It’s fantastic when a puppy quickly learns that their new crate is a safe and comfortable little den. Teach your puppy to enjoy his new crate by introducing him to it slowly and at his own pace. Your puppy needs to feel safe inside his crate. If he ever feels frightened or forced to rest in his crate he will always be reluctant to enter. Eventually, the idea is that you will be able to command your puppy to go into his crate when you want him to calm down and rest after a long walk or just before bedtime.
Catch 'em young to make crate training easier
Here are three simple steps to help you introduce your puppy to his wonderful new crate.
Tempt your puppy into the crate with a tasty treat while offering lots of generous praise. If he doesn't want to go in, pick him up and place him in and then give him a treat and lots of praise. If your puppy seems scared or agitated about the experience, talk to him in a positive yet calm voice and stroke him until he calms down. Only leave your puppy inside the crate for a couple of minutes, and then move back and call him out. When he comes to you give him lots of praise again, but don’t give him a treat. He should only be given treats when he is inside his crate.
Once your puppy is comfortable with going in and out of the crate and does not seem to get agitated or frightened, you can begin to close the door. Keep it closed for just a minute and stay in range so that he can see you (If your puppy does get slightly overwhelmed, open the door, invite him out and then repeat step one a few more times). After the minute is up, open the door and invite your puppy back out again. Don’t forget, give him lots of praise but not a treat when he is outside again - right now you need him to associate the treat with the crate!
Repeat step two while gradually increasing the time that your puppy is inside the crate. After the allotted time is up, always give your puppy plenty of praise when you open the door and invite him out.
Training Your Puppy To Sleep In His Crate At Night
The best way to get your puppy settled in quickly is to start crate training straight away. It is very important that you make his crate a comfortable and enjoyable place. The idea is that the crate should provide him with a ‘den’ where he can feel safe and secure. If your puppy enjoys his little den, he will want to use it on his own accord, which will make crate training so much easier.
Here are four easy steps that will help your puppy get used to sleeping in his crate at night.
The first thing to do is to give your puppy lots of exercise. Play with him and tire him out so that he uses up all of his excess energy. It is really important that you do this before you start crate training, otherwise your puppy might be rather reluctant to rest inside his crate.
After you have tired your puppy out, invite him into his crate with a treat and lots of praise. You do not have to close the door behind him if he is not entirely comfortable with the crate. Sit with him until he calms down, and then reward him. Hopefully your puppy will want a rest, and might even have a little nap. If he falls asleep, close the door behind him and supervise him until he wakes up. Usually a puppy will only have a short minute nap, but depending on how much exercise you have given him, he could rest for up to a couple of hours.
Next time you invite your puppy in for a rest, extend the time to about an hour, and keep extending it by 30 minutes each time. If your puppy wakes up before an hour, sit with him until he is calm. He is more than likely to fall straight back to sleep, providing that you gave him enough exercise before you started crate training. Again, you don’t have to close the door if your puppy is not comfortable enough yet, but if he falls asleep (and hopefully he will) then close the door and supervise him until he wakes up.
As soon as your puppy is able to rest quietly for a few hours he should be ready to stay in the crate overnight without a problem. But remember, persistence and repetition are key. As long as you make crate training an enjoyable experience for your puppy, it will take no time at all for him to feel comfortable resting inside his little den.
Sometimes placing an old t-shirt of yours inside the crate will comfort your puppy. The smell of you will calm him down and help him sleep.