Crate Training A Poodle Puppy – Tips & Guide

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Poodles are intelligent, trainable dogs that make fabulous family pets.

Whether you have a Miniature Poodle, a Standard Poodle, or a tiny Toy Poodle, your pet will benefit from crate training. Even smart cookies like Poodles can get themselves into mischief when left unsupervised, and a crate can help prevent accidents and keep your puppy safe. You can also use a crate as a highly effective potty training tool!

Read this guide for some top tips and sound advice on crate training Poodle puppies successfully.

What Are The Benefits Of Crate Training Your Poodle Puppy?

Some dog owners don’t think there’s any point in crate training a dog. So, what are the benefits of crate training a Poodle puppy?

White poodle inside the cage

A Cozy, Safe Den

All dogs are natural denners that love to chill out in a quiet, dark place where they won’t be disturbed. If you don’t provide your Poodle with anywhere else, he will quickly seek out a den under a table or behind your sofa.

crate with a cover and many fuzzy blankets gives your puppy precisely what he needs as a den to call his own. 

Silent Nights

Rather than allowing your pet to run your entire house or taking the puppy into bed with you at night, it would help if you had him spend the night in his crate.

A puppy wandering around your home at night will almost certainly have toilet accidents and might be destructive, not to mention disturbing your sleep. Puppies are also very good at getting into sticky situations when left unsupervised, so if your dog is crated, you’ll know exactly where he is and what he’s up to.

Keep your puppy’s crate in your bedroom so that he knows where you are. If your puppy sleeps in his crate, you’ll hear him when he needs a potty break. You can let him out right away to prevent accidents and speed up the house training process. Also, if your puppy wakes during the night and starts crying, you can pet him through the wire mesh of the crate to reassure your pet. 

Over time, your new furry friend will learn to associate going into his crate with settling down for the night, meaning a better night’s rest for both of you.

Potty Training

Miniature Golden Doodle Puppy and Potty Training

Many dog owners use a crate as a potty training tool, and you can incorporate that into the crate training process.

Adult dogs and puppies won’t intentionally soil their den unless they have no choice. So, if you keep your Poodle in his crate and allow regular potty breaks, you can use that behavior as part of the natural training process to housebreak your puppy.

As with any aspect of training your dog, always use positive reinforcement methods and never lose your temper and scold your puppy if he makes a mistake or has an accident.

Separation Anxiety Prevention

Poodles are highly intelligent, social animals that love to be in the company of their human family. That can lead to problems such as separation anxiety or other stress-related behavioral conditions.

Interestingly, it’s thought that separation anxiety is made worse if the dog is allowed to roam freely around the house unrestrained. Providing your Poodle puppy with a secure, comfortable crate can prevent those feelings of isolation and stress, especially if you equip the crate with toys and plenty of cozy blankets to snuggle down in.

Destructive Behavior

All dogs can be destructive if left unsupervised for long periods. Puppies are especially prone to inflicting damage on your clothes, shoes, and other possessions if left home alone when they’re teething.

By confining your Poodle puppy to his crate when you’re not around to watch him, you can be sure that your things will remain intact, and harmful habits such as biting and chewing won’t become established.

Keep Your Puppy Safe

Furnishings On Poodle

Intelligent dogs such as Poodles can be themselves into mischief when you’re not there.

Sometimes, that trouble amounts to something more of an annoyance than anything, such as chewing things. However, puppies are curious creatures that will eat your medication, chew electrical cables, munch on household cleaning chemicals, and even fall out of open windows.

Keep your puppy confined to his crate when you’re not around, and you can be sure that your pet will be safe and sound when you get home.

Safe Travel

The safest way to travel with your Poodle is with your dog safely contained in a travel crate.

All airlines insist that your dog travels in a crate if you’re traveling by air. That could be in the cargo hold or the passenger cabin, but your dog must be crated either way in an airline-approved travel crate

If you’re taking a road trip and Fido is going along, you must have your Poodle ride in a securely fixed crate. If you have to make an emergency stop or are involved in a collision, a loose dog could become a potentially lethal projectile.

