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Some questions I have about crate training.....

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by e_clark, May 17, 2010.


  1. e_clark

    e_clark PetForums Junior

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    Right, well I have a few questions about crate training before I get my puppy in 4 weeks time!

    He is a toy poodle, so I'm going for a 24inch crate (I think this is the right size, if anyone knows differently please say!).

    So the crate set up - I'll put his bed in there, and a blanket with the mums smell on etc, but do I need to put anything else in it - I know the breeder says hers have paper in there too, but I thought the point of crate training was that they don't go toilet in there? Should I put water/dry food in too or is that encouraging him to drink and hence need the toilet in the night? What about when he is in there during the day?

    So on the first night, will get home about 7.30pm with him, so what do we do about getting him used to the crate as I know you are meant to have fun in it first so he thinks its a good thing, but obviously won't have much time for this, so do I just put him in it anyways? And then from then on we put him in there whenever he's sleepy during the day etc?

    I know there is debate about whether to get up in the night to him or not, but basically if he cries when we put him to bed I ignore him right? (so that he doesn't associate crying with getting my attention). But what happens about letting him out through the night? Ideally he will be downstairs in the kitchen, so I'm not going to hear him cry, and a baby monitor won't work either as I'm a really heavy sleeper, so do I just set my alarm for like 3am and get up then when he might not even be awake :S So confused about what to do! Or do I have him in the crate in my bedroom upstairs to start with so I do hear him, or is this just getting him used to sleeping close to me? And what happens about accidents if you don't put paper in the crate - I'm guessing he's not going to be able to hold himself all night! As I said, this is confusing me greatly about what to do!

    Also with regards to feeding in the crate, do you just kind of put the food in the entrance and then let him eat from outside, or should he be completely in the crate too? And if so how do you handle this, as I'd like to get him sitting before he eats etc as well.

    When getting him used to being left during the day, how long should I start with leaving him for at first, and how gradually should I work this up?

    Also, do you continue using the crate forever, or do you gradually phase it out, and if so how do you know when to start doing this?

    I've also seen something about "dual house training" so that if he is left for longer periods at any point, or just to make his life more comfortable when we are out that you can train them to go outside when we are at home, but on a puppy pad when we are out/at night. Is this ok to do or do people think it will just confuse him more? Tbh I don't mind cleaning up a puppy pad/paper every day if it means he is more comfortable and hasn't had to hold it. Also how would you go about doing this?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm just concerned that I don't want to do anything wrong and I'm trying to get as much information as I can before I get him! I've read some of the crate threads in here, but these are just some of the points I just wanted to clarify! I'm sure I'll think of more questions, but last night I was just lying in bed thinking of these and getting stressed that I didn't know what to do properly!

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Chance

    Chance PetForums Senior

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    So the crate set up - I'll put his bed in there, and a blanket with the mums smell on etc, but do I need to put anything else in it - I know the breeder says hers have paper in there too, but I thought the point of crate training was that they don't go toilet in there? Should I put water/dry food in too or is that encouraging him to drink and hence need the toilet in the night? What about when he is in there during the day?

    We didn't put paper in, just her bedding and a few toys.

    So on the first night, will get home about 7.30pm with him, so what do we do about getting him used to the crate as I know you are meant to have fun in it first so he thinks its a good thing, but obviously won't have much time for this, so do I just put him in it anyways? And then from then on we put him in there whenever he's sleepy during the day etc?

    I would put all of his toys in there, so when he first goes to explore he'll consider it to be a pretty cool place with loads of fun things. Don't close the door straight away. Let him come and go as he pleases then when the time seems right close it. But only for a minute or two. try not to open it if he barks or wines. Wait for a quiet moment then let him out. Repeat this exercise throughout the evening but leaving it closed for longer periods each time.

    I know there is debate about whether to get up in the night to him or not

    This will probably rage on until the end of time. Definately do NOT go to him if he shouts for you like he is lonely. I got up twice in the night when Chance was a pup in her crate and let her out. She went into the garden, then straight back into her crate. No petting, no playing and this means she learnt that this time was for toilet and nothing else.

