When the puppies are 6 weeks old, they do not want to be contained in the whelping box any longer! This is when we start to introduce them to their crates. By doing this now, they will already be familiar with a crate, and will be more comfortable when they get to their new homes.
The first step is to open up the crate, and put a puppy blanket inside.
If puppy doesn’t show any interest in going into the crate, that’s ok. We don’t force them into it. We want every new experience to be fun and safe for your new puppy. If the puppies don’t go in, I throw a yummy treat inside to see if they go for it. As soon as I opened the second crate, Roscoe decided he would claim it as his own den.
There is no need to close the door on them. We don’t want them to feel trapped. We want them to feel safe, and free to get in and out. We leave the crate doors open for them.
And some other lil doodles just prefer to “rough it” on the hard floor.
Here are some things that will help.1. Practice crate training during the day, and start slow. Let puppy get comfortable in the crate, before you lock them in and leave the room. If you lock the puppy in and leave the room, you will teach puppy that when the door closes, you abandon her. Not good. Train one thing at a time. Put her in the crate with the door closed and hang out in that room. If she is crying, don’t talk to her. Wait until she is calm before talking to her. After a week or so, when puppy is comfy in there, THEN start going into other rooms.
2. Resist the temptation to punish your puppy in ANY way while it is in the crate, and DO NOT use the crate as punishment for peeing on the floor, acting crazy, whatever. Puppy should associate the crate with GOOD things, not bad.
3. When you want puppy to go in the crate, open the crate door and throw in a “bully stick” and say, “get in your house,” and let your puppy walk in the crate and chew on the stick, with the door open. If puppy tries to bring out the treat, take it away and put it back in the crate. Puppy only gets the stick if puppy is IN the crate.
4. Try putting a towel on the top of the crate to make it look more like a “den.” Dogs love to be “inside” something and it makes them feel more comfortable and protected.
6. At bedtime, make sure your puppy can SEE you while they are in their crate. If puppy can’t see you, it will feel alone and cry. Puppy will probably cry for a few minutes at bedtime and this is normal. If they continue to cry, they may need to go potty. In the middle of the night, puppy will wake up to potty. Take puppy out and then right back into the crate they go. 3am is not a puppy party time. After about 10 weeks old, puppy should be able to make it all night in the crate without waking up.
7. Check your crate carefully for any areas where Puppies can get their collar caught. We recommend leaving your puppy’s collar OFF while they are in their crate for the first few months. If a collar is caught on the inside of the crate, the puppy could choke.