Crate Conditioning For a New Doodle Family

Crate training is among the most important parts of training a new puppy there is. Especially when it comes to bedtime! Your puppy is always safest and best kept in their crate when it is bedtime. Puppies are curious little beings and could easily find themselves in a world of danger given enough time unsupervised.

When I send a new Doodle puppy home with their arranged family, I always anticipate lots of concern from the new owners when it comes to crate training the puppy. Why? Because puppies, when they leave their litter for the first time, tend to .. well, um.. SCREAM. Yes, scream. Or cry. Or howl. Whatever you choose to call it, it aches. If not audibly, emotionally. This makes it SO easy to doubt whether or not you are being a barbaric monster or a careful dog owner. It’s not uncommon to take a new puppy home and for them to be a perfectly tempered pooch, until it’s time to crate up. It can be extremely alarming to a new puppy owner to see their innocent, delicate, sweet puppy cry out in a fit of rage that can’t easily deciphered as truly being in pain or being upset because there in a errrrm CRATE. The good news is, they do learn to love their crate! In time you’ll find they actually retreat there often. Crating should never be used for more than the puppy’s safety. They should certainly be allowed out of the crate more than they are actually in the crate, emotionally and physically nurtured and exercised often. Seriously.. DO NOT ABUSE THE CONVENIENCE OF THE CRATE.

But here are a few tips to help your puppy feel more comfortable while they adapt to their new crate.

  • Reward your puppy as soon as they enter the crate, assure them this is good even though it feels scary and frustrating to them
  • Cover the crate with a dark blanket, so they aren’t overly stimulated while trying to settle into their new space. Lights and movement are definitely meltdown triggers for new puppies in their crates.
  • Music. Lots of music. I tend to play lots of folk music for my puppies. Not because I love folk music but because it’s usually pretty even in mood and just creates a calming energy. I doubt Tyler Childers ever imagined his album Long Violent History would have such a profound effect on the sleep conditioning of Doodle puppies… but it did.
  • Make sure your feeding and watering routine facilitates success. Don’t feed and water the little one right before bed and expect there not to be a mess. Feedings should not occur within 4 hours prior to bedtime.
  • Plan to let them out to eliminate through the night a lot in the first several days.

If you need further help potty training your new Doodle puppy check out this post!

(Happy Doodle Farm’s Darryl – Our Labradoodle stud)

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