    Also with regards to feeding in the crate, do you just kind of put the food in the entrance and then let him eat from outside, or should he be completely in the crate too? And if so how do you handle this, as I'd like to get him sitting before he eats etc as well.

    We didn't ever feed Chance in her crate, although she did sometime find treats in there. Even if you do, there is no reason you can't train obedience like you suggest with the sitting etc.

    When getting him used to being left during the day, how long should I start with leaving him for at first, and how gradually should I work this up?


    I think the general consensus is about 3 - 4 hours for a pup. Some would not go longer than 2 hours.

    Also, do you continue using the crate forever, or do you gradually phase it out, and if so how do you know when to start doing this?

    Some use it forever. Some phase it out. It depends on your dog and your home and the space available. At about 12 months I started to leave her crate door open over night. This gave her a bit more freedom, yet the security of the crate. Eventually I started putting her bed next to the crate at night and then took the crate away altogether. It worked well for us.

    I've also seen something about "dual house training" so that if he is left for longer periods at any point, or just to make his life more comfortable when we are out that you can train them to go outside when we are at home, but on a puppy pad when we are out/at night. Is this ok to do or do people think it will just confuse him more? Tbh I don't mind cleaning up a puppy pad/paper every day if it means he is more comfortable and hasn't had to hold it. Also how would you go about doing this?

    Never heard of this and to be honest, pups will train pretty quickly not to toilet in the house. Most people I know that used training pads discovered they were merely expensive shredded paper as for some reason dog love to chew them up!

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm just concerned that I don't want to do anything wrong and I'm trying to get as much information as I can before I get him! I've read some of the crate threads in here, but these are just some of the points I just wanted to clarify! I'm sure I'll think of more questions, but last night I was just lying in bed thinking of these and getting stressed that I didn't know what to do properly!

    Keep them coming - there is some great help and advice on here and not many questions go unanswered.
     
  3. kaisa624

    kaisa624 PetForums VIP

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    With leaving the pup on it's own. We started by leaving the house with her crated for an hour. Now we leave her crated for 2 hours max. If we were longer than 1 hour, when we first started elaving her, we'd surround her crate with a puppy pen, and put a puppy pad up the other end, so she had somewhere to toilet if she needed to, however most of the time we'd find her in her crate asleep :) As long as her crate is used as a positive safe place, your pup should be fine :D
     
  4. Bearpaw

    Bearpaw PetForums VIP

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    Hello,congrats on your forthcoming puppy.You ask as many questions as you like,and they are not daft! if you dont ask you dont know!!
    I think we all do things slightly different,and im sure you will find your own way,once pup has been with you a while.
    If your pup hasnt used a crate at the breeders,then it will need to be introduced slowly and positively.But crates are invaluable in potty training,and a great way to make sure puppy doesnt get hurt when left alone or your house doesnt get wrecked!!
    With tiny pups you will need to get up in the night to let it out,it wont be able to hold it all night,so set your alarm for 3am ish.Let pup out,no fuss,then back to bed till morning.
    As your pup grows it will hold longer and you will be able to lengthen the time,eventually it will go through the night.
    Most dogs learn to enjoy their crate,and will see it as its bed,if introduced properly.Never use the crate as a punishment or it will learn to associate it with being told off and being naughty.Make it a nice place to be.
    I dont give water at night,as i found mine just played with it,and it also helped with getting them dry at night,But i always have water outside,so when pup goes out in the night it had a quick drink too.
    If pup does have any accidents,try and just clean it up with no fuss,it wont remember doing it after the event.If you catch pup doing it,take pup outside and show it the correct place to go.Use a word like 'go toilet' whenever you take pup outside,it will soon learn the command and may even perform on command in a few weeks/months!
    I dont personally have my dogs upstairs,though many do.All tiny pups will cry for a few nights,its only natural,as they just been whisked away from their mom and family,its a bit scarey!!
    Well done for doing your research before pup arrives,it will all be fine,just enjoy it,they grow so fast!!
     
  5. kaisa624

    kaisa624 PetForums VIP

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    Holly is never allowed upstairs, apart from bath time, so she is used to staying in the kitchen.

