Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Re: Crate training help needed
Currently my pup is crated at night and while I am at work. At first, I came home at lunch to let him out and play for a while, and paid a puppy helper to come mid-afternoon and take him out again. Now that he can hold it, I no longer come home but still pay my puppy helper to come (it's easier to pay her than do it myself).
In the den I have three 42" wire crates in a row, one for each dog, but in the bedroom I have a 36" wire crate with a fabric crate cover and it's next to our bed. I go to bed around 11pm. My husband get's up at 6:30 so that's when the pup goes out. At first, I also took him out twice during the night. Once he was 10/11 weeks he was holding it all night and now holds it from 11pm-6:30am. If he can do it, I don't see any reason to wake him up. Some people are against letting the puppy bark and decide when he has to go out. I could tell what was a "I gotta pee!" bark and what was a "I'm a little stinker and am throwing a fit!" bark so it was not an issue for me to let the dog tell me if he had to go.
We also work on crate exercises as part of training. I trained him that "kennel!" means to run into the crate and lie down. At first I also fed him meals and yummy treats in the crate. The trick is to either put him in, or let him choose to go in. Don't lure him in with the food. If he runs in on his own, PRAISE him and give him the food/treat. If he won't go in, don't try to coax him in or push him in, just back away from the crate, pick him up, and quickly set him in.
It might be frustrating at first but keep at it! My dog barked nonstop for 5+ hours straight the first three nights in his crate. I was seriously wanting to cry and scream. My husband abandoned us and slept on the couch with pillows on his head! Now my dog is 16 weeks old and for the past few weeks, anytime we go up to my bedroom he runs into his crate and sits down. Anytime he sees me getting food, he runs into his living room crate. I can say "kennel!" and he will spring to his crate like it's the best game ever.