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  • Writer's pictureNicola Smith

How to crate train your Toronto puppy

Cheers to summer, warm weather and of course to puppy season. For those of you who don’t know, the newest member to join our family just under 2 weeks ago, is a 9 week old puppy whom I named Tyson. His arrival has provided many a topic to write about; perhaps the first and most important at this point in time is the subject of how to stop your puppy from crying in his crate.

Needless to say, Tyson is a baby who has never been separated from his mother or been in a crate. Like most puppies he already wants to chew everything he can, from furniture, baseboards, the carpet, everything except the toys provided for him. And off course, he wants to pee what seems like every 30 minutes. We are only on day two as I write this, so none of this is alarming, just part of the territory of getting a young pup. Thankfully I am familiar with crate training which I know is going to dramatically help with all of the above as we transition from a tiny little guy to a doggie with great manners who does not need a crate at all. 

To prepare for proper crate training and make his journey as positive as possible, I have provided all of the following:

1.  Comfy pillows and blankets

I much prefer a comfortable mattress, pillows and blankets and so will my dog. Making sure he has some cushion will help him relax, lie down and enjoy the comfort of his crate. Just remember to cover them with lots of towels to protect them from pee as they are being house broken. If your dog is a chewer, you will need to wait before adding any bedding.

2.  Lots of toys

Please make sure that the toys you add to your dog’s crate are ones that cannot be destroyed and do not require supervision. Toys will help to keep your puppy occupied while in the crate and it’s a great way to relieve his stress.

3.  A peanut butter kong

I actually got this idea from one of our walking clients. She leaves a frozen peanut butter kong for her pup after walks. I’ve tried this and it works well. If you are in a house with a peanut allergy, try cheese spread.

4.  A cover for the crate

Cover 3 sides with a blanket to help your dog feel secure. By nature, dogs prefer a den,  as it helps them feel protected and secure within a cozy, enclosed space.

5.  Make sure the crate is the correct size

The crate has to fit the dog correctly. Your dog should have room to turn around and stand up comfortably, but not more than that. Giving your dog more room means more room for accidents.

6.  Feed dinner in the crate

This is a great way to associate the crate with positivity. If your pup realizes the crate includes food, he or she will be more likely to want to go in. Try to use a word or phrase every time they go in so that you can teach them to go in on command.

7. Placement

I have placed the crate in a common area during the day and then move it to my bedroom when I sleep. Remember your dog wants to be where you are. Dogs are pack animals, you are their leader and they want to be as close to you as they can 

Although I did all of these things, poor little Tyson still cried almost non-stop the first 2 nights. However, this is to be expected. We are on week two and I am happy to report that he has improved a great deal. He now cries for maybe the first 10 minutes and then sleeps through the night with one potty break. Even when we do everything right, every puppy is different, we need to remember that all transitions take time and we need to be patient and trust that all will fall into place.

If you need any more advice or pointers, feel free to ask one of our Toronto dog walkers.


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