    We do put water in Holly's crate overnight, however not much. She will go through the night, however we didn't put any water in her crate until she got to 4 months old.
     
  6. e_clark

    e_clark PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for all your replies. Its so confusing when there are so many different ways of doing things though! I am concerned I won't hear him asking to go out in the night, which is why I'm leaning towards putting a puppy pad in his crate (another way people seem to be talking about!) so that when he needs to go in the night he can go on there. I'm not sure I want to start having him in his crate upstairs as I think that could ne a hard habit to break.

    The breeder has had paper in their puppy pen so he will be used to going on paper/a pad, but the only thing concerning me with doing this is that how do you then kinda wean them off going in the night on their pad to not going at all, or do they just kinda do that of their own accord as their bladders get bigger and they can hold it? (like we as humans do). And abouts how long will it be (approx) before he can hold it through the night? (He's a toy poodle).

    About to put a big order in with pet supermarket as I have a discount code, so trying to make sure I've got everything on the order I need (like puppy pads) before I place it, so trying to decide whether I want them or not! 3 weeks today he comes home! Have ordered his crate, travel crate (as will be doing a fair bit of going places this summer), hook on bowls for crate, blanket, tag and already have his bed, collar, lead and some toys. Got his food and some other bits and pieces ready to go on this pet supermarket order, can anyone think of anything else I might need though?
     
  7. kaisa624

    kaisa624 PetForums VIP

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    What food are you going to be feeding him?
     
  8. e_clark

    e_clark PetForums Junior

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    Well the breeder is feeding them raw minced tripe and royal canin mini junior at the moment, so obviously carrying that on for a bit anyways, then will see how he goes from there!
     
  9. Bearpaw

    Bearpaw PetForums VIP

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    I would set your alarm for in the night,at around 3ish,let pup out then pop it back to bed with as little fuss as possible.You may not need to do it for long.
    I tend not to put water in the crate myself,as this also helps get them dry at night.I dont use puppy pads,as i feel it encourages them to go indoors,and i choose to just let them out more often,They soon learn.
    Make sure to buy some poos bags,if you are planning on clicker training maybe a clicker and treats,wormer,brushes,nail clippers.
    Sounds like you got most things covered anyway,so just get excited and look forward to pup arriving!!
     
  10. e_clark

    e_clark PetForums Junior

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    Thanks :) So say I get up at 3am and he's asleep - do I just wake him up anyways and take him out? I know every pup is different, but approximately how long would you expect to be doing this for? And how do you know when you should stop? Thanks!
     
  11. ad_1980

    ad_1980 PetForums VIP

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    I feed mika raw tripe as well hon.

    he loves it. :)
     
  12. Bearpaw

    Bearpaw PetForums VIP

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    Once you get up in the night,your pup will probably wake anyway,as itll hear you.Try not to fuss it too much or play,just out for a wee and back to bed.Some pups will go through the night at a very young age,others take longer.Id wait and see how your pup is and adjust your routine to suit you both.Theres no right or wrong! Lots of praise for going outside though!
     
  13. Piglet1

    Piglet1 PetForums Junior

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    I have a whippet puppy aged 11 weeks. When we first got him, I made the decision to have his crate in our living room. We sleep on the third floor of the house and I can still hear him if he whines, even with all the doors shut!
    Whilst not wanting to tempt fate, I think we are making progress. He took to the crate really easily but would cry about twice in the night. I chose to get up to him when he cried and let him outside. Only occasionally was he just crying for attention - usually he would wee or poo so we had a nice dry crate, even with a puppy pad in it.
    A couple of times he whined once he went back but I would then ignore him. He is now going to bed at 10 ish and for the last 4 or 5 nights has slept through to 5 or 6 in the morning and the majority of times, we have a dry crate. I do let him on my bed for the last hour in the morning and he happily goes back to sleep, allowing me to get more rest.
    I found it horrendous, getting broken sleep but he seems to have established a routine. I tis much better once you can walk your puppy as you can taker him out last thing and get him tired!
    It does get better!!
     
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