While puppies can bring endless happiness and joy to a person’s life, they can also get into a lot of mischief when left home alone. The last thing a new dog owner wants is to come home and find chewed furniture, soiled carpet, or damaged belongings. So, it’s important to take the time to train your dog while it’s young, in order to easily avoid these problems.
There are many methods that dog owners swear by to properly train a puppy, and crate training is one of the most popular and effective methods for training a young puppy.
You want your puppy to feel comfortable in their crate for the days where they need to be confined. Since puppies are less likely to urinate and defecate in their sleeping area, you also want to give them a place they feel content sleeping in. If you plan on traveling with your dog in the future—and if they’re small enough to travel in a crate—it’s also a good idea to get them familiar with it to make traveling easier for both them and you.
If you’re new to crate training a dog, here’s what you need to know to get started on the right foot! (Or, shall we say, on the right “paw?”)
What is Crate Training?
Crate training is simply teaching a dog to willingly use a crate as their “safe place,” and it’s much easier than you might think. Dogs who are crate trained can use their crate as a happy, safe place and go in and out of their crates calmly and without force. This can help with house-training and helping your dog learn the rules of a new home.
Why Choose Crate Training?
There are many benefits of crate training for puppies; mostly importantly to help them become comfortable when they need to be inside their crate. Many dog owners claim their dogs love their crates and enjoy spending time relaxing or playing with a toy in their crates. Crates can reduce anxiety and provide a safe, positive space for dogs to go if they become overwhelmed or stressed. Crate training can also help make sure your dog doesn’t soil the furniture or carpet while you’re away, as dogs do not want to soil their own beds. Another great reason to crate train is to make sure your puppy stays safe when you can’t be there to watch them.
Important Do’s and Don’ts for Crate Training
Before we get into the steps and break crate training down, here are a few do’s and don’ts many new dog owners don’t know about it. Often, owners may mistakenly create a negative association between their dog and the dog’s crate, which is important to avoid. The ultimate goal of crate training is to create a comfortable space for your puppy. Therefore, here are a few things to keep in mind while training them so you can achieve that:
- Set Them Up for Success: Prepare their kennel with a soft blanket or dog bed to make it cozy for your new puppy, and introduce the kennel with lots of treats. The goal of this is to make them associate their kennel with something positive, and since dogs are very treat-motivated, using treats as tools is a great way to be successful.
- Reward Your Puppy for Entering Their Crate: Use a cheerful tone of voice to affirm their actions with praise (i.e., “Good boy!”) and give them a treat every time they enter it on their own.
- Leave Them in Their Crate for a Long Time at First: Don’t leave them in their crate for especially long periods of time right away. Instead, lock them in for shorter periods of time, such as fifteen to thirty minutes, then let them out, and repeat the process, extending the period of time with every occasion. This will show them that they won’t be stuck in their forever.
- Avoid Their Crate Early On: It may be hard to do this, especially with their little puppy-dog eyes and petite whimpers, but it is important to leave them alone in their kennel for some time to show them that you will eventually come back for them. If you don’t, they will not learn to accept their kennel, and may also develop separation anxiety once you finally do leave them for some time.
- Use Their Crate as a Punishment: As tempting as it may be to lock them in there after they’ve piddled on your expensive, imported rug, do not shove them in their kennel and yell at them for what they did. This will give them negative associations with their kennel, which is something you don’t want. Later, they might refuse to go into their crate because of this, and you’ll have to undo your inadvertent “training,” which is much easier said than done.
Now that we’ve gone over some important things to keep in mind while crate training your puppy, let’s dive into the steps!
