Crate training your puppies is a lifelong commitment. This is because even if the things are taught when they are young, the pet owners have to maintain the training throughout adulthood.
Still, there are times when puppies start regressing their crate training, which can be highly frustrating for pet owners. Fortunately, there are different ways to help your puppy through this temporary phase.
Common Reasons Behind Puppies Regressing in Crate Training
It is common for puppies to regress in crate training, as it happens to nearly every puppy. This is because puppies don’t have any linear learning curve. In some cases, the puppies regress a little before they start improving again. Still, it can be confusing for the puppy owners when their puppies don’t want to sleep in their crate, which they loved before.
Usually, it’s a temporary phase, but there are various reasons behind it.We talked to the experts at DogAcademy.org to get some insights on this, and this is what they have to say.
They Are Testing Their Boundaries
Puppies like to learn about their surroundings and explore. It is normal for the puppies to test the boundaries because they are like humans. Similarly, crate training regression could be a part of the exploration of what they can and cannot get away with.
In most cases, this issue occurs when the puppy is six months old because it’s like a teenager phase for puppies. This is why the puppy starts acting out more than usual during this time. If your puppy is in this age bracket, you should just wait for this phase to pass and be consistent about putting the puppy down in its crate.
If the puppy suddenly refuses to sit in its crate, there might be something uncomfortable. In addition, the puppy might have negative memories associated with the crate. For instance, if the puppy acts strange and is put in the crate as a punishment, it creates a negative association.
This is why the crate must not be used as a punishment, and you need to create only positive associations with the puppy’s crate. For example, you can start giving treats when the puppy settles into the crate or give it a new toy.
The Puppy Grew up
When you first bring home the puppies, they are scared because of a new environment and don’t act up, irrespective of where you put them. However, when the puppy becomes accustomed to the environment and feels more confident, it is likely to push the boundaries. You don’t need to do anything about it; just stay consistent with the training and be patient.
If you recently changed your home’s setting and moved your puppy’s crate from its usual spot, it could be another reason your puppy won’t sit in the crate because it will be out of its comfort zone. If this is the case, you have no choice but to put the crate in its original position and see if the puppy sits in the crate.
Tips for Handling Regression in Crate Training
As already mentioned, the puppies can regress in crate training for various reasons. Irrespective of the reasons behind regression, different tips can help handle the regression.
Repeat the Crate Training
It might sound frustrating to start crate training again, but it’s one of the most reliable options. In case the puppy has created a negative association with the crate, you have to build positive associations again.
For instance, you can purchase a new crate with a more appealing design or fill up the crate with puppy toys. This will help your puppy forget the bad memories and enjoy the crate.
Create a Comfortable and Fun Place
The crate is the resting space for your puppy, and it must be comfortable and fun. To begin with, you can plan some crate games and invest in a soft blanket and bed to make sure the puppy likes sleeping in it. Also, always make sure that the crate is big enough for the puppy to change sides because it’s essential for its comfort.
In addition, if you are using a wire crate, you should put a sheet cover on it to keep a cozy environment. Lastly, make sure that the crate smells pleasant, and the crate should be cleaned regularly.
Feeding in the Crate
Every puppy owner knows that puppies love eating, and it can be seen from the way puppies get excited about their dinner and breakfast. So, while you are creating positive associations with the crate, start by giving meals in the crate.
It is suggested to be consistent about feeding your puppy in the crate. As a result, the puppy will be happy to jump into the crate to eat.
Give Treats in the Crate
Every puppy has its favorite chews and treats, and one way of making it accustomed to the crate is giving the chews and treats in the crate. However, to fully train the puppy, you must be consistent with this practice. So, just take the treats from the cupboard and ask the puppy to sit in its crate if it wants the treats.
Being consistent and firm with the crate training is essential, even if the puppy is testing your patience. However, you shouldn’t rush the puppy because it will only make your puppy more anxious. Similarly, it will make the puppy scared of the crate even more. This is why you should be gentle about the training and take things slow.
For instance, if the puppy barks and howls too much or is pacing and panting, you must understand that the puppy is not comfortable with the space. In such cases, just drop the practice and soothe your puppy.
What to Do When the Puppy Cries in the Crate
The common reason behind the puppy crying in the crate is anxiety. Generally, it happens when the crate is new or the bedding isn’t comfortable. To fix this issue, you should opt for comfortable bedding. However, before you put your puppy back into the crate, it’s best to take your puppy out for a walk to calm it down.
Lastly, it is better to sit beside your puppy’s crate to make the puppy feel more comfortable. The puppies have separation anxiety, and sitting beside them will ease their transition. Also, if possible, you can pull the puppy’s crate closer to your bed to provide reassurance.
The Bottom Line
A crate is one of the most essential things for puppies.
However, it can be frustrating for puppy owners to watch their puppies refuse the crate. In such situations, building positive associations make the puppy feel more comfortable about sitting and sleeping in the crate.