To crate train or not to crate train? This is a question that has plagued pet parents for decades!
Crate training is a great introduction to housebreaking & obedience training. However, the process is a long & grueling one. We have a bunch of super helpful tips to aid you in teaching your pup to spend the night in his crate.
Goldendoodles are a super intelligent breed. With a little bit of patience & hard work, you’ll be able to train your doodle puppy in no time!
What Is Crate Training & Should I Do It?
Crate training, much like the name suggests, is training your dog to spend the night in the crate. At first, this goal seems a bit insignificant. How does it matter where your dog sleeps?
However, crate training is a fantastic way to build the foundations of obedience training in young dogs.
Crate training teaches your dog that if they perform a certain behavior, they can get rewarded with food, pets, or playtime! This is invaluable once you begin teaching your pup more complex tricks & behaviors.
While your pup is in the crate, he should not go potty. This also teaches your furry friend to control their bladder, which will help them become housebroken.
Furthermore, crates are great for keeping your puppy safe while you are occupied or not in the house.
When my pup was little, crate training was a priority because our house was being renovated. That meant that the house was often off-limits for my canine companion, and putting him in the crate was a good way to make sure he was 100% safe.
Puppies are messy & destructive, so sometimes it’s good to have a place where you know they can’t hurt themselves.
Crate training also makes air travel & vet visits much easier because your dog won’t be super anxious about entering his kennel.
Tip for Crate Training a Goldendoodle
Here are some tips that can help you train your Goldendoodle to sleep in his kennel overnight.
Make a Positive Association
This is due to their powerful ability to make associations. Pups are able to understand that certain commands are associated with expected behavior. This is why their ears prick up when they hear the word W-A-L-K (which is why you always have to spell it out)!
Similarly, they are very quick to make an association with their kennel & certain emotions. If you introduce the crate to your pup incorrectly, they will start fearing it as they associate it with negative emotions.
When done correctly, crate training will lead your pup to associate the kennel with feelings of safety & serenity.
Don’t force your dog to enter the kennel; let them explore the crate of their own volition. Make it more enticing by throwing some treats & toys in there, and reward your pup whenever he enters.
Don’t lock the door to the crate until your doodle is consistently going in there willingly.
And most importantly, never use the crate for punishment, or your dog will detest going in there.
Make a Realistic Schedule
To help you stay on top of crate training your Goldendoodle, you need to establish a regular schedule that can make the training process much easier. Make sure that you don’t expect your dog to stay in the crate for very long periods.
Younger puppies will get bored easily & need constant stimulation, so it’s not right to keep them locked up all day.
For puppies, try not to leave them alone in the crate for more than 3 hours. Any longer than this would actually become detrimental to your dog’s mental state. It can cause separation anxiety, distress, aggression, and even depression.
Adult dogs may be left in the crate for longer, but make sure that you let them out often for playtime & bathroom breaks.
Add Bedding & Toys
To help your pup feel comfortable in the crate, you must make it as enticing as possible. Take your dog’s favorite bed and his favorite blanket & place them in the crate!
While it may seem counter-intuitive at first to add the bed back to the crate, it will make the crate seem so much more inviting & comforting.
Also, consider putting your Goldendoodle’s favorite toys in the crate. This will also entice your pup to enter the kennel & spend time there.
The best kind of toys for a kennel are ones that will occupy your dog’s mind but don’t require a ton of space. So, this could be puzzle toys, a Kong, or something to gnaw on to pass the time.
These will provide your pup with tons of mental stimulation, so they won’t try to break out of the crate & will spend time content in there.
Lots of Playtime
Goldendoodles are really lively pets, so playtime is an absolute must for a Doodle puppy. However, if you are crate training, daily exercise is even more important.
If you are playing with your puppy throughout the day, this is going to tire them out greatly, so they are more likely to just fall asleep wherever at night.
Make sure you take them out throughout the day for bouts of tag, fetch, and tug of war. This will deplete your feisty puppy’s energy & make them more receptive to obedience & crate training.
Provide Tons of Potty Breaks
Crate training is a great way to teach your dog how to hold his bladder. Since dogs have the natural instinct to not go where they sleep, it’s usually natural for them to not go potty in their crate.
However, if they have an overfilled bladder, this could mean that they unintentionally have an accident in the kennel.
To prevent this, you need to make sure that you take your Goldendoodle out on a potty break around 30 minutes after every meal & after he drinks water.
In this way, you are able to anticipate when he will need to go potty & for how long you can keep him in the kennel.
Get the Right Crate
Not all kennels are made equally. Look for a high-quality kennel made of sterile, easy-to-clean materials.
This crate should be big enough for your dogs to lay down, turn around, and sleep sprawled out in. A good way to measure this is to measure the length of your dog from nose to tail & the length from the ground to the top of the head.
Then, add 4-5 inches to both of these dimensions to get the ideal crate size. If you’re in doubt, always size up.
Lots of Patience
Crate training can be a long & difficult process. The most important thing to remember is to keep calm & patient. Never lose your temper with your Goldendoodle because he is trying his best.
You may find that your training is lulling or even regressing! This is totally normal, and it’s common with younger puppies who aren’t used to obedience training.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are commonly asked questions by pet parents who are thinking about crate training their Goldendoodles.
How long will crate training take?
Crate training can take up to 6-8 months of training. It’s primarily dependent upon your dog’s ability to pick up on behavioral cues & understand commands.
Try to find your dog’s main motivation. Whether it be food, toys, or words of affirmation, use it whenever your dog goes to the crate of his own volition or lies down to sleep in it.
Never punish your dog with the crate because you want your Goldendoodle to think that the crate is a safe space.
Goldendoodles are very smart dogs, and they are likely to pick up crate training very quickly. After all, they come from 2 of the smartest dog breeds, which are poodles & labrador retrievers. So, just stick with a consistent schedule & you should be alright.
What kind of crate should I use?
The type of the crate doesn’t matter as much as the size of the crate & the location. The crate must be large enough for your dog to lie down & circle in. A crate that is too small won’t be a cozy space for your pup and will instead feel suffocating, & they will actively avoid it.
The location of the crate is also fairly important. The kennel needs to be in an area that is close to you so they don’t feel isolated. This area should also remain pretty quiet so that your pup can drift off to sleep easily.
You should avoid plastic crates, however, as they have limited ventilation & usually run small.
How long should my Goldendoodle pup be in a crate?
Your Goldendoodle puppy should have a 4-hour crate time limit. Any longer and they will start feeling depressive symptoms like anxiety, aggression, and withdrawal. An older adult can stay in the crate overnight as long as they have a bathroom break before & after.
Goldendoodle puppy owners: don’t be afraid! Crate training doesn’t have to be an insanely difficult process. All you need to do is follow these steps & your dog will build a positive association with the crate.
Goldendoodles are super intelligent pups, and they are very likely to pick up on the training in a few months. Just remain patient & get ready to clean up a few accidents!
Thanks for reading!