So, to keep you and your passengers safe, always use a plastic or wire travel crate to transport your dog.

Are Poodles Difficult To Crate Train?

Fluffy Butt white poodle

Poodles are brilliant, trainable dogs that are not difficult to crate train. As long as you use positive reinforcement methods, your pet will quickly pick up the basics of crate training.

How Long Should Crate Training Take?

Every dog is different, and there are no specific timelines for how long crate training will take. However, you should expect to see success within four to 16 weeks.

Drastic results are often seen in the first week, meaning that you can include more playtime in your Poodle’s day. Any form of behavioral training should be viewed as an ongoing process, so don’t give up too soon, no matter how quickly your Poodle puppy catches on.

Crate Training Toy, Standard, and Miniature Poodles

This section of our guide will share some expert crate training advice and tips with you.

When Should I Start Crate Training A Poodle Puppy?

Most Poodle puppy owners start crate training their pets from around eight weeks old. You’ll find behavioral training much easier if you start as you mean to go on from day one.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy indulging in lots of cuddle time and all-important bonding time with your puppy. However, we recommend that you start crate training your Poodle pup as soon as you get him home.

Choose The Right Type of Crate

The natural training process is much easier if you have the correct crate for your Poodle puppy.

Adult Toy Poodles will need a smaller crate than larger Poodles, and there are also several different types of crates to consider, including:

Although all these crates can be used to create a wonderful comfy place where your Poodle can relax and kick back, our preferred option for crate training a dog is a high-quality wire mesh crate.

Wire crates have several advantages, including:

  • Affordability
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Collapsible
  • Portable
  • It can be used as a car travel crate
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in many different sizes

Wire crates are also more easily customizable than the other crate types. 

How To Choose The Correct Poodle Crate Size

Regardless of what crate training method you use, your Poodle’s crate must be the correct size for him. 

If the crate is too small, a larger poodle will feel claustrophobic, but if the crate is too big, a bored Poodle might decide to use one end of the crate as a potty area, which is a bad habit you must avoid.

Generally, the crate should give your Poodle adequate space to:

  • Sit down without his head or ears touching the crate top
  • Stand upright without his head or ears touching the crate top
  • Stretch flat out without his paws touching the crate sides
  • Turn around comfortably without touching the sides of the crate

If you have a puppy or young dog, you must expect your Poodle to grow! We recommend that you buy a crate with a divider panel for puppies. The wire divider can make the crate smaller for potty training and then moved out to enlarge the crate as your puppy grows.

Consistency Is Key

As well as using positive reinforcement and proper training, you must be consistent in the approach you take. 

Puppies learn through repetition, and the goal of crate training can be lost altogether if your puppy gets confused because you’re giving him mixed messages. That means everyone in your household must follow the training methods you’re using, even during five-minute training sessions. 

Playtime

Like most puppies, Poodles are full of energy. If you don’t give your pup an outlet for all that energy, he won’t settle down when he’s crated. So, you’ll need to use a combination of crate training and playtime for best results. 

Before you start training your puppy, take him outside for a game of fetch, for a walk, or to the dog park for a romp with his canine pals.

Giving your Poodle plenty of exercise is especially important at the end of the day when you want to go to bed and have your puppy sleep through the night. So, set aside some time for fun and games before you send your pet into his crate at bedtime.

What Do You Need For Crate Training Your Poodle?

white poodle sitting in a cage outside

Before you begin the crate training process, you’ll need to gather these essential items:

  • Wire mesh dog crate
  • Machine washable crate pad or mat
  • Anti-slip crate liner
  • Crate water bottle
  • The puppy’s mother’s blanket
  • Crate cover
  • Tasty treats
  • Chew toys

Gather all these items ready for your Poodle puppy’s arrival so that you can make a start on crate training your pup right away.

Tips On Crate Training Poodle Puppies

Here’s an easy step-by-step crate training plan that you can use for your Poodle puppy.

