A few days ago we introduced a crate to the area. The pups were outside eating and going potty and they came back in to discover the crate! We do not close them in it- it is just there for them to get familiar with. Pics below!
They looked at it. They sniffed it. The bit it. They went inside of it one at a time, then two at a time. Then, they wrestled in it. Then, they took turns sleeping in it!
We later found each of them sleeping in it. On occasion we found 2 sleeping in it at once!
We’d later add some small towels tied to the top. This is puppy entertainment! They can bite and tug the towels, bite the knot at the top, etc.
The crate is a fun place to be!
This is about the extent of the crate “training” we do, it is just a nice introduction, and the door is never closed.
When the pups leave they’ll already know about crates, that they are a fun place to be, and that they can sleep in them.
Below is a picture from a past litter. We had almost kept one of the pups and crate trained him in about 10 minutes. To do this we took a small kong full of peanut butter and stuck it in the back of the crate. He went in to spend some time trying to get the peanut butter out and we closed him in and left him alone for 3 minutes. We can back and re-opened it. He did not mind it being shut, because he was so busy trying to lick peanut butter out of a kong. If he was whining at all we would not have opened it.
Our first night crate training we put him in our bedroom. We thought we’d be up all night, but crate training only took a few minutes. We put him in the crate and closed him in with toys and treats. After he ate his treats he whined for 5 – 10 minutes, and went to sleep. It is important to not disturb them, or give them positive (or especially negative) attention if they are whining.
Ignore the bad, reward the good.
Here’s a pic:
We’ve read to not force them OUT of the crate. The crate must be their own little den, that they associate with their place. When they are old enough, to get them in we simply throw some treats in and they run right in.
Never use a crate as a punishment!
Pups have a strong desire to keep their area clean, and crates are a great tool for potty training. If they have been in there for very long they’ll have to go potty within 5 seconds of coming out, so be prepared to carry them outside or very quickly run them outdoors to go potty, and be sure to have a snack in hand for when they go potty outdoors.