Think of the crate as a sanctuary for your papillon, not a prison. The crate gives your papillon an area of relaxation, security and privacy. The papillon breed is difficult to potty-train, so the crate is a wonderful tool that keeps random pee spots off your carpet.
Introduce the crate to your papillon. Keep the crate in a room where your family members spend the most time. Keep the door of the crate open. Create a comfortable sanctuary for your dog using blankets, inedible toys and treats toward the back of the crate. Do not force your papillon into the crate since he is likely to explore the crate on his own — especially to find the treats.
Feed meals inside the crate. Start by feeding meals next to the crate, but progressively move the food dish toward the entrance and then inside the crate. As your papillon becomes comfortable, move the dish closer to the back of the crate with each meal. By the end of the week, your papillon will likely be standing entirely inside. If your dog is relaxed while eating, close the door and allow him to finish eating with the door closed.
Crate your papillon while you're home. Create a command, such as “kennel” or “crate.” Give the command each time a meal is in the crate or a treat is available. Once your dog is inside the crate, close the door and sit next to the crate for 10 minutes. Leave the room for a few minutes and return to the crate for five minutes before opening the door. Repeat these steps until you can leave the crate for 30 minutes without your dog barking or whining. These steps prevent your papillon from associating the crate with you leaving, the American Dog Trainers Network advises.
Follow age guidelines for crating. Once your dog sits comfortably in his crate for 30 minutes, you can leave the house. The American Dog Trainers Network recommends puppies between 9 to 10 weeks old be crated only for 30 to 60 minutes, those age 11 to 14 weeks one to three hours, those 15 to 16 weeks three to four hours and those over 17 weeks crated four to six hours.
- If your papillon whines while crate training, do not open the crate door until he is quiet. Allowing him out while whining teaches him that this behavior gets him out of the crate, the Humane Society of the United States asserts.
- Toss treats into the crate throughout the day so your papillon has positive reinforcement within the crate even between training sessions.
- Use a hamster-type water dispenser with ice water so your dog can't spill his water dish and always has fresh water, the American Dog Trainers Network website suggests.
- If you're gone longer than the recommended age guidelines for crating, hire a dog sitter or take your papillon to a doggy day care center.
- Do not crate your dog in extreme temperatures since this can result in heat stroke or hypothermia.
- Never punish a papillon using the crate. The dog will create a negative association with the crate and will likely refuse to enter it voluntarily.
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.