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Puppy Insights

January 18th

Crate Train Your Puppy Now for Freedom in the Future

Crate Train Your Puppy Now for Freedom in the Future

We recommend either crate training or room training your dog. If you’re against “locking your puppy in a cage,” please hear us out.

By the time you meet your Uptown Puppy, he or she will already be well into their crate training, which is why we recommend to continue. However, you may room train your puppy instead if you wish (more below).

What some people see as a cage or a prison, your dog views as a den—their safe place. Dogs have inherited this behavior from wolves, and their den is simply where they can sleep without worry or fear. And for parents of new Doodle puppies, crate training will make your life a whole lot easier, too!

Crate Training 101

Crates should be big enough for your dog to stand up, spin in a circle, lie down, and no more. Of course, that size will vary depending on the size of your dog—meaning you’ll need to upgrade crates as your dog grows, or buy a type of crate that allows for partitioning and expansion.

Your puppy’s crate should contain their favorite toys, but forgo bedding at first. Early on, your puppy will have an urge to pee on their bedding, so either wait until your dog can go the entire night without soiling their den, or be sure to use washable bedding.

To make life easier for you, start your dog’s crate off in a room that will later become your dog’s safe room—a place where your dog can stay if, for example, you have visitors over who aren’t as obsessed with Doodles as you are.

For the first night, feel free to crate your dog inside your bedroom so they can be close to people. Some puppies pee in their crate at first, while some don’t. Have patience. Remember, it’s a gigantic transition to be sleeping in an entirely new place away from their littermates and mommy.

Your puppy is uncertain and scared, and will need time to adjust.

One of the main purposes of the crate is to prevent (or at least discourage) your puppy from peeing for longer and longer periods of time. Your first crate session shouldn’t last longer than an hour or two, but you will gradually be able to increase that period as your puppy adjusts.

For the first few nights, we recommend waking up at least twice to let your puppy outside to pee, and crate sessions during the day shouldn’t be longer than 4 hours.

After a few days, you can start letting your puppy out just once in the middle of the night, gradually extending their wait time by an hour until, voila, they’ve gone the whole night without peeing.

After a few months, you can move on to room training if you wish.

Also, remember to remove both food and water at least an hour before you crate your dog, and to let your pup outside to do their business before every crating session. When you go to sleep at night, you should remove food and water up to 2-3 hours before bedtime to set your puppy up for success.

What About Room Training?

As we said before, room training allows your dog more freedom than a crate in situations where, for example, you’re hosting visitors who just aren’t dog-people. This could be a spare bathroom, a utility room, etc.

If needed, the room will contain a pee pad (more later) and toys. As with crate training, don’t include bedding until your dog is better able to hold its bladder.

Some dogs will pee in their space in the beginning, some won’t. Again, have patience.

If you include a pee pad, the idea is to gradually ease your dog away from using one, to the point where they can hold their pee the same as if they were in their crate. This room is meant to keep them safe, discourage peeing, and keep them out of trouble.

During room training, don’t confine your dog longer than an hour or two at night—at first.

If you’re room training your dog after crate training, this process should be easier—maybe even effortless. Follow the same guidelines for letting your dog out to pee and gradually extending his or her wait time until they’re able to make it through the whole night.

Your goal from crate/room training is to gradually give your dog more and more freedom. While all dogs are different, on average you can expect to need about a year of room training before your dog should get free roam of the house when you’re gone.

Again, rules for food and water still stand—remove them around dinner time so your dog is well and truly empty come bedtime.

Does My Puppy Need Pee Pads?

We sometimes use pee pads when training our dogs—always in the puppy’s room, and always in the same spot.

If given the chance, your puppy will almost always opt to pee outside instead of inside. For homes with doggy doors, place your pee pad next to the door both inside and outside to get your pup used to using the doggy door. Your puppy should catch on pretty quickly, so don’t worry.

However, pee pads should be used for emergencies only. You should be taking your puppy outside as much as you can, eventually transitioning to only using pee pads at night, and then not at all.

That means that when your dog uses the pee pad, you should neither punish nor praise them—praise them when they pee outside.

Eventually, they’ll catch on that peeing outside is what all the cool dogs do. Once your pee pad has been dry for several days with no sign of use, it’s time to retire them.

Note: Some puppies like to pounce on, attack or try to eat their pee pads. If that’s the case, give your pad a spray of bitterant to deter your puppy.

From Crate to Free Roam

Eventually, your puppy will no longer be a puppy and he will have graduated from his crate to free roam of your home. Take crate training seriously, and you’ll build the foundation for a well-behaved, well-adjusted dog in the future.

And if you’re still searching for an easy-to-train dog, use our puppy finder to meet one of our adorable Doodles—you won’t be disappointed!

About Uptown Staff

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