So you want crate train your Golden Retriever puppy. Crate training your puppy is a good idea for a number of reasons. It’s good for your dog because it will give him his own safe space to relax in (day or night), make car rides and travel easier/safer, plus it will be helpful if you’re trying to house train your new puppy. But how long does it take to crate train a Golden retriever puppy and what are some of the methods to use?
Crate training a Golden Retriever puppy will take 5 to 10 days depending on the method and the age of your dog. When crate train a young Golden retriever puppy, make sure to only keep them in the crate for 1 hour per 4 weeks of age. Adding toys or blankets to the crate will help them adjust more quickly.
This article will discuss proper crate training of Golden retriever puppies, and several other questions related to the topic, including different methods to crate train your puppy, plus you’ll find out how to stop the whining, and more. Let’s get started.
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How To Crate Train a Golden Retriever Puppy
There are several methods you can use to crate train a Golden retriever puppy. Keep in mind, however, that the effectiveness of each of these methods is not only depend on the age of your dog, but on their past as well.
Crate training is easiest when working with a very young Golden. As your Golden retriever puppy gets older, or if he has had some previous negative experiences with puppy training it may take longer, and be more difficult.
The Puppy Method
As the name implies, the puppy method is especially good for crate training puppies, as it helps them learn while using their limited understanding of the world. If possible, grab a toy your puppy would like and gently rub it over their littermates and mother. Put the toy into the crate with your puppy. The scent on the toy will make them feel more comfortable and secure in their crate. Please be sure that the toy you place in the crate is puppy safe.
While it may be tempting or more convenient to leave your young puppy in the crate during the day for an extended time, you should only keep them crated for one hour per four weeks of age per day. Keeping them confined for too long periods during the day will be damaging to their mental health.
Remember you want your puppy to identify the crate as a safe and comfortable space. Leaving your pup in the crate for a long time period will ruin that and make it difficult to ever successfully kennel train your Golden.
At bedtime, play with your puppy as much as possible before lights out. This will tucker him out and make it easier to fall asleep. Make sure to let your puppy use the bathroom before going into their crate, as you don’t want any unnecessary messes.
When potty training a Golden retriever puppy and crate training at the same time, you may need to get up a few times during the night at first to take you pup to the bathroom.
The Familiar Method
During the day, you’ll want to put the crate in a busy area of your house so that your dog can see everything that’s going on. However, at night, you should move the puppy’s crate to your room and keep the crate door open at first, which will make sure your dog doesn’t feel trapped.
Lay a blanket inside the crate so that your dog is comfortable enough to not be tempted by the comforting appearance of your bed. Give treats when they stay in the crate with the door open or toss treats inside the cage in order for them to run to the treats.
Remember, it’s all about creating a situation where you can give your Golden retriever plenty of positive reinforcement. Your main goal is to get your Golden familiar with their crate, so you want to repeat specific successful actions to help them develop a pattern.
The Food Method
With this method, you could begin by tossing treats into the crate for your dog to go after and retrieve. Familiarizing your Golden to the crate using treats will make the dog identify the crate as positive experience.
You can also try feeding your Golden retriever inside their crate. While they’re eating, keep the crate door closed. After they’re done, leave them in their crate for a bit so they can get used to the crate, but not so long that they begin to feel uncomfortable.
The idea is to slowly increase the time spent in the crate. It should never be used as a punishment. In time, when your Golden retriever wants to chill out, or he becomes stressed, he will willingly get inside the crate himself when the door is left open, as he recognizes it as a safe place.
Is Crating a Golden Retriever Cruel?
Everyone has their own opinions on this matter, but it all comes down to how your dog reacts. Every dog is different, so in short, no, crating your dog is not cruel as long as they’re comfortable, properly trained, have had a good amount of out-of-crate time, and have used the bathroom before being put into the crate.
Early crate training can be invaluable if you plan on traveling with your Golden retriever by airplane or car in the future.