Steps for Crate Training a Puppy
Crate training may happen quickly for some puppies, but it might take much longer for others. It’s important to have patience throughout the entire process and continue to perform the steps properly for them to really stick with your puppy. While it may seem like a lot to do, there’s actually relatively little that you must do—it’ll just take some time and patience. So, here’s what you have to do, all broken down for you:
The first step to crate training your puppy is to choose an appropriate crate. It’s important that the crate is well ventilated and large enough for the dog to have space to stand or move around comfortably. Remember, your puppy is growing rapidly, so think about the size your dog will be when itis fully-grown. As your puppy grows, you can buy a new crate as it grows out of the old one, or you can buy a crate the size of its estimated future, full-grown size. If you buy a crate for the size your puppy will grow in to, while your puppy is still young, you can use a divider to make its dog crate smaller. If the crate is too large, the puppy may have extra space to use the crate as a bathroom without soiling its bed. Dividers are available at most pet stores, but many larger crates include a divider in the package with the crate.
Next, introduce your puppy’s crate as a welcoming and happy place. Line the crate with blankets, add some toys, and make sure it’s in a room with dim lighting to make the crate more den-like. Begin allowing your puppy to use the crate for 5-10-minute increments, for naps or to wind down. Gradually increase the time the puppy uses the crate. It’s a good idea to allow your puppy to sleep in its crate overnight. Your puppy may whine and cry a little at first, but it will eventually get used to the crate. Try not to give into your puppy’s whines during this time. It’s easy to do, but it will train them that they can get what they want, sort of like giving into your child in the candy aisle does. Still, don’t be opposed to treats; using treats as a tool to get your puppy used to the crate and associate it as a good place is essential when crate training. Give your puppy a treat for using its crate to reward their behavior and reinforce that the crate is a good thing.
The most important part of crate training is to take your dog outside to use the bathroom each time you take it out of the crate. This ties into potty training quite a bit because they’re less likely to pee or poop in their crate if it is their sleeping space, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen if they really must go. Make taking your puppy out of their kennel to bring them outside to do their business a part of their regimen. The puppy will begin to learn to wait until after crate time to eliminate. Give your puppy a treat each time it uses the bathroom outside to reinforce good behavior. Soon, they’ll be able to go through the whole night without an accident, and they will become acclimated to a schedule, so they will happily sleep away until you get up!
Because crate training can take some time, plan ahead for some sleepless nights. Your puppy may keep you up all night long the first few nights you bring it home, but some dogs, such as terrier breeds, may keep you up for longer than expected. Regardless, don’t give up hope or give in to their whines and let them into the bed. Bringing them to bed with you will disrupt their notion that you’re the boss, and they may develop naughty behavior because of this. In the end, following the steps for crate training a puppy is incredibly rewarding, and you’ll be happy you held up. Until then, you might want to invest in some wine and ear plugs!
Quick Tips for Crate Training
Let’s quickly go over some of the most important tips we’ve covered:
- Give your puppy a treat each time it uses its crate to help build a positive association with the crate.
- Never use your dog’s crate as a punishment or place for time-out, as the puppy will begin to see the crate as a negative space.
- Make sure to take your puppy out of its crate at regular intervals throughout the day to play, use the bathroom, and eat. Never leave your dog in a crate all day.
- Crate train your puppy while it is still young, but allow it to become comfortable in a new home first. Nine to ten weeks old is an ideal age to train a puppy.
Remember, crate training takes time, and it’s important to stay patient with your puppy to make sure the training is a positive experience. Eventually, the crate will be a warm and welcoming place for your puppy to rest and relax. Once your puppy is crate trained, you will be able to enjoy watching your puppy grow without having to worry about damage to furniture, carpets, or other items in the house.
Is Crate Training a Part of Training a Puppy to Be an ESA?
Yes! If you’ve recently adopted a puppy for the purpose of training it to be an emotional support animal, or “ESA,” crate training may be especially important to you. Having your dog used to their crate for traveling or moving into a new home can be crucial because it’ll be the only space they’re familiar and comfortable with, and it’s a way to keep them properly restrained while on the move. Many transportation services require your dog be restrained, and if your dog is small enough, having it in its crate might be the best option for you. Otherwise, being in public may be easier with your dog contained, but if it interferes with your animal’s ability to carry out its responsibilities as part of your treatment, something different may be arranged.
