crate training a labradoodle puppy checklist

Crate Training a Labradoodle Puppy – The Ultimate Guide

There are a lot of benefits of crate training a Labradoodle puppy, both to you and the dog.

The best way to crate training a Labradoodle puppy is to start early and with some time and patience, any dog can learn to love the crate.

This is how I managed to crate-train my puppy.

Is Crate Training Cruel?

The short answer is no. Far from it actually.

Most people will usually combine the thought of keeping your dog in a cage when it is home by itself, as something negative.

This is because humans will compare this with the thought of ourselves being locked behind bars.

But for the dog, this experience is quite different.

By nature, dogs are cave animals, which you can usually see when they are sleeping.

Dogs will usually try and sleep under a table or in a corner of a room.

In nature, wolves and wild dogs will often bury holes in the ground for them to sleep in.

Basically, a dog just wants to feel safe when they have to sleep or be left at home by itself.

A crate is a dog’s personal space and can, therefore, be seen as a quite good investment.

Benefits of Using a Crate

Best crate for a labradoodle

Having a crate for your Labradoodle puppy helps solve many of the issues that are responsible for stress and anxiety as an owner.

Crates serve the very useful purpose of preventing any problems regarding destructive behavior and other issues related to a puppy being home alone.

A crate helps to educate your puppy and also helps when having visitors who might not be too happy around dogs.

And of course, they are also quite helpful when you are traveling with your dog.

Where Should the Crate be Placed?

The best area where to place your crate is in the corner of a room of the house, where there is neither too cold nor too hot and no gusts of wind,

Usually, a dog will want to be around their leader, you, so place the crate somewhere where it can see and hear you most of the time.

To begin with, it’s also a good idea that the crate is the dogs’ only bed.

Later on, you can get a specific bed for your labradoodle if you want.

How Should a Crate be Designed

A dog crate is usually built like a square cabinet, made from metal wire, plastic, or wood.

My recommendation is to get one of metal as they seem to be less susceptible to the bites from a puppy.

The crate we’ve been happiest with is the MidWest iCrate. It has been quite great for us and seems to get very positive reviews on Chewy.

No matter what type of crate you do end up getting, just remember to get one that is large enough for your dog to be able to stretch fully while laying on the side and to be able to sit without its head hitting the ceiling.

Also, remember that a crate that is too large loses its purpose of creating a sense of security for your labradoodle.

It is also possible to buy specific washable beds for some crates, else I would recommend getting a blanket for the crate.

This will make the crate as cozy and comfortable as possible.

I also think it’s a good idea to get cover for the crate to make it darker on the inside of the crate.

This will help your Labradoodle puppy to relax and also make it less likely that your dog will be disturbed by what’s going on outside the crate.

You can also use a regular blanket to cover the crate, but whatever you buy, just make sure that there is a lot of ventilation, and that the crate isn’t placed in direct sunlight.

When to Start the Training

As soon as possible!

And if you adopt a puppy you can begin as soon as it arrives in its new home.

If your dog isn’t a puppy anymore, fear not. It’s still entirely possible to crate-train it but just be prepared that it will take a bit longer to accomplish.

How Long Should the Dog Use the Crate

Expect to use the crate until the puppy is 10-12 months.

At this time the puppy should be over the issues with trying to chew everything when it’s home by itself.

You don’t have to continue using the crate when your dog has grown up, but it will most likely still love having the option of using the crate as its own special place.

If you do decide not to keep the crate, remember to take it slowly so your dog has a chance of getting used to not having it around anymore.

A crate isn’t only useful for puppies, they are also a valuable instrument in helping solve behavior problems in a youngster or more adult dogs.

Educating an older dog is a lot harder and requires more patience.

If you plan on traveling a lot with your dog, keeping your crate and bringing it with you is a good idea.

Cleanliness in the Crate

Why does my labradoodle smell

You should take your puppy for a walk at least every two hours. But accidents will happen, and usually at night.

To minimize the risk of this, take your dog for a walk just before bedtime, and first thing in the morning.

If you hear some whining during the night, get up and take the dog for a walk.

Also, take your puppy for a walk immediately after dinner time, and if you see it sniffing intensively on the floor.

Don’t punish the puppy if there is an accident in the crate during the night.

If there is an accident, just clean it up as soon as you notice it using a special odor remover.

Don’t use cleaning products based on ammonia, as the smell of this will only cause further accidents because of its resemblance to urine.

Can My Dog Ever Get Used to the Crate?

You can’t just lock your puppy in a crate and then expect that the whole concept will work immediately. Believe me, it won’t.

It takes time and patience to introduce the crate as a home and a special place for your puppy.

I have a few tips to make it easier:

Start by leaving a door on the crate open and take all your dogs’ toys or some treats and place them just inside.

This means that if your dog wants a toy or a treat, it will have to stick its’ nose inside the crate.

Try moving the toy/treat further inside the crate each day.

This way it will most likely only take a day or two before the puppy will go inside and lie down.

After a few days where the dog has slept in the crate with the doors open, try casually closing the door, preferably while your dog is sleeping, and try to have it closed for a few minutes, or until the dog awakes.

When the puppy awakes, open the door and praise your puppy and call it outside the crate.

Gradually try to expand the time that the doors are closed.

In time, you will be able to stay in the room with the doors closed, and your dog will lie down until it falls asleep.

When this has become comfortable for your dog, try to leave the house and come back immediately.

The next step is to leave the house for longer and longer. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour, etc., until you no longer hear any whimpering or whining at any time.

Continue expanding the amount of time you are able to leave the house.

And try having a daily schedule for what you do before leaving the house. Finding your coat/keys and so on.

After the Habituation

House training a labradoodle puppy

Have your dog get into the crate periodically during the day, until a maximum of 2 hours.

Try to avoid using the crate only when you’re leaving the house.

Also, put the dog in the crate while you’re home, using it as a “safe zone” for your Labradoodle.

By using the crate while you’re home, the dog will experience the crate as something pleasant, and not worry if you will ever return, or leave it by itself.

This can lead to separation anxiety later in the dogs’ life.

Give your dog a chew toy as occupation, and remember to remove any collar which could otherwise get stuck somewhere in the crate.

If you have any kids, make it clear to them that the crate isn’t meant as a playhouse for them, but the dogs’ own special place.

Even if it’s the dogs’ special place, it shouldn’t be off-limits for people to enter it. As you might end up with a dog that could get aggressive when people get near the crate.

Make sure your dog gets used to you entering the crate once in a while.

Don’t open any doors and let your dog leave the crate if it’s barking, because the dog will then see the barking as a key for opening the doors of the crate.

Wait until it has stopped barking or whining for at least 10 seconds before opening.

The last but most important thing to remember: NEVER EVER used the crate as a punishment and NEVER yell at your dog while it’s in the crate.

The crate is your dog’s sanctuary, a place of calm and security, and should never be linked with any negative experiences.

Final Words

Hopefully, this has given you some advice for crate training a labradoodle puppy.

If you’ve decided to crate train your puppy, I highly recommend the MidWest iCrate, which I’ve owned for quite a while.

If you’re looking for extra tips on how to potty train your puppy, check out this excellent book. (affiliate link)

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