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Here’s how to easily crate train an 8-week-old puppy

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in any pet parent’s life, but it’s not without its challenges. From puppy-proofing your home to scheduling training sessions, puppies need a lot of work.

One way you can make things easier on yourself? Crate training. While naysayers claim that crating your dog is cruel, studies show that crate training your pup not only keeps him from causing mischief while you’re away from home, but it can also help your new fur baby feel safe and secure in his new home.

Don’t waste your time searching “crate training 8-week-old puppy.” We’re here with expert advice to get you started. Here’s what you need to know. 

A German Shepherd puppy lying in a crate.

Are 8-week-old dogs easy to crate train? 

When puppies are young, they have relatively short attention spans that can sometimes make training an arduous task. On the other hand, puppies can be easier to train than older dogs. While it seems confusing at first, it makes a great deal of sense when you think about it. Older dogs, like people, are set in their ways, and you’ll probably have to help them unlearn prior behaviors you find undesirable. Puppies are blank slates. They’re just beginning to develop their own personalities, which makes correcting undesirable behaviors easier because they’re more recently established. Just remember to be patient with your puppy. Keep in mind that he doesn’t mean to be naughty; just like toddlers and young children, puppies don’t realize they’re misbehaving. They need you to teach them what’s acceptable behavior. 

Is crate training good for an 8-week-old puppy?

While some pet parents are vehemently opposed to the idea of crate training, the American Kennel Club (AKC) offers a different take. According to the AKC, “Although many dog owners may feel guilty for crate training their canine companion, enclosed spaces create a shelter for your dog to rest and relax. In fact, dogs instinctively seek small spaces to create protective shelters for themselves.” If you’re still not convinced that crate training is a good idea, never fear. Many veterinarians and dog trainers recommend crate training your pup, especially during the potty training stage. 

Because dogs don’t like to sleep near their own excrement, crate training can help you housebreak your puppy much faster than training your pup without a crate. In addition to making potty training easier, crate training your new pup also helps keep her out of trouble while you’re away from home. Even if you’ve puppy-proofed your home, young puppies can still create chaos – not to mention use the bathroom indoors – while you’re out of the house. Puppy pads can help you clean up quickly, but regular use might also teach your pup that she’s supposed to urinate and defecate indoors.  

A yellow Labrador retriever puppy lies in a crate.

Crate training made easy

While crate training your puppy is beneficial in myriad ways, it pays to remember that he can’t hold his bladder indefinitely. Your puppy can remain in his crate for the same number of hours as his age in months plus one. That means an eight-week-old puppy can stay in his crate for a maximum of two and a half to three hours at a time. Here are a few tips on how you can make crate training your new pup an easy, enjoyable process.

Choose the perfect crate

When it comes to selecting a crate, you have a ton of options. If you intend to continue crating your pup when she’s grown, you may want to choose one large enough to accommodate her size as an adult. At a minimum, your pup should be able to stand up and turn around in her crate. 

Make sure the crate is homey

You want your puppy’s crate to be a space he enjoys spending time in, not a prison cell. Make sure you fill his crate with a dog bed, cozy blankets, toys, water, and a puppy pad in case he has an accident. You want your puppy to have positive associations with his crate, so including a tasty treat like a food puzzle will encourage him to want to spend time in his crate. 

Monitor your pup while you’re away

It’s best not to start off by leaving your pup alone for the full three hours until you know how she reacts to being crated. Try setting up a camera to keep an eye on your pup while you make a quick run to the grocery store for an hour. Additionally, you should never leave your pup in her crate while she’s wearing a collar or harness, as the tags attached could get caught up in the crate’s bars. Once your puppy can handle being left alone for an hour, you can stretch it out to two hours for a while, and then you can try leaving her alone for the full three hours. 

Always reward your pup when you return home

While most dogs are thrilled with a treat, it’s important to spend time playing with your puppy and praising him for being a good boy. Studies show that dogs actually prefer attention to treats when it comes to being rewarded.

Have patience with your pup

According to the AKC, you can expect crate training to take up to a full six months. Some puppies will learn to enjoy their crate much sooner, but others might need more time to adjust. Be patient with your puppy during the learning process. He’s doing his best. 

A Pomeranian puppy stands in a crate with his paw on the bars.

Crate training your pup has numerous benefits, but the most significant is the safety crating provides your pooch. Make sure he has everything he needs to be comfortable, monitor his activities while you’re away, and be patient with your puppy during training. Not only does training your pup mean you’ll have a well-mannered dog, but it’s also a fantastic bonding experience for you and your pooch.

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