Labradoodles are friendly, happy dogs that make fabulous family pets.
But even the cutest puppy can find himself in trouble when you don’t have an eye on him. That’s why many dog owners use crate training their Labradoodle to be in his crate when home alone as a solution to the problem. Crate training Labradoodles is also an excellent tool that you can use to potty train your furry friend.
Read this guide for some top tips and advice on how to go about crate training your Labradoodle puppy successfully.
What Are The Benefits Of Crate Training Your Labradoodle Puppy?
So what’s the idea behind crate training your Labradoodle puppy?
As outlined in this section of our guide, there are many benefits to crate training your Labradoodle puppy.
A Den-Like Space To Call His Own
Dogs are naturally denning animals that love to have a quiet, enclosed, dark space that they can call theirs.
You might notice your furry friend hiding under a table or sneaking into a cupboard out of sight. That’s your dog’s way of creating a den. Ideally, a cozy crate with a cover and plenty of soft blankets can provide a perfect den-like experience for your dog where your pup can go whenever he wants to enjoy some privacy and downtime.
The last thing you want is your Labradoodle puppy rampaging around your home at night when you’re in bed trying to sleep.
Of course, your puppy can still be in your bedroom with you, but the best way to ensure that you both get a relatively peaceful night is to have your pup sleep in his crate. That means you can hear your pet stirring when he needs a bathroom break, enabling you to prevent accidents and helping your potty training program. Your puppy will quickly come to associate going into his crate with rest time, meaning a quiet night for you.
Young puppies often settle better when kept in the same room as their human best friend. Put the crate beside your bed so that you can reach down and touch your puppy through the crate’s wire mesh if he starts crying. That reassurance can be all it takes to send your furbaby back to sleep.
Most dog owners use crates as a potty training tool.
Adult dogs and even young puppies instinctively avoid soiling their sleeping areas. So, by keeping your puppy in his crate and factoring in regular toilet breaks to your pup’s routine, you can use that natural behavior in combination with crating to potty train your Labradoodle pup.
Of course, if your Doodle is permitted to wander through your house unsupervised, it’s almost guaranteed that potty accidents will happen when your pet is out of sight.
Separation Anxiety Prevention
Labradoodles are loyal, friendly dogs that love to spend time around their human family. Some incredibly clingy Doodles become very upset when left home alone, especially if they are given the freedom to roam around your house. That can sometimes manifest itself as a behavioral condition called separation anxiety.
It’s commonly thought that providing your dog with a safe, secure crate environment can help your Labradoodle to feel less anxious about being left alone when you have to go out to work or the store.
Even trainable, obedient dogs, such as Labradoodles, can be destructive if left alone. That’s especially true of dogs that are not fully toilet trained and still teething.
Keeping your Labradoodle puppy contained safely in his crate can stop him from developing bad habits, such as biting and chewing.
Safety At Home
Puppies are curious little creatures that can land themselves into trouble when you’re not around to watch them.
Your Labradoodle pup could eat something toxic, chew on an electrical wire, fall downstairs, or get stuck in a tight corner that he can’t get out of. By keeping your puppy crated and out of harm’s way while you’re not there to supervise him, you can keep your pet safe and sound.
Safety On The Move
If you need to travel by air, your puppy will need to be crated in the airplane’s cargo hold or the passenger cabin under your seat. An airline won’t let you fly with your pet if he isn’t safely confined to an airline-approved travel crate.
Your dog must also ride in a securely fixed crate when traveling by road. A loose dog in a moving vehicle is a potentially dangerous projectile that could cause injury to you and your passengers if you need to brake sharply or stop suddenly in an emergency.
Is It Hard To Crate Train A Labradoodle Puppy?
If you use positive reinforcement methods, crate training can be a positive experience for both you and your pet.
Thanks to their working breed parentage, Labradoodles are brilliant and very trainable dogs. So, crate training your Labradoodle puppy should be relatively easy. It is possible to teach your pet the basics in only a few weeks.
Is It Cruel To Crate A Puppy?