1. Where To Place The Crate

Putting your Poodle’s crate in the wrong place can ruin your crate training process. If you place the crate somewhere unsuitable, your pup’s crate time can be miserable at best and lead to long-term behavioral problems.

To ensure your puppy’s comfort and make your crate training success, the crate should be placed:

  • Out of drafts, away from doorways, open windows, and aircon units. 
  • Not in direct sunlight or close to fires and radiators
  • In a room where your family spends time so that your Poodle doesn’t feel abandoned
  • In a quiet spot, i.e., not in high-traffic areas
  • Well away from potential dangers, including chemicals, cleaning products, medicines, power cables, and electrical sockets

You also need to ensure that your puppy can’t get hold of anything chewable through the crate wires. For example, never use a blanket to cover your pup’s crate. Instead, buy a properly fitted crate cover that puppy teeth can’t drag through the bars to chew.

2. Get The Crate Ready

White Poodle in a cage

Your Poodle’s crate must be comfortable and appealing so that the puppy wants to explore it and, ultimately, spend time inside his new den.

Fit the non-slip crate liner and add a comfy, cozy mat or bed. Provide your puppy with tasty treats and a couple of chew toys to tempt him inside the crate.

Remember that you’re going to be using positive reinforcement training methods, so you’ll need a packet of treats within reach outside the crate for reward-based training. A bowl of water is also essential that you can offer your puppy. Don’t put water into the crate, as it will probably get knocked over, soaking the bedding and discouraging your pet from going into the crate.

Finally, you need to fasten the crate door open to prevent your furbaby from hurting himself if he bumps into it.

3. Introduce Your Poodle Puppy To His Crate

When you collect your puppy from the breeder, ask if you can have the mother dog’s blanket. Cut off a small piece of the blanket, and put it into the crate, wrapped up in the bedding. The blanket is soaked with the mom’s scent, which helps the puppy feel relaxed, safe, and secure in unfamiliar surroundings.

Keep the remaining piece of blanket somewhere safe and dry. You don’t want to use the whole blanket in the crate, as if the puppy pees on it, the blanket will have to be washed, and the mother’s scent would be lost.

You can now allow the puppy to investigate the crate. Poodles are curious, intelligent dogs, and you might even find that your pup goes into the crate immediately to eat the tasty treats inside. 

4. Teach Your Puppy Verbal Cues

A black poodle on a checkered tile floor

Verbal cues are an essential part of the training process. Poodles are clever pups who learn simple cue words pretty quickly, making your life much easier.

You can begin using verbal cues from the get-go. Pick short, clear words that your pup can remember, such as “Crate” or “Bed.” You also need cue words for bonding time, such as “Good dog” and “No” when things go wrong.

5. Crate Feeding

Crate feeding your Poodle can be a fantastic training technique, especially for shy, reluctant pups.

Prepare your puppy’s meal while he watches. Make a big deal out of dishing out the food so that your puppy gets excited. Now, put the bowl of yummy food just inside the door of the crate, out of reach of your puppy so that he has to go into the crate to get his meal.

Next time you feed your puppy in the crate, move the bowl further back inside the cage. Eventually, your puppy should happily spend his meal times contained in his crate.

6. Shut The Door 

Hopefully, your Poodle puppy will now view the crate as somewhere safe where he can enjoy his meals. 

Start by closing the crate door while your puppy is eating his meal. Be ready to open the door again as soon as the little guy finishes his meal. The idea is to keep your pet confined for around five minutes, but let your puppy out before he begins complaining.

7. Up The Ante

Standard Poodle

If your Poodle puppy remains calm and doesn’t start barking or crying, you can leave the door closed and move away from the crate. Try walking to the opposite side of the room, staying within your pup’s sight.

You should expect a small amount of whinging at this stage in the training process. If your pup starts complaining, turn around the ignore him. Once the puppy is quiet and calm again, you can turn around and open the crate door.

If your puppy begins panicking and is distressed, open the door, and take a few steps back in the training process.

8. Don’t Punish Your Puppy

Use lots of praise during training sessions and reassure your puppy when you first start closing the crate door. 