It may be frustrating at first because you will just want your dog to be ready to help take care of you, especially since its main job is to be a part of your treatment, but over time, you’ll find that every moment spent training your dog will be worth it.
What Else Should You Know About ESAs?
Whether you’re new to having an ESA or you’ve been around the block a few times, everyone knows how ironically frustrating life can be with an ESA since they’re in your life for the purpose of making it easier. It seems ESA owners face trouble nearly everywhere they go, which is why we’re dedicated to informing ESA owners of their rights to protect them from difficult situations.
Here are a few things we want you to be aware of:
Fair Housing Act: Are you planning to register your ESA to move into a new living space? Great! We want you to be aware of the Fair Housing Act. Under this act, landlords are required to permit the resident to keep any animal that provides a benefit to persons with disabilities, including emotional and psychological, even if they otherwise restrict animals on the premises. Your task is to only register your ESA and procure a letter confirming its role in your treatment from a licensed medical professional. At, U.S. Service Animal and Support Animal Registry, we are here to help you with every step of the process.
Air Carrier Access Act: The Air Carrier Access Act used to ensure that ESAs could fly with you on the plane for free. It has been updated however, and now ESAs are treated like regular pets, even if you have the proper documentation. This means that airlines will charge a pet fee, and they can tell you that your ESA needs to ride in cargo if it can’t be accommodated for beforehand. If flying activates your anxiety in a way that’s debilitating, it may be worth looking into if registering and training your ESA as a psychiatric service dog is a possibility. Service dogs have more legal rights than ESAs, so they’ll always be able to fly with you without charge.
American Disabilities Act: The ADA requires entities that providing public goods or services to provide “reasonable accommodations” to persons with disabilities in order to satisfy the provider’s regulations, procedures, rules, and policies. The American Disabilities Act extends from government agencies, to private enterprise, and non-profit organizations.
Your Privacy: We care about your privacy and want to help you protect it. No person or business is allowed to invade your privacy by asking about your disability or requiring medical documentation, a special identification card, training documentation (in the case of a service dog, for instance), or a demonstration of your ESA’s service to you (i.e., perform a task). You should never be required to disclose any details about your disability. While applying for housing, however, the proprietors and agents will have access to the basic information provided on your emotional service animal’s ID card and in your letter from a licensed medical practitioner.
Disruptive Presence: While you have the right to live with your emotional support animal, if your ESA escapes your control to the extent of disrupting others, proprietors or their staff members can request your animal be removed from the premises. Therefore, all service animals must be either harnessed, leashed, tethered, or confined to a carrying container while in public places, unless such containment interferes with the animal’s task or role as it pertains to the disabled person, including the emotionally and psychologically disabled.
Lastly, we want you to beware of scams! Just like any other industry or company, there are imposters everywhere. Therefore, if you have any questions about anyone acting or pretending to conduct business on our behalf, about U.S. Service Animals, or have your suspicions of any questions or actions of any person claiming to be a service animal authority, don’t hesitate to contact us. We here at U.S. Service Animals are here to protect, help, and support both you and your ESA.
The Perks of Registering Your Dog as an ESA with Us
Why should you register your ESA with us? Here are a few reasons:
– You not only get a card, but a certificate, as well. The certificate acts as an official document that confirms your animal is registered as an ESA in our database, and contains all the necessary information, such as the date of issuance and the animal’s name.
– You and your animal are entered into the largest online database of U.S. service animals.
– We supply numerous resources to help you secure a support animal, or a licensed medical professional, should you need an official letter for a landlord.
– If you register with us, you can get $60 off your consultation with any medical professional in our network, when you seek out an official letter for your housing.
– Registering your animal allows you to also carry all the necessary equipment and accessories needed for your animal, such as a leash, collar, tag, vest, and so on.
– We can help connect you to our on-staff attorneys who are there to protect your rights as an ESA owner.
– You get access to our ESA kits and products.
Ready to begin the process of registering your animal as an ESA?
At U.S. Service Animal and Support Animal Registry, we’re dedicated to educating and helping ESAs and their owners.
Contact us today to find out more!