Puppy Crate Training The Wildrose Way

Based on decades of experience in training exceptional dogs, Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels teaches us how to crate train puppies in order to protect them, provide a sense of security, and set them up for house training success.


How To Crate Train Your Puppy The Wildrose Way : Video Transcript

Mike Stewart: Some people believe that crate training is hard for the dog's adjustment. Nothing could be further from the truth. They enjoy being in their own confined area where they can relax, where they can have some time off from the family. You can take that crate, put it in the home, and the pup feels secure and quiet. You can travel with the crate, providing exceptional protection in the case of a vehicle accident, or by going into hotels, or lodges, or visiting other people's home.

So what we want to do is get the puppy acclimated to the crates very, very early in their development. We have two sizes of crates here and two different pups. One thing about the crates we want to do with a young dog is don't give them too much space. If you put a little puppy into a big crate like this ... And you might think that's the thing, to do to go buy the bigger crate. It'll save a bit of money because he's going to grow into it. What he will do is turn a larger crate like this into a condo. He will live in the back and poop in the front.

So what we want to do is to keep the dog in more of a confined area because they really don't want to soil their own beds. So crate training is an essential piece of housebreaking. These pups love their crate. Let's see how we got them to this point step-by-step.

Okay. Here we are with a three month old pup and we're going to teach him how to enter the crate. This is one of the first skills that we teach a puppy, actually, when they go home. And you can see inside the crate, there's no bedding because they will start chewing on that bedding, eating the bedding. If a puppy shows a fear factor of the crate, what we're going to do is start feeding the puppy in proximity to the crate. After a day or two, we would move the feed just a little bit closer and a little bit closer to the crate. And then finally, just inside the crate and slowly push it to the back.

We don't acclimate the pup in big sweeping movement. Small little pieces. It may take several days. And if we needed to, we can use treats as a lure. So let's try a treat and see if we can get the puppy really interested in the food. And basically, place it just inside the crate door.

Danielle: Good girl.

Mike Stewart: Good. Now you see it picked up with a lot more enthusiasm. There's no fear factor here. If there was a fear factor, we'd stand down, back up, get the puppy a little bit more confident being around the crate. As the behavior occurs, we apply the cue, which is kennel. So let's try it, Danielle.

Danielle: Good girl. Kennel.

Mike Stewart: In our next step, we're going to make sure the pup will stay in their crate quietly. If we close the door, will your puppy be quiet? If he doesn't, pay no attention to him until he is quiet, then return to your pup. We don't want to give the puppy attention if they're making noise or that's just going to reinforce that behavior.

So we've learned a lot in this little bitty segment. These crates are so important to the dog's development. It gives them a cave, a space to be, seclusion, quietness. Later on we can put a mat in there for them, if you like.

Now, we have a puppy pretty confident. We can close the door. The puppy is remaining quiet, and we don't want to keep the puppy in there, but short periods of time at first, and then continue to lengthen those till they're in there a couple of hours till they need to go out to relieve themselves. Remember, immediately coming out of the crate, outside for relief. Well, there you have it. Crate training, the positive way. Crate training is an essential behavior. And you're going to enjoy the experience once it's mastered.