Dog Crate Training
If used properly, a crate can be a place for your puppy to feel safe and relaxed; a crate can also be used to provide a comfortable sleeping and traveling space for your puppy. In order for a crate to work in the right way, you will need to properly crate train your new puppy as soon as possible.
Crate Training Your Puppy
To begin crate training your puppy, choose a crate that will fit your puppy's size as it grows older. For large breeds you may need to change crates over time to adjust to your dog's size, but if possible it is best to keep the same crate. Create a nice environment in the crate by providing blankets and plenty of chewy toys.
Begin crate training by leaving the crate in an area your puppy likes to play or sleep. Leave the crate door open and let the puppy explore the crate at will. Once the puppy is familiar with the crate, close the door when the puppy is inside of it; choose a time when the puppy is tired, such as right after play time or eating, and after the puppy has gone to the restroom.
Keep the crate door closed for no longer than an hour at first. If the puppy starts to cry, ignore the puppy and then let the puppy out after it has stopped crying. Overtime increase the length of time that the puppy is in the crate, but do not leave the puppy in the crate during the day for longer than 3 hours. If you want to keep the puppy in a crate at night, make sure that the puppy has gone to the bathroom before it goes in the crate.
A crate should never, ever, be used as a punishment. Using the crate in this way will make the puppy confused as to the crate's purpose, and the puppy will grow to fear the crate.