A cozy den, tucked safely away from noise and annoyances -- that’s what your puppy’s crate will come to mean for him in time. It takes a while, however, for your little tail-wagger to sleep soundly in his crate. You can help him adapt through consistency and patience.
Choose a dog crate that is big enough for your little guy to stretch out comfortably and stand up, but not so large that he can romp and run from end to end.
Place your puppy’s crate where he can see you but not right beside a hallway or a door where he can be disturbed by your comings and goings.
Put a soft blanket and a cuddly stuffed animal in the crate to keep your puppy company. Make his crate as appealing and comforting as you can.
Feed your puppy and give him a drink of water about two hours before you crate him. If you allow him to eat or drink after that, he might have to go potty when he’s in his crate, which will interfere with his sleep.
Take your puppy outside, and wait for him to go to the bathroom right before putting him in his crate.
Put your puppy in his crate and close the door while you go about your household tasks. In many cases, the puppy will fall asleep right away.
Carry your puppy or lead him to his potty spot as soon as he wakes up. Puppies usually eliminate right after they awaken so it’s important to take your puppy out of his crate right away.
Leave your puppy in his crate no longer than one hour for every month of his age. Three hours is the limit for a 3-month-old puppy, five hours for a 5-month-old puppy and so on.
Cover the top and sides of your puppy’s crate to encourage him to sleep. A sheet or a lightweight blanket will do the trick. If your puppy has a tough time winding down, you can drape the front of the crate as well, but make sure he gets plenty of fresh air.
- Your puppy will soon learn that his crate is his own special place and he will voluntarily go in and lie down if you leave the door open.
- Dogs do not like to soil their beds so your puppy will try very hard not to eliminate in his crate. If you have to leave your puppy alone for more than a few hours, ask a friend or neighbor to take him out for a potty break.
- Resist the urge to let your puppy out of his crate if he howls pitifully when you put him in. As long as you've given him the chance to use the bathroom, he can stay in his crate for a while. Wait until he calms down and then take him out and praise him. If you take him out when he whines, you're encouraging his behavior. Consistency, lots of love and positive reinforcement will have your furry friend sleeping soundly in his crate in no time.
Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.