Crate training is an excellent way to keep your puppy (or your adult dog) safe, secure, and ideally, free from separation anxiety. I have had dogs for almost 15 years, and every dog I’ve owned has been crate trained. I’m currently training my almost 12 week old German Shorthaired Pointer (Olive), and it has been a slow process for her. But we’re going in the right direction.
German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to separation anxiety, like many hunting and sporting dogs that were bred to work closely with their humans. Because of this, I can already see the signs in Olive that, if left alone, could quickly turn into full-blown separation anxiety.
Olive getting used to her crate at 9 weeks old
So crate training for her is even more important than for my other dog Max (who loves his crate but is very independent – there was no struggle trying to get him used to be alone, even as a puppy).
I thought I knew “everything” there is to crate training. In reality, I had just previously crate trained some very easy dogs! I’ve had to find some additional research and resources to help with Olive’s difficult time acclimating to her crate and her newfound alone time – and I thought I would share them with you!
Top Crate Training Resources For Puppies
So, you have a new member of the family but aren’t sure how to crate train? Or maybe you’re in my situation – where you have a puppy or a dog that just isn’t getting it like you had hoped?
Here are some great resources that I have personally used to help keep my girl on the right track! Please keep in mind these resources are not listed in any particular order.
If you are looking for ALL there is to know about crate training, this is an amazing, extensive guide. It will probably take you a whole day to read through it all, but it’s totally worth it. Don’t be fooled by the name – you don’t have to own a lab to use this resource!
I know I said these resources aren’t ranked, but honestly, if you are new to crate training and only check out one resource, you should let it be this one! Click here to check it out!
This brief guide by the Human Society of the United States provides information on crate training for beginners. It has four helpful sections: crating cautions, crate selection, the training process, and potential problems. Click here to check it out!
If you just don’t find written guides that helpful, you may benefit from a crate training video. Zak George is a popular YouTuber who creates lots of awesome dog and puppy training videos. You can check out his video on how to crate train a puppy below!
This is a great resource for those who already know the basics and need a few extra tips or reminders about how to do it properly. There are bulleted points for what TO do, what NOT to do, and an excellent sample crating schedule to follow for your puppy during the day. Click here to check it out!
This source was initially made for rescue dogs, but can work just as well for your puppy. You will often find that crate training guides refer to ‘crate training games.’ These are fun activities and games you can play with your dog to show them that hey, the crate is a FUN place to be! It’s not scary at all! Most of these games involve lots of food, so make sure you have some high-value treats on hand. Click here to check it out!
Why Crate Train?
Most dogs and puppies learn to love their crates when trained correctly
Some people are torn on using crates for their dog – is it cruel? If crates are supposedly ‘safe’ spaces for my dogs, why do they whine and bark when inside? It’s such a small space – how can they possibly be comfortable?
When raising a puppy, you will find just about a million different opinions on everything from housetraining to discipline to the food you choose to feed.
Crate training is no different. However, many experts agree that crate training is a) not cruel and b) one of the best ways to teach desirable traits to your dog.
Remember, crate training does NOT mean simply buying a crate and throwing your puppy inside. It’s a long (sometimes exhausting) process that includes getting your puppy not only used to his crate, but LOVING his crate.
Crate training is beneficial because:
- It helps prevent separation anxiety by giving your puppy a safe den-like area to call his own
- It helps prevent accidents in the house – Puppies do not like to soil where they sleep!
- It ensures your puppy’s safety when you can’t watch her – Puppies need 100% supervision, especially in those first few months. Crating gives your puppy a safe place to chew on toys, sleep, or relax while you can’t supervise
- Dogs are naturally den animals – Though your puppy may protest at first, if you crate train slowly and with LOTS of positive reinforcement, they will soon come to realize their crate is a warm, cozy, and safe place!
Crate training can be a tiring, long, and sometimes painful process (have you ever heard a puppy scream? Because it is not fun, I tell you!) But personally, I think it’s worth it – for your puppy’s safety, and your own sanity!