The golden rule for puppies is never to use the crate to punish your pet and don’t scold him if he starts barking. Ignore the undesirable behavior, and wait until your pet desists and is calm again.

9. Close The Door For Longer Periods

If all is going well, you can start increasing the amount of time your puppy is confined to his crate.

At this stage, your Poodle should be able to spend an hour or so in the crate before you let him out for a potty stop and some outdoor time. As time goes by, you can gradually increase your pup’s crate hours.

10. Potty Breaks

White poodle dog portrait

Remember that your puppy must feel safe and comfortable when in his crate. That won’t happen if your pet is bursting to go potty!

So, you need to give your puppy some outdoor time every couple of hours and let him outside as soon as he comes out of the crate. That’s crucial, as your puppy needs to understand that it’s bathroom time as soon as he’s let out of the crate. Remember to factor in some bonding time after your puppy has relieved himself and before you put him back into his crate.

After a month or so, you should expect your Poodle puppy to tell you when he needs to go out by heading directly to the door. By the six-month mark, your pup should be able to wait for around four to six hours before he needs to pee. Never expect your dog to wait for over eight hours before he has a chance to go to the bathroom!

11. Clean Up Immediately!

Unfortunately, accidents are inevitable when potty training your puppy, no matter how careful you are.

When your puppy has an accident, don’t scold or punish him. It’s crucial that your pet views his crate as a safe den and not somewhere he’s sent when he’s upset you. Bad behavior issues can easily develop if your puppy becomes resentful of spending time in his crate.

If the accident is outside the crate, clean your flooring thoroughly with an enzyme cleaning product. Dog pee is horrendously difficult to get out of carpets, and if you don’t get rid of the odor completely, your puppy will most likely return to the spot repeatedly.

In the case of a wet blanket, you’ll need to wash all the bedding and soft fabrics inside the crate immediately. You must also clean the crate thoroughly to remove every trace of potty smell.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Crate Training Your Poodle Puppy

Punky look poodle

Of course, you want to get it right when crate training your Poodle puppy. However, it’s all too easy to get things wrong, especially if your puppy is aggressive. 

Here are some harmful mistakes that you want to avoid.

Make The Crate A Happy Place

You want to make your Poodle puppy’s crate a safe, cozy spot and a safe place where your pet feels secure and wants to spend his time.

Never use the crate to punish your dog!

Your dog’s crate should not be a frightening place for your pet. If your dog finds his crate intimidating and scary, he won’t want to go in there, making the whole process much more difficult.

Remember To Give Your Puppy Regular Breaks

Very young puppies have extremely small bladders, so you need to remember to take your puppy outside for a bathroom break every two hours at first.

The dog is a pretty hygienic animal, so you must not leave your puppy too long so that he has an accident in his crate, which would distress your pet and risk him associating his crate with bathroom spots.

Don’t Neglect Adult Dogs

Cotton Candy Poodle

Dogs are creatures of habit, which makes training a mature, adult dog much harder. 

Remember that an adult dog’s bladder is much larger than a puppy’s, so they can hold it for longer. You must not expect an adult dog to wait for more than four to six hours before you take him outside for a bathroom break.

Don’t Neglect Playtimes

While your puppy is young, you must continue the bonding process with your pet. You also need to socialize your puppy to be a well-adjusted, well-balanced dog.

If you don’t work at bonding with your Poodle puppy and allow him to spend plenty of time outside the crate, he might become depressed and anxious, leading to behavioral problems in the future. 

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed our guide to crate training your Poodle puppy? Please share the article if you do.

Your Poodle should regard his crate as a safe spot where he can go when he needs to chill out and relax. The crate is also a useful tool for potty training your puppy and keeping your pet safe when you leave him home alone.

Did you crate train your Poodle puppy successfully? How did it go? Tell us how you got on in the comments box below.

Meet our writer

Alison Page was brought up with dogs and various other pets! For a few years, Alison worked as a Practice Manager in a small animal veterinary clinic. Alison is now a full-time writer, specializing in creating articles on the care and training of dogs, cats, and fish.

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