Dos and Don’ts of Crate Training
First thing you need to remember when crate training your Goldendoodle is that the crate is a place of safety and comfort for your companion and not a place of punishment. If you use it as such, she is not going to look at it as a place to be when she is traveling in the car or if you have gone out for a spell.
A crate fits the instinctive needs of dogs because of something that goes back thousands of years when their ancestors did not have a home to feel safe in. They sought out caves and burrows that made them feel secure.
Getting the right size is important
The perfect size for your Goldendoodle’s crate is one that she can stand up in, stretching her legs, and turn around. If she can walk a few paces between the ends, it is too big. This means she will be able to mess at one end and retreat to the other, leading to another host of problems. If it is too small and cramped, she will not be able to stretch and get comfortable.
This is her space
Avoid letting children climb into the crate with your Goldendoodle. This is her space, her place to be comfortable and secure. This is her den. When she is a puppy, try leaving the door open and let her explore it on her own. She may come to a point where she prefers to rest in the crate rather than the sofa.
Your Goldendoodle needs to have a positive association with the crate. Use treats when she goes inside. Praise her and give her lots of encouragement. Do not force her into the crate. This will build a negative association with the experience, and she will view it as punishment. No one forces you to go to your favorite place to unwind and relax. It’s no different with your dog.
Build up time
You are not going to be able to bring your Goldendoodle puppy home and immediately put her in the crate while you go to work for nine hours. This should be something built up slowly over time. Try 20-30 minutes at first. Reward her when she goes in and welcome her out with attention and love when you let her out.
When she has grown accustomed to being in the crate for an hour or more, get her used to you leaving the house. Let her know you are glad to see her when you return. In order for her to have a positive association with the crate, she needs to understand she will be let out to run and play.
This is the “training” part of crate training your Goldendoodle. Don’t expect it to be automatic.
What can you put in the crate?
If your Goldendoodle is going to be in a crate for an hour or more, she is going to need stimulation and some activity. We have our smart phones to keep us entertained. Toss in a peanut butter filled Kong toy. That will keep her from getting bored and developing separation anxiety.
Especially when she is young, avoid putting a blanket or loose fabric anywhere near the crate. Puppies like to chew. It is part of how they explore their world. But if you are not there to monitor the situation, she could swallow some and become dangerously obstructed.
Remember, her crate should make her feel safe and secure. It is not punishment.