Congratulations on your new puppy! Once your bundle of joy is home, it’s a good idea to begin crate training. Your puppy’s crate will essentially become its bedroom – a place to go rest when he needs to get away – as well as keep him safe when you’re not home. Crate training takes time and patience, but will be worth it in the end. The AKC’s S.T.A.R. Puppy Director, Mary Burch, PhD, offers a positive step by step approach to help new puppy owners get their four-legged friend loving their crate.
Let your pup get comfortable with the crate and get used to being around and inside of it. Put the crate in a place where you and your puppy spend time together and leave the door open. Put comfortable bedding inside, like a crate pad or towel. Use treats to get your puppy near and inside of the crate. Put treats near the opening, and then inside of it. When your puppy is inside getting the treat, give her lots of praise.
Feed your puppy dinner in the crate. Start to feed your pup his dinner in the crate after he has started going in to get the treat. Start with the door open. This will help him associate his crate with all good things. Next, close the door of the crate while your puppy is eating.
Practice makes perfect. Gradually lengthen the time you keep your puppy in the crate after he’s done eating before you open the door. Then practice short times you instruct your pup to go in his crate when he doesn’t need to. When he goes in, give him a treat and close the door. Practice leaving the room for a short time and then returning, progressively adding time.