Tips for crate training your new puppy

housebreaking your new Goldendoodle puppy. It can save your home and belongings from being soiled and chewed. Crate training isn’t just about keeping your belongings and house in good condition, though, it also has a tremendous impact on your pet’s social behavior and sense of security. While not difficult, crate training does require patience and persistence.

Here are some basic tips from us to help you crate train your new puppy:

1. Start by purchasing a good crate that will comfortably accommodate your new friend. A crate can be made of wire or plastic. A wire crate is collapsible and the pet has a good view of the surroundings. (If you opt for a wire crate, you must lay in solid or thickly padded flooring to protect your puppy’s paws.) Plastic crates are lightweight and very easy to clean, but provide less visibility. Both types can be bought at your local department store or pet store.

When selecting the crate, ensure that there is enough space for the pet to stretch and stand erect. You want the dog to be comfortable, but if the crate is too big, all your potty training efforts may be in vain if the dog feels that he can relieve himself in one end and sleep at the other.

2. Place the crate in a frequently used room. When the puppy is in the crate, she needs to feel like she is still part of the family.

3. To get started, secure the door open to ensure that it doesn’t hit your pet and create any initial anxiety. Place a tasty treat inside the crate and call the puppy using a playful, excited voice. Gently encourage him to step inside and retrieve the treat. Keep repeating the process until your puppy is eager to go in and get his snack. Each time he enters, say “go to bed.” Your pet will come to associate this verbal cue with going into the crate. If the puppy is not interested in treats, use some toys.

4. Once your puppy is inside the crate, shut the door for a few seconds. Slowly build up the amount of time she’s in the closed crate while you are sitting next to it. Always give your pet a treat when she goes in and use the “go to bed” cue. Safe toys and chews inside the crate will help keep the pet amused. If she whines during this time, wait until she is quiet for 5 seconds before opening the door. If the whining continues, restart the training. When your puppy is relaxed inside the crate for 5-10 minutes, leave the room for a few more minutes then return to open the door. Do this several times a day, gradually increasing both her time in the crate and the time you leave the room.

5. The crate will become your puppy’s den. Keep the door open when you’re not crating him and you will begin to notice that he is going in on his own from time to time to rest and sleep. Reaching this level of comfort is exactly what you want, so be sure that you don’t undermine the process. Never use the crate as a “time out” space or put your puppy in it when you are visibly angry or upset. This will create negative associations and your puppy will come to see the crate as a place of punishment.

6. For your puppy’s next potty break, take him outside to the spot where you want him to relieve himself. Say his name and the phrase “go potty.” This will help him associate outdoors, and this spot in particular, with urination and defecation. These verbal cues must be used each time you take him outside. Don’t play with your pet until he has completed his business. Reward your pup with small treats and effusive praise after he relieves himself. When praising your dog, always use his name.

7. As the owner of a new puppy, you must be diligent with your training as well. Consistency is crucial: Take your pup outside every time she wakes up or is released from the crate and about 10-30 minutes after eating and drinking. Puppies have small bladders and should be taken to relieve themselves at least every two hours, although more frequency will almost certainly be required in the beginning. Pay attention to your puppy to become familiar with her natural potty times, triggers and telltale behaviors. As she grows, she will be able to go longer and longer between potty breaks and will develop her own unique methods to inform you when it’s time.