One of the most common questions I’m asked when I’m working in the dog shop is “How can I crate train a puppy at night?”. My response is usually along the lines of, “crate training a puppy at night is pretty easy”. Well, it’s true that you can easily crate train your puppy at night. It just takes some persistence and patience. Most puppies have no problem going into their crates at night and laying down for the night, however some do have a little more resistance. But if you persist in your efforts and are patient, you will be rewarded.
When setting up your new puppy crate, you should always leave room to turn around and lay down comfortably. If you leave them cramped up, they may quickly develop a fear of being left alone. A good rule of thumb is to leave an inch of room for the pup to turn around comfortably and one to two inches of room for them to stand up. If you have a puppy, it’s a good idea to have a few chew toys close by in case they get into their crate and don’t feel safe. It’s very important that they learn to trust you and not the crate.
Your crate should be easily accessible for your puppy when you are both awake and ready to go. Putting the door open with the door closed shows your puppy that you are in charge. It lets them know that you possess the right to be in charge. While the puppy sleeps, you can use treats or praise for a positive response from the puppy. However, when the puppy wakes up in the evening, they must be taken outside as they will be too tired to roam free.
The next step in crate training a puppy at night is consistency. You want to place the crate in the same location each night. Placing it in a different location each day causes confusion. They may be confused as to which spot they should sleep in. Consistency will help your puppy to quickly associate the crate with sleeping.
Know The Signals
When the puppy is sound asleep, you should lift the crate off of the floor and place it on the ground. This allows the puppy to relieve themselves during the night. The puppy also will be familiar with the feeling of being lifted onto the ground. The puppy will know that this spot is for bedtime.
When the puppy becomes used to being lifted into the crate, it will come to you when it is hungry or feels bad about doing something bad. This teaches the puppy that it must be taught behavior before it gets rewarded for it. Always praise the puppy when it goes into the crate. You can also use the crate as a toy. Put treats in there and then leave it alone for a few minutes.
To crate train a puppy at night, you should only take it out of its crate after meals and play. You shouldn’t take it out during playtime. If you get worried that it might relieve itself while you are away, you can set up the crate next to your bed so that it is accessible at night. Make sure the puppy doesn’t see the crate as a punishment. It wants to be able to go in there and be reassured that it is still part of your family.
Crate training a puppy at night can be stressful if you don’t stick to the process. Be patient and make sure you reward your puppy each time. Try to do it once an hour and don’t forget to put it back in its crate after the evening is over. As long as you stay consistent, you won’t go wrong.