I feel strongly that crate training is very important for a puppy, and for the owner. Not only do they provide a safe space for puppy to relax in, they allow the owner to relax as well – knowing their puppy is safely in their crate. Crating your puppy also helps with housebreaking. A puppy is much less likely to soil their crate than if they had the run of the house. And of course, having your puppy safely in their crate at night or when you are gone means you don’t have to worry about any unwanted activities!
When I researched crate training prior to picking up our puppy, all guidelines said to put the puppy’s crate in the main area of activity. Such as the living room, or even in your bedroom, as they want to be near you and will feel safer. Especially true, if they are coming from a litter of puppies and now are all by themselves. However, our dogs have always stayed in a separate room, downstairs. So, this is where I put our puppy during the night, and when we were away. She did not like it.
We tried our best to keep this up – we tried it all. Warm bottles of water, ticking clocks, toys, clothing that smelled like us, soothing music, sitting with her until she fell asleep, kongs, treats, crate games, feeding in her crate, treats in her crate… Everything. Nothing worked. She barked herself hoarse! Her behavior continued to escalate for 2.5 solid weeks, and I finally was at my wit’s end… and struggling for sleep. Most important though, is I felt her behavior was escalating into something more serious than just puppy learning about her crate. I felt she might be on her way to some real anxiety issues.
Funny thing was we HAD a crate for our puppy upstairs, in the living area – just around the corner from our bedroom. She frequented this crate in mornings when we were getting ready for work and couldn’t watch her – or while we were eating dinner, etc. She never had issues with it.
Then one fateful night… We had a houseguest, who would be staying in the room next to where our puppy was crying her heart out. I decided that night to move our puppy to the crate upstairs, and hope for the best. Worst case: we’d have to listen to her crying a little louder than usual. But at least our guest would sleep.
She slept peacefully all night.
She didn’t even have an accident or cry one tiny bit! We were astonished… and so we kept this up. Ever since that night: she sleeps peacefully every night for a solid 7 hours (sometimes 8!) – She doesn’t have accidents, and she RUNS into it as fast as she can every night and when it is time for work. (Kongs DO work miracles, if the dog is in the right frame of mind!).
So I say to you: Crate your pup close to you. It really does work.
(Note: I do know several dogs that have been crated since pups away in a separate room or downstairs, etc… and they have been fine. I think perhaps that it just depends on the personality of your puppy.)