Yesterday I started crate training during the day. Its one of those things that is the most when it comes to puppies. Not only does it help with potty training but it helps with building trust. Right now we're in the teething stage so it's vital that we make sure to keep her from chewing up cords, shoes, etc. So while I am away at work the crate is one of those things that has to be done.
After running around with Lylah all day yesterday we finally got back to the apartment with less than an hour before I had to go to work. Knowing that you have to make sure the puppy or dog is tired before putting them in the crate I made sure to walk her and take her for car rides so that she not only gets tired from the traveling but from the exercising as well. Back at the apartment, I could tell that it was a success. She laid down and instantly she was out. I took about twenty minutes to myself and then it was time. I coaxed her up and with treats and pets, I got her in the crate. During the night she did great. No problems slept like a baby so I hoped this would be the same.
It was not.
The instant I closed the gate she started barking. Loud. Trying my best to go with the "let her cry it out" method I grabbed my stuff and left the building. I paused. I sat there for about five minutes listening to her barking hoping that she would realize it's ok and quiet down. She was so loud I could hear her all the way to my truck but sadly she didn't seem to understand.
At work I was pretty worried she was still going but had hopes that she would eventually tire herself out and fall asleep. I asked my boyfriend to check on her and see if she was still crying when he got off. Around 4:30 he swung by and confirmed that she was still barking. Talking to my manager and keeping an open mind I ran to the apartment (I'm staying at a client with her) to grab food and try a different method.
For those of you that don't know there is a better method for crate training then the cry it out method. Its called the potty method.
The idea is positive reinforcement. You go to the crate, put the puppy inside, and lock the crate. When the puppy cries you take the puppy out, go outside and let the puppy potty. If the puppy potties you give them a treat and if they don't then you go back inside and put them back in the crate (you stand at a potty spot for about a minute to two minutes, no more no less). You do this until they "get it" and stop crying. The idea is to let them know that the only reason to cry is to go outside to potty. This can break bad habits and countless hours of losing sleep because of the crying.
The tick to this, no attention. At all. When the puppy cries you can't say anything. Not no, sit, wait, nothing. You have to show that you aren't giving them attention, you are only allowing them to go outside for a boring potty break and nothing more. Even if you get frustrated you have to remember that this is a puppy and that when you got the puppy you basically signed up for this. It comes with the territory of crate training.
Luckily for Lylah I was able to get her to stop crying almost immediately with this method. I did about a ten-minute session with her and by the time I left she had stopped barking. Even last night it took only half the time to get her to stop crying when it was time to go to bed. Puppies need consistency. If you don't stay consistent they won't learn quickly and bad habits can occur.
So if you get a puppy and need some help with crate training do this method instead of the cry it out method. Not only will it save you sleep but it will save your puppy from possibly hurting themselves as well.
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