snack which is basically like puppy cheese whiz. She loves it. Is it bribery? Possibly. But when you need to leave and your dog won’t stop whining, it’s comforting to have a toy that will keep them happy and preoccupied for at least a few minutes while you are gone.

Kong Stuff'N Treat
KONG Stuff’N Easy TreatKONG Stuff'N Easy Treat

4) Leave the door to the crate open when your puppy is not in it. Puppies are naturally curious and if they can explore their crate at their own free will they are less likely to feel like they are being forced into their crate when the time comes.

5) Praise your puppy when they are being good in the crate. When they are being good and quiet, praise them. Golden retrievers love to please their owners and there is nothing they love more than praise. This will teach them to build on their good behavior and not whine and bark when they are in their crate. Reinforce good behavior with praise and nip the not so good behavior in the butt.

Crate Training A New Puppy: What You Need To Know

The Do’s and Don’ts of Crate Training Your New Puppy

Crate Training your New Puppy

It took a while for Kona to get used to her crate but now she loves it. Notice the divider in her crate to not give her too much space at first.

Puppies are naturally curious (they’re puppies, after all) and if left with too much freedom around your home they will attempt to chew anything in sight – electrical cords, furniture, your shoes, etc. You name it – they will put it in their mouths. Therefore to ensure the safety of your puppy (and your own peace of mind), we recommend crate training a new puppy and putting the puppy in its crate whenever you are not there to give your puppy your full attention. Even turning your back for a split second can cause a pee pee accident or injury. Crate training a new puppy will not only be useful when confining your puppy in the house, but also when traveling with your puppy. It is necessary to introduce your puppy to its crate immediately when you bring your puppy home, and train your puppy early enough on how to use it so your puppy learns to love its crate.

The Do’s and Don’t of Crate Training A New Puppy:

Do:

  • Ensure that the crate has been placed in areas where people spend a lot of time in your home, for example in the living room or in the kitchen. By so doing, the puppy will be comfortable spending some time in the crate because it can still enjoy the company of the people in the house. If you place the crate in an isolated place like a laundry room or basement, the puppy will feel lonely and will not enjoy spending some time there.
  • Be gentle when getting the puppy into the crate. Let the puppy sniff and explore the crate when it’s door is wide open. Entice your puppy into its crate by praising it and also giving it toys to play with (note: be careful of leaving toys in your puppy’s crate while unattended for too long due to choking hazards)
  • If you do not know the right size of crate for your puppy, buy a large crate. It is better to have a larger crate than a small one that the puppy will not fit in properly. If the crate is too big, you can use the divider panel that comes with the crate to minimize the space. Our puppy Kona is a golden retriever and uses a large crate like this one.
  • If the crate is comfortable, the puppy will be coming back more often. Try using towels or a soft bed in the crate to ensure that your puppy will be comfortable while inside. You can always start with old towels and buy your puppy a nicer bed once it gets past its chewing phase.
  • Be patient when training your puppy to use the crate. It takes time for the puppy to get used to a new habit. Patience is key!

Don’ts

  • Do not allow your puppy to move around the house unsupervised. In the event that you realize that the puppy is not willingly getting into the crate, slowly guide it in.
  • Do not punish your puppy by forcefully pushing him in to the crate. The puppy should be able to associate the crate with safety and comfort and not a place where he faces punishments.
  • Do not put your puppy in a crate if he is vomiting or if has diarrhea. Ensure that the puppy has obtained good health before you can crate it again.

Does your puppy whine or bark while on the crate?
It is important to note that puppies are not naturally accustomed to spend their time in a crate. Therefore, when you crate them, they may whine or bark to indicate that they are scared or that they are uncomfortable. If your puppy is whining or barking, first make sure that your puppy has emptied its bowels and does not have to pee pee or poo poo. If it has already gone potty and you are sure this is not the cause, you can reduce whining and barking to ensure that the puppy is at ease by;

  • Providing a soft bed and towels in the crate
  • Providing it with bones and toys for entertainment whenever the puppy feels bored
  • Allow the puppy to get used in staying in the crate. Don’t crate him for long hours at the start.
  • Place the crate where the puppy can see people for example in your room. Your company is enough to stop the puppy from whining.
  • Pay attention to the puppy when he is just quiet by talking to it and also by taking it out of the crate for a walk. Be very kind and gentle in your speech.

Remember, patience is key and by crate training your puppy at an early age you are setting you and your dog up for a great training foundation and peace of mind when you are not home or able to attend to your puppy.

Enjoy!