How to Crate Train Your Puppy

How to Crate Train Your Puppy

Puppy’s First Nights in a Crate/Pen

The transition from your puppy being snuggled up with brothers and sisters to sleeping alone in a crate is often difficult. Dogs are pack animals and when he/she is alone in a crate, it is initially scary. This is why it is not uncommon for puppies to whine/cry/bark for several days to about a week. So, please be prepared for this behaviour..

Puppies sleeping in crate.

What We Have Done to Try and Make This Transition Easier

Your puppy has slept in a large crate with the door open to familiarize him/her with the crate. In addition, we put treats and toys in the crate to make it more appealing.

How to Handle the Puppy Upset

There are several approaches to managing this crate training. One way is to put the crate in your bedroom and when puppy cries out, reassure her with your words. Sometimes the crying is so loud, your voice cannot be heard. In this case, a gently tap on the crate often helps to refocus puppy. This method is likely the best for puppy but it will be most disruptive to your night’s sleep!

A second method is to put your puppy in a familiar place (kitchen, living room) and let him learn to self soothe. If you do this, please try not to let him/her go more than four hours without a pee break (until they are 12-14 weeks old) because of puppy’s poor bladder control. Please, try your best not to take puppy out of crate when she is being vocal. You do not want to reinforce this behaviour.

How to Make this Easier for Your Puppy

Use your “mommy blanket” to help soothe puppy. Some puppy parents use aids such as commercial products with mother dog heart sounds. I cannot recommend these as I have not used them.

Put chew toys in the crate.

Familiarize your puppy to the crate by using it for short periods during the day as well as the night.

Remove water/food several hours before bedtime and make sure you take puppy out to her pee place before she goes into the crate.

Exercise you puppy just before he goes into the crate for the night.

How to Make this Easier for You

Reassure yourself that puppy is learning how to be more independent and she is not in physical pain.

Know that this will be over in a few nights. Typically 2-3 nights, but sometimes up to a week.


Karen Moore