If you already have a dog in your family and are about to introduce a new puppy to the mix, it’s sensible to crate train the pup. Puppies don’t always respect an adult dog’s personal space, and crate training is the best way to prevent conflict and give the older pooch some peace and quiet.
But teaching a puppy to accept crate confinement is not an easy task, especially when all he wants is to pester your other pet for playtime! How on earth can you do that without stressing your new canine companion?
Read this guide to find out how to crate train a puppy with another dog in the house.
Introducing The Dogs
Before you can begin crate training your new furry friend, you need to introduce the two dogs to each other, and you can use desensitization training to help things go smoothly.
Choose A Neutral Space
An older dog is often very protective of his home and family, and he might not take kindly to a newcomer muscling in on his patch. Choosing a neutral space for introductions is best to avoid conflict and prevent the dogs from getting off on the wrong foot.
It’s also good to have someone hold the puppy, especially if your adult dog is highly protective of you. The last thing you want is a bouncy puppy to jump all over the older dog and trigger an aggressive reaction.
Have The Older Dog Focus On You
Keep the puppy at a safe distance from the older dog, and keep the senior pup’s attention on you rather than on the puppy.
At this stage, you want the older dog to focus on you while he gets used to the puppy’s smell. You might need to use some tasty treats as a distraction.
Gradually, bring the puppy closer to the older dog, monitoring the older pup’s reaction for any signs of aggression or an adverse reaction. Once the dogs are ambivalent about each other, you can move on to the next phase.
Once the dogs are calm, you can let them go nose-to-nose to meet each other properly. Again, be ready to take the puppy away if trouble looks likely.
Move Into The House
You’ll need to provide a crate and a playpen for your puppy in the house. Set up the playpen so that the puppy can have some freedom to play and express himself without directly contacting the older dog.
Crate Training The Puppy
Crate training a puppy with an adult dog in the house is all about creating a safe, secure personal space for the little guy that the other dog cannot intrude on.
To maintain that personal space, both dogs must understand that they are not allowed to invade the other’s crate. By setting up your puppy’s crate so that it’s integrated into the playpen, you can control him without having to confine him for long periods.
While the puppy is in that controlled environment, he can watch the other dog moving around the house, and through that observation, the pup will learn how to behave.
What Type Of Crate Should I Buy?
There are several different types of dog crates to choose from, including:
- Wire mesh crates
- Furniture crates
- Soft-sided fabric crates
- Plastic crates
- Heavy-duty, escape-proof crates
When it comes to crate training puppies, we recommend a high-quality wire mesh crate. Wire crates come in various sizes, can accommodate a crate divider for potty training, and are collapsible, portable, and easy to clean. Also, wire crates are affordable and long-lasting.
What Size Crate To Buy?
Choosing the correct crate size is essential for successful crate training.
Your puppy or adult dog should be able to:
- Stand up without his ears touching the crate top
- Sit down without his ears touching the crate top
- Turn around without bumping into the crate sides
- Lie down and stretch right out without his toes touching the crate sides
If you have a puppy, choose a crate with a divider panel. Set the divider so that the crate is the correct size for your pup, and move the divider to accommodate your pet’s growth. That saves you from having to buy multiple crates as your puppy grows.
Where To Place The Puppy’s Crate
Before starting the formal crate training process, you need to put the puppy’s crate in the correct place in your home.
During the day, the crate and playpen can be in your living area where the puppy can see you and the older dog. However, we recommend having your puppy sleep in his crate at night. You don’t want your puppy wandering around the house at night, as that would disturb your sleep, lead to potty accidents, and could encourage destructive behaviors.
- The crate should be somewhere warm but not in direct sunlight or close to fires or radiators.
- The location should be out of drafts and not near air conditioning units or open windows.
- Ideally, you want the crate in a quiet, peaceful location out of traffic lanes and noisy rooms.
- Keep the crate away from power cables, plug sockets, and chewable.
It can help create a cozy, den-like ambiance if you cover the crate. However, please don’t use a blanket to cover the crate, as the puppy could drag the blanket into the crate and chew it, potentially causing a choking hazard. Instead, we recommend buying a correctly fitting crate cover for your puppy’s crate.
The Crate Training Process – Tips And Advice
Start by setting up the crate to present an appealing, safe space where your puppy wants to spend his quiet time.
Line the crate with a non-slip liner, and add a cozy, fleecy bed or crate mat and some blankets. If possible, add a piece of the puppy’s mom’s blanket, as her scent will give the pup a feeling of familiarity and security.
Put some treats and a few toys inside the crate, too.
A consistent routine is an essential part of the formal training process and should be included in all your training techniques.
Routine is especially important when you’re potty training the puppy. Puppies usually need to defecate between five and 30 minutes after finishing their meal, sticking to that schedule. So, by anticipating that behavior, you can know when your puppy needs to go outside.
To establish a formal training routine for potty breaks, be sure to take your puppy outside:
- First thing in the morning
- Each hour
- After every meal
- On waking from a nap
- After playtime
- Before going to bed
Set up a designated potty spot in the exercise playpen if you can’t always be around. Make the toilet area well away from the pup’s food, water, and bed. Try to simulate the outdoor surface or use puppy training pads.
Use Positive Reinforcement Training Methods
When crate training your puppy, don’t shut him in the crate for more than two hours at a stretch. That’s especially important when using the crate for potty training your puppy. If you confine your puppy for long periods, he will have accidents in his crate, which will set back your training procedures.
Here are the training steps to follow when using the crate for potty training:
- Ensure that the crate is the correct size for the puppy. The puppy should be able to move around but not have so much space that he starts using one part of the crate as a toilet spot.
- Your puppy’s crate is his personal space where he gets to spend quality time. So, add plenty of toys, food treats, comfy blankets, and a snuggle toy.
- Don’t confine your puppy to his crate for more than two hours, and always give your pet adequate exercise before you crate him. The idea is to get rid of any excited behavior so that your puppy settles well when you shut the crate door.
- Before you crate your puppy, take him outside for a potty break and a walk or some playtime.
- Feed your puppy inside his crate, and be ready to take him outside immediately after he finishes eating to do his business.
Make Crate Training a Positive Experience
Make your puppy’s crate training experience a positive one and encourage desirable behaviors by giving him plenty of delicious treats and rewarding him with long-lasting chews to keep him busy when he’s inside the crate.
Never shut your puppy in his crate as a punishment.
Did you enjoy our guide to crate training a puppy with an older dog in the house? If you did, please share the article.
Take time to introduce your puppy to your older dog in a neutral space, and don’t let the puppy leap all over his older canine friend. Use crate training to keep the two dogs apart so that each has his personal space to retreat to when he needs to enjoy some quiet, alone time.
If you crate trained a puppy alongside your older dog, we need to know how you did! Tell us in the comments box below.