Not everyone regards the crate experience as a good thing for dogs, arguing that confining a dog to a crate is cruel. However, that view isn’t shared by animal behaviorists and veterinarians.
Suppose you avoid common crate training mistakes, such as forcing your dog into his crate or providing a cluttered crate environment where your puppy feels too restricted. In that case, you can avoid creating crate anxiety in your pet.
Of course, you must never shut your puppy in the crate for bad behavior. If your pet learns to associate spending time in the crate with punishment, he won’t want to go into his crate. That can lead to aggression and other behavior issues that can be difficult to cure.
Whenever you confine your pup to his crate, you must let him out for frequent bathroom breaks so that he associates his crate with comfort and a restful, quiet place to spend his time.
Top Crate Training Tips For First-Time Labradoodle Owners
Here are a few expert crate training tips that you can use to ensure crate training success.
How Soon Should I Start Crate Training A Labradoodle Puppy?
Theoretically, a puppy can be crate trained from around eight weeks of age. Labradoodle crate training is generally quicker and more successful if you start training your puppy to use his crate from the first day you get him home.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend lots of quality time cuddling and playing with your puppy to form an all-important bond with him, but you should also start crate training him right away.
Choose The Right Type of Crate
For proper crate training to happen, you need to choose the perfect crate for your puppy. There are several different styles of dog crates to consider, including:
- Wire mesh crates
- Fabric soft-sided crates
- Plastic crates
- Wooden furniture crates
- Heavy-duty metal crates
All these crates can be used to create a homey space for your dog. However, we recommend using a high-quality wire mesh crate for training your Labradoodle puppy.
Wire dog crates are well-suited to most breeds of dogs. Wire mesh crates are affordable, they can be converted into a potty training tool with a crate divider panel, and they are highly well-ventilated. Finally, a high-quality dog crate made from wire mesh is generally collapsible for convenient portability and storage, can be used for transporting your dog in a vehicle, and is easy to keep clean.
How To Choose The Correct Crate Size
If your Labradoodle puppy is happy in his personal space, the crate must be the correct size. An improper crate size will encourage undesirable behavioral issues and make your pet resentful of his special space.
As a general rule of thumb, the crate should allow enough space for your Labradoodle to:
- Sit down without hitting his head or ears on the crate roof
- Stand upright without hitting his head or ears on the crate roof
- Lie down flat out without his feet touching the crate walls
- Turn around completely without bumping into the sides of the crate
If you have a Labradoodle puppy, the best crate choice for you is one with a divider panel. That handy addition of a wire divider instantly turns your dog’s special space into a potty training tool.
Dogs won’t use their sleeping area as a toilet unless the crate is so large that they have the space to use one end for potty and the other for sleeping. A crate divider can make the crate smaller, meaning that you can start with a larger cage that you won’t have to upsize as your puppy grows. As your Labradoodle gets bigger, simply move the crate divider to accommodate your growing puppy.
One common newbie mistake is a lack of consistency when crate training a puppy or adult dog.
If your puppy is to understand what you want him to do, you must be consistent in your training methods. For example, if you give in to your puppy and let him out of his crate whenever he cries, you’re effectively telling your pet that complaining will get him what he wants, setting your training back.
Playtime and Exercise Are Essential
Labradoodles are lively dogs that are usually full of energy. It’s unreasonable to expect a bouncy puppy to settle calmly in his crate without adequate exercise first. So, spend lots of time playing with your pet between crate training sessions so that he sleeps when you send him into his crate.
That’s especially important at bedtime when you need your pet to settle down for the night.
What You Need For Crate Training Your Labradoodle
Before you start the crate training process, you’ll need to buy a few essential items:
- Wire puppy crate
- Machine washable crate pad or mat
- Liner to prevent the mat from slipping
- Crate water bottle
- Your puppy’s mom’s blanket
- Crate cover
- Detachable food and water bowl
- Tasty treats
- Chew toy
Assemble all these items ready for your Labradoodle puppy’s arrival so that you can begin crate training your pet from day one.