If you’re crate training at night, you might hear some whining, which you should ignore. Your dog might be uncomfortable and wants your attention, but as long as your dog has had a bathroom break, and a good amount of before bedtime exercise, don’t worry too much about it. If the whining is making you uncomfortable, there are a few things you can do.
How To Stop the Whining
You just put your adorable Golden retriever puppy in their crate and you’re finally comfortable in bed, but suddenly you hear whining and pounding on the cage door. You could use ear plugs, of course, but there are many other ways that don’t involve plugging your ears.
First, remember, you’re crate training a puppy, so you may need to provide bathroom breaks. When you get up in the middle of the night, your puppy may whine because he hears you up and needs to go to the bathroom. A potty break might just settle him down.
If your puppy continues to whine after a potty break, a soothing way to stop the whining would be to play calming music over a speaker. Create or find a playlist that will relax your Golden retriever and keep them from whining at all hours of the night. Believe it or not you can actually purchase a small device called Pet Tunes (Amazon) that plays pre-loaded calming canine music.
But maybe your puppy cries because they’re uncomfortable. The best way to remedy this is to make their crate a comfortable and safe space for them. Try adding more blankets or a cushioned dog bed.
If all else fails, try moving the crate to a different part of the house far enough away where you can barely hear it. Your Golden retriever puppy might be experiencing a bit of separation anxiety. In time your puppy will learn that lights out means sleepy time, and he will start to sleep through the night.
A Golden retriever puppy is just like a human child. He will need to learn to sleep through the night. As long as you’re consistent this should take 5 – 10 days/nights.
How To Make Their Crate a Safe Space
Everyone has their own safe space where they feel most comfortable, and dogs are no exception. If you want your Golden retriever to be more comfortable with their crate, make it a safe space for them.
First, make sure your dog’s crate is big enough for them to stretch out and be comfortable. Before buying a crate, think about the things you’ll want to add and how much space they’ll take up when they are fully grown. That way, you can buy a crate that will comfortably hold them long term, and is big enough to fit all the things that make them comfortable.
The 42″ MidWest Homes Dog Crate at Amazon is a popular model that will comfortably fit most adult Golden retrievers, and the wire crate folds down when not in use to save space.
Another nice way to keep your dog comfortable would be to add a crate cover. On Amazon.com, you can get the MidWest Dog Crate Cover, which comes in six sizes and three different colors, so you’re sure to find something that will match the crate you have. A cover is a good way to reinforce the idea for your Golden that it’s quite time. But enough about the outside of the cage; let’s focus on the inside!
Next, add some toys, which can vary from a plushy toy to a chew toy. The more toys they have, the more distracted they’ll be. You can also tuck a few treats around the edges for them to find. Monitor your dog and make sure they’re happy and content.
Another great way to make your dog more comfortable is to try calming sprays. You can get animal-safe calming sprays from Amazon delivered right to your door. The most common scent is lavender, but there are many other scents that may suit your taste. Simply spray a little on the blanket inside the crate and watch as your adorable dog falls asleep.
Finally, take a look at this complete New Puppy Starter Kit (Amazon). It comes with a soft plushy toy that has an internal, battery powered ‘heart beat’ that will calm and soothe your puppy right to sleep. There’s also a blanket, chew toys, and some disposable heat warmers. Your new puppy will feel like he’s snuggled up to his mother and littermates.
Try using this stuffed toy with a battery operated ‘heat beat’ to calm your Golden retriever puppy.
Crate training a Golden Retriever puppy can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days depending on the method, age, and history of your dog. It isn’t cruel at all as long as they’re properly trained and given bathroom breaks. If none of these methodologies seem to be working, feel free to experiment a bit based on your puppy’s personality.
But most importantly, you want to make sure your pup is comfortable, so add a blanket and toys to make their crate a safe space. Before long your Golden retriever will be happily and willingly spending time in their crate.