Crating at Night
Young puppies 8-20 weeks
The first night in the crate will more than likely not be the most peaceful night of sleep. I recommend that the crate be placed in your bedroom the first few weeks if you have a young 8-12 week old puppy. This arrangement allows you to quickly take the puppy out for a midnight bathroom break if needed.
When you are ready for bed, place the puppy in the crate and turn off the lights. If your puppy begins to whine, let them whine. They should settle down at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. Many young puppies will need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. If your puppy begins whining after an extended quiet period, you should get up and take them outside to let them empty their bladder.
Once you bring them back inside, you must place them back inside the crate. Do not let them in the bed with you at this point. They may whine a little initially, but they should settle down once again. This is the stage that you do not want to start bad habits. The only reason why you compromise on letting them out for whining in the first place is because the last thing you want is a puppy that becomes accustomed to eliminating inside the crate.
Every night for the next several weeks, you should follow this protocol until your puppy begins to develop enough muscle control to make it throughout the night.
Anytime I bring a puppy into my home, I start crate training immediately during the day. Bringing home a new puppy is very exciting and of course you want to play with them as much as possible, however you should begin the crate training process while you are home with your puppy during the day. Practice the crate training procedures in this guide when you first bring your puppy home rather letting the first experience of being locked up in a crate be at night.
Dogs over 20 weeks of age
Once a dog hits 5 months of age, they are usually able to hold their bladder long enough to make it through the night. For dogs at this age, your crate may be located in another area of your home rather than the bedroom. The main complaint I here from owners with puppies at this age is barking and whining at night. I will address this below.
Prolonged Whining and Barking at Night
Experiencing a dog or puppy that is currently barking and whining for long periods of time at night is extremely irritating. If you are currently experiencing this type of behavior, you need to do incorporate the following procedures:
First off, you need to increase the amount of exercise your dog is currently receiving. A tired dog will not have the energy to bark and whine for long periods of time. Pent up energy and crate training do not mix. Implement longer walks, fetch it games, or any other activity to keep your dog engaged before bedtime. Also, make sure not to let your dog nap in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Obedience training during the day will also aid in keeping your dog tired at night. Training provides mental stimulation and begins to show your dog what is appropriate behavior inside your home.
Next, make sure you are following this guide and pay special attention to the 10 Crate Training Procedures that Build Positive Associations to the Crate.
Because sleep is vital for us humans to function during the day, I will occasionally recommend that the crate be moved to the farthest possible point in the house for nighttime so the dog learns that barking does not receive any attention and owners are able to tolerate the muffled sound of the barking until it stops. This should only be done for older dogs that are not currently in the housetraining process. I recommend also placing a blanket over the crate to make it extra dark and cozy.
Most dogs that bark and whine at night have gotten their way at some point by persisting until the owner could not take it anymore and let the dog out of the crate. You must stay strong and stop letting your dog demand and dictate your behaivor with their barking. You may need to purchase ear plugs for the first few nights until your dog learns that barking will not receive attention anymore.
Published on July 23, 2017
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