Advice For Crate Training Labradoodle Puppies
Here’s a handy step-by-step plan explaining how you can successfully crate train your Labradoodle puppy.
1. Where To Put Your Crate
Improper crate placement leads to anxiety issues for many dogs and can even cause obedience issues. So, you need to be sure that you put your puppy’s crate in the correct place in your home.
Ideally, the crate should be positioned:
- Away from direct heat sources, including sunlight, radiators, and fires
- Away from open windows, doorways, and air conditioning units that could cause a chilly draft
- In a quiet space away from high-traffic areas
- In a family room so that your pet isn’t isolated
- Away from hazards such as power outlets, cables, houseplants, and chemicals
Before you bring your fun-sized bundle of fluff home, go through your home to check for anything that could present a danger to your puppy. Move chewable items, medication, cleaning products, and sharp objects out of your Labradoodle’s reach.
2. Prepare Your Crate
Now, you need to prepare the crate for your puppy.
Start by fitting the crate with the non-slip liner, add a crate mat or comfortable bed, and pop a tasty treat or chew toy inside.
Place some treats and a bowl of water outside the crate where you can reach them. Prop the crate door open; you don’t want your curious puppy to frighten himself if he bumps into the open door while exploring the crate.
3. Show Your Puppy His Crate
If you’ve been able to get your Labradoodle puppy’s mom’s blanket, cut off a piece and place it inside the crate. The blanket carries the mother dog’s scent, helping to make the puppy feel secure and safe so that he settles better in his new home.
Don’t put the whole blanket in the crate. If the puppy soils the blanket, you’ll have to wash it, which would remove the mother’s scent.
Now, you can let the puppy sniff around the crate. Some puppies will accept the crate with ease, going inside right away to get the treats inside.
4. Make The Crate An Enjoyable Space
Crate training a reluctant puppy or adult dog can be a frustrating process. But you can help the process massively by creating a welcoming, comfortable space where your puppy can go to chill out and have fun.
Start by putting a handful of tempting treats just inside the crate, put an intriguing toy inside, and talk encouragingly to your puppy. Most dog owners find that having the crate in a room with people will encourage a reluctant puppy to feel happier spending time inside his crate.
It’s crucial that your puppy never regards his crate as a cage of punishment! Never force your dog into the crate as punishment for bad behavior, and never scold him when he’s inside the crate. Also, you must never shut your puppy in the crate for hours without giving him adequate potty breaks.
5. Fun and Games
You can make crate training sessions more fun for both of you by using crate games.
There are plenty of fun games you can teach your puppy; don’t forget to include interactive reward-based games, such as a KONG toy stuffed with treats. You’ll also need lots of treats that you can give your puppy as a reward for spending time in his crate.
6. Crate Feed Your Labradoodle Puppy
Labradoodles can be pretty food-focused, and you can use that trait to encourage your puppy to spend time in his crate, considerably speeding up the training process.
Have your furry friend watch as you prepare his food. Put the food bowl inside the crate toward the front. The puppy should go into the crate to get his meal. Next time you feed your puppy, put the food bowl further toward the back of the crate so that he has to go in further to get it.
7. Close The Crate Door
Once your Labradoodle puppy regards the crate as a safe, comfy space where he wants to be, you can begin closing the crate door while your pet is eating.
To begin with, open the door again immediately after your puppy finishes eating. The little guy won’t start barking or crying when he realizes he’s confined to his crate. Each mealtime, leave the crate door closed for a little while longer. You want to keep your puppy contained in the crate for around five minutes after he’s finished his food.
8. Back Off!
Once your puppy happily stays in his crate, playing with his toys or munching on a treat chew stick, you can move away from the crate. If your puppy stays calm and doesn’t start complaining too much, move to the other side of the room, keeping within your pup’s sight.
If the puppy begins crying or barking, turn your back on him. Wait for a few minutes until the complaints stop, and your puppy is calm and quiet again. You can turn around and let your pet out of the crate.
Observe your puppy. If your pup starts to panic and becomes upset, let him out of the crate and take the training process back a few steps.
