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Beginner's Guide to Crate Training Your Labrador Puppy

Updated on December 27, 2015

Are you interested in learning how to crate train a puppy? Crate training is very beneficial and if done appropriately will help house train your Lab puppy quicker, make your puppy less anxious, and curb destructive behavior. Knowing how to train your puppy will assist you with your puppy training process. The following steps will help you get started with crate training your Lab puppy.

Selecting Your Puppy’s Crate

First, you will need to select a crate for your puppy. There are many crates to choose from. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. You will need a crate that your puppy can stand up in and can turn around comfortably. You don’t want to get a crate that is too big for your puppy because then she will designate part of her crate as a sleeping area and another part as her toilet area.

If you decide to get a big size crate for your Lab to grow into, then you will need to section it off so that it is just big enough for your puppy right now.

Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing a crate is that your Labrador puppy will grow into a big Labrador dog. You will have to decide if you want to get a crate that will fit your puppy when he grows into a full-sized dog or if you want to get your Lab puppy a cheaper small crate for now and a nicer crate later when your puppy is all grown up. If you decide to get a big size crate for your Lab to grow into, then you will need to section it off so that it is just big enough for your puppy right now.

Image: Found on flickrcc.net
Image: Found on flickrcc.net | Source

Make the Crate Comfortable

Next you will want to make your puppy’s crate comfortable to invite her in. Put down some soft, comfy blankets and a few of her favorite toys. Some people even have a special toy specifically for the crate only.

Place the Crate in Where the Family Hangs Out

Your puppy’s crate will need to be in a place where your family hangs around a lot like the living room or the kitchen. You don’t want to put your puppy’s crate in the basement or somewhere that is away from the rest of the family. Dogs are pack animals and Labradors, in particular, are very social and loves to be near you. You don’t want your puppy to feel like she’s been abandoned.

Start Slowly

Introduce your Labrador puppy to her crate slowly. At first, let her see the crate. Then, put a treat or toy in there so she can retrieve it. She may go in the crate to quickly grab her treat at first and get out of the crate. That’s okay, just start putting it farther and farther back until she gets usedto the crate. Once she is comfortable enough to stay in the crate, leave the crate door unlocked so that she can go out if she wants to.

When you finally put her in her crate and lock it, she may cry, whine and fuss. This is normal. You do not want to give her any attention or let her out. If you do, you are reinforcing her behavior, and she will cry and fuss every time you put her in her crate, knowing that you will let her out.

Make sure your puppy has gone potty and is well exercised before you put her in her crate. You want to start off by putting her in a crate for about 15-30 minutes at first, then increasing the time as she gets used to the crate and gets older.

Before you let your puppy out of the crate, make sure she is not whining or crying. She should be quiet for at least 5 minutes. When you take your puppy out of her crate, take her out to her toilet area and give her some time to go potty. If she does not go within 10 minutes or so, take her back to her crate. If she does go, give her praises and a treat. Then allow her to play for a couple of hours.

Before you let your puppy out of the crate, make sure she is not whining or crying. She should be quiet for at least 5 minutes.

Crate Training At Night

At night, you may want to have your puppy’s crate in your room or right near your room so that your puppy can feel safe and secure with your presence nearby. It also helps if your puppy needs to go potty at night. You will be able to hear her so you can take her outside. You will have to try to discern whether your puppy’s cry is because she wants to be let out or if she needs to go potty. Use her potty phrase to see if she responds to it. If she responds by getting excited or making noises, then take her outside to eliminate herself. If she does, then remember to praise her and shower her with affection.

You want to start crate training your puppy as soon as possible. If you properly crate train a puppy, you will find that your puppy will become much more enjoyable, and you will have a less destructive and anxious dog.

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