For those unfamiliar with the term, crate training is a method of training, where a dog has a large crate or dog bed that is used as a safe and happy place. Crate training is a choice, and not all puppy owners choose to use a crate. But it is definitely something you should consider. It is not cruel, and can make life much easier for both you and your puppy, especially in those first few weeks and months.
Chisel’s owners had this to say about crates:
“We have never used a crate before with our previous dogs and didn’t think we would with Chisel either. But we were interested in the idea and read a bit about it. A friend lent us a baby playpen/barrier (with no floor) and we were very glad they did. I don’t know if this is truly a “crate” since it’s about 600mm x 1200mm and very open, rather than the smaller, cosier “crate” that we’d read about. But we used this pen for a lot of the same things that we’d read about crates.
We thought that Chisel and Toby (our other dog) would get along straight away, but that didn’t turn out as well as we had hoped. Find out what happened here!
We very soon found that we needed somewhere safe to separate the 2 dogs, especially during sleeping time. We probably made some mistakes along the way”!
Few short tips:
- Crates are good to keep! If they are crate trained, they pups might not feel as anxious when being transported.
- Make the crate as comfortable for them as possible, have fresh supply of water and food, and if there is a door to the crate, make sure it is left open so that they can walk in/out if it attached to a play pen/enclosed area.
- Never use a crate as a punishment. You want your dog to feel happy and safe in there.
- You can sprinkle a few treats around the play pen/crate to encourage them to go in – make it fun for them!
Sleeping through the night….
“For the first night, we knew that Chisel would be lonely, and would miss his previous home, including his mother, littermates, other dogs and his owners. We knew about providing cuddly toys, ticking clocks etc. and we had all this available. Our teenage daughter was very keen to spend the first night sleeping in the family room with him, and we thought this would be OK. It worked very well that first night. Our daughter slept undisturbed on the lounge, and Chisel slept (presumably, most of the night) on the floor beside her. He didn’t toilet until our daughter let him out in the morning.
The second night was not so good! We had been struggling with the 2 dogs (Chisel and Toby) not getting along, and didn’t want to shut them in the laundry together (where Toby normally sleeps). So we set up Chisel’s bed in the playpen in the family room. But we hadn’t trained him to sleep in this bed during the day, and he really didn’t settle at all that night. He barked and cried constantly, and we were worried because 2 of our adult children had early work shifts the next day. So my wife and I ended up spending half the night each with out in the family room. We didn’t have to play with him – just being there in the room was enough. We could sleep and he would sleep on the floor beside us. I just had to be careful not to sleep with my face too close to the edge, in case he occasionally scratched or bit my face! A couple of times during the night I would wake up and silently open my eyes to check on him. Most times he was asleep, but on other occasions he was just quietly walking around the room, and then would lie down and go to sleep again. He didn’t toilet during the night”
“The third night wasn’t much better. We refused to sleep in the same room with him again, and had him stay in his pen, where we had starting training him to sleep a few times during the day. But he was barking every 1-2 hours, and once again we were concerned about the family members with early work shifts. We had to get up to him multiple times during the night. I think once or twice we let him out to the toilet but most times we just patted him briefly (through the bars of the pen – no play) and then sat outside the pen (either on the floor or on a chair, it didn’t matter so long as he knew we were there) until he went to sleep. Then we could go back to bed for an hour or two!
“Eventually he got better each night. We didn’t mind getting up once to let him out to the toilet, but more often he would just bark because he was lonely and wanted to play. So we started closing doors, and trying to ignore the barking. Eventually he learnt to sleep for longer periods. Occasionally he would wee in his pen and our family room floor material is not supposed to have water pooled on it. So after the first week, we moved the pen into the laundry, which has a waterproof floor, company of the other dog (they’re getting along better now) and one extra door to shield us from the noise if he did bark and wanted to play! We still get up and let him out to toilet if the barking is persistent, but that’s all. Now he only seems to bark when he needs to go to the toilet and that’s usually not until the early morning.”
“We probably didn’t do everything right! But we’re getting there”
Few short tips:
- Puppies go through such a dramatic change when they arrive at their forever home, so it does take them a while to get used to their surroundings. Listen and observe your puppy.
- Adjust to your puppy’s needs at the beginning! If they truly need comfort and sleeping next to at the beginning, then you can respond to those needs.