9. Increase The Confinement Time
Provided your puppy is happy to remain inside the crate with the door closed, you can gradually increase the length of confinement time. Ideally, you want your puppy to remain in the crate for up to an hour before he needs to come out for a toilet break.
10. Bathroom Breaks
When working out a crate training schedule for your Labradoodle puppy, you need to watch your pet closely so that he doesn’t have an accident in his crate.
If your pet begins crying, sniffing the ground, or circling, he needs to relieve himself. Immediately you see any of those signs, pick up your puppy and take him to his designated potty spot.
As a rough guideline, puppies up to eight weeks old usually need to urinate every 30 to 60 minutes. Following exercise and warm weather, your pup will drink more, so he’ll need to pee more often. When your puppy is older, he will be able to wait for longer between pee breaks.
11. Sleepless Nights?
The best place for your puppy to spend the night is in his crate next to your bed.
Your puppy might complain at first, but he’s much safer in his crate, and you will enjoy a better night’s sleep too! A crate cover can help create a dark, den-like environment for your puppy, helping him settle down and sleep.
12. Potty Stops
Young puppies will wake up every couple of hours during the night for a potty break. With your pet’s crate beside your bed, you’ll hear him stirring in time to take him outside. That’s great, as it means your pup won’t soil his crate, considerably speeding up the toilet training process.
13. Clean Up Potty Accidents Right Away
No matter how diligent you are, potty accidents are pretty much guaranteed. That’s just part of the fun of raising a Labradoodle puppy!
When accidents happen, do not punish your puppy or scold him. Remember, you must never use your pet’s safe spot as a cruel tool for punishment.
Clean up accidents outside of the crate by using an enzyme cleaning product that will eliminate the scent of pet pee from your floor coverings. If you don’t remove the smell, your pet will probably keep returning to the crime scene, as he will regard the site as a new bathroom spot.
If your puppy pees on his crate blanket, wash all the bedding right away; you’ll need a supply of spare bedding to replace the filthy stuff. Be sure to clean the crate thoroughly to avoid any lingering toilet smells.
14. Teach Your Puppy Verbal Cues
When training your puppy, verbal cues are a key part of the process. Labradoodles are smart dogs that quickly pick up simply cue words, and they’re usually obedient trainable pups.
Use verbal cues from day one of your crate training process. Choose short words that your puppy can recognize and remember easily, such as “Crate” or “Bed.” Of course, puppies are not saints, and things will go wrong occasionally. So, you’ll need a couple of appropriate cue words for that, such as “No!” and, of course, “Good boy” when your canine companion gets it right.
15. Longer Confinement Time
Your puppy needs to learn that spending time confined in his crate is normal for everyday family life.
After a couple of weeks of training, your puppy should be able to remain contained in his crate for one to two hours. We recommend spending time playing with your Labradoodle between crate training sessions. If your puppy is tired, he’s much more likely to settle down to sleep. So, if you’re going out and leaving your pet home alone, be sure to exercise him first.
16. How To Deal With Tantrums
Puppies are rather like toddlers in that they will almost certainly throw temper tantrums during the early days of crate training, especially when you first close the crate door.
Although a pup’s complaints are common for owner panic, that’s normal behavior and nothing to worry about. But you must not give in to your puppy’s tantrums and let him out of the crate every time he kicks off!
If you admit defeat and release your puppy from his crate every time he starts whinging, you’re allowing your pet to train you instead of the other way around!
When your puppy throws a temper tantrum, turn around and wait until your feisty furry friend settles down again. Once peace is restored, reward your puppy with treats and verbal praise.
Did you enjoy our guide to crate training a Labradoodle puppy? Please remember to share the article with your fellow Doodle owners if you did.
Your Labradoodle’s crate should be his safe, den-like place where he retreats when he wants to kick back and relax. You can use the crate for potty training your puppy, preventing undesirable behaviors from taking root, and keeping your puppy safe when you’re not around to watch him.
Did you crate train your Labradoodle puppy? What did you do when your puppy threw a tantrum? Tell us how you did in the comments box below.