The subject of crate training is something that raises a lot of heated debate among dog owners.
While some owners swear by this training method, others feel that it is the wrong approach for their pets. So, if you have a Cockapoo pup and you are thinking about crate training him then what do you need to know?
The Basics of Crate Training
As the name suggests, this training method is all about giving a dog his own space in a crate where he can feel safe and secure. It is worth pointing out that some people will use a play pen instead of a crate, though. He certainly shouldn’t be just left in here all day long or get sent here when he has been naughty and you want to punish him.
Instead, this has to be a happy, trouble-free and peaceful place where he feels completely at ease. To do it right you will want to start when he is still a puppy. Ideally, you will introduce him to the house in this way, so that he knows from the very start that this is his personal space.
You can leave him in here while you are at home, when you go out and at night-time. However, you need to take him out to go to toilet at regular intervals, and also to have some fun now and then.
This can also be the place where he eats as well as sleeps. He should really begin to see it as his own little home where he is free from stresses and strains, so he can retreat to here whenever he feels like it.
So, what else do you need to know in order to make a decision on whether to go ahead with crate training for your lovely Cockapoo puppy?
The Benefits of Crate Training
Those who are in favour of crate training puppies give an impressively long list of reasons for choosing this approach.
As well as giving him a place to feel safe and protected, this is also a method of avoiding him messing up the house while he is still being house trained. Dogs tend not to use their sleeping area as a bathroom, so while he is in the crate he is likely to wait until you take him outside before doing his business.
Another benefit is that this can give you a place to keep the dog out of harm’s way when you go out. Some pooches will fight with the cat, chew furniture or cause other problems when left home alone. Using a crate means that he can’t do any of this.
It is also seen as being a way of helping him to avoid getting anxious when left alone in a big house. Most dogs find it easier to relax when they have just a small area like their crate to look after, rather than the whole house.
When used correctly, there are no major drawbacks to crate training your Cockapoo. Any problems that occur tend to be because the wrong approach has been used.
This could mean not being consistent in the use of the crate, leaving him in here for too long or waiting until he is too old before getting started. Also, if the crate is too small or not well-enough ventilated then this can be dangerous for the dog’s health.
How to Pick the Right Crate
The first point to bear in mind is that the crate has to be big enough for your Cockapoo to be comfortable in it. He needs to be able to stand up, lie down and turn around in it whenever he wants to.
While the dangers of a crate that is too small are obvious, getting one that is too big can also lead to problems. For a start, he might not be able to feel the same sense of security that comes with a snug box that is just the right size for him.
When it comes to house training this could also present him with some issues. If the crate is big enough for him to sleep at one end and do his toilet business at the other end then he might do exactly that, which isn’t what you want at all. You will also need it to be well-ventilated too.
In terms of the material, many owners find wire crates to be best because they are easy to clean, very secure and allow lots of air to pass through them. However, if you are going to be taking him out in the car a lot of the time then a sturdy, plastic container is worth considering.
The alternative approach of using a play pen is also quite popular, as a puppy will be comfortable in here too. As long as he can’t jump out then it will carry out exactly the same function as a crate and may be more fun for him.
How to Make It Fun and Inviting
If you are going to encourage your puppy to spend a lot of time in his crate then you will want to make it as fun and inviting as possible.
One way to get started on this is to put one or two of his favourite toys inside it. Next, you will want to put in a towel or blanket that already has his scent on it.
Once he starts to show some interest in the crate you can encourage him further by putting some treats in it. You certainly don’t want to try and force him in here too quickly or by physically shoving him in, as this could put him off the idea for good.
The best time to get your dog to go in is when he is tired and looking for somewhere comfortable to sleep. If he is going to be in here for a while then be sure that he has access to water all the time.
Above all, try to make this a fun place where he enjoys spending time. This isn’t a place to send him to give you some peace or to punish him; it is an important part of his overall training and lifestyle.
What to Do at Night Time
Getting your Cockapoo to sleep in here at night might be trickier than encouraging him to get in during the day. If you have managed to tire him out during the day and waited until he is tired before putting him in then there is more chance of him sleeping quickly and having a peaceful night.
Some owners choose to put a blanket over the crate to block out the light, while others will put on calming music for him. If he starts to cry or protest then try your very best to ignore him, as he should soon calm down. If you take him out of his crate at night then it is going to be a lot more difficult to get him used to his crate in the long run.
By being patient and showing your puppy a lot of love you can help make this crate training a great success. It is by no means the only way of training a Cockapoo pup but it is definitely a method that is well worth giving a try if you want to give him the best possible start in his new home.