A dog crate, or den as it is otherwise referred, can help with toilet training your Cavapoo puppy and acts as a safe and secure place where they can relax. Although we appreciate that a crate may not be for everyone, if you can get your Cavapoo to take to it, you will soon find that it brings a host of benefits for you both.
Crate training your Cavapoo will ensure that your puppy’s life is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. It should not be used as a place for punishment but be a happy and content space where you can reinforce positive behaviours for your dog.
We crated our Cavapoo puppy, Rosie, from the first day we bought her home and it has become an invaluable tool in her training. She loves being cosseted in the safe surroundings of her crate, knowing that she will not be disturbed.
Below we explain how to help your puppy love their den too.
5 top benefits of crate training your Cavapoo
Like many people, we live in a busy household. There is always somebody coming or going, doors opening and closing, and noise levels can often be through the roof. Crates come in handy for when your dog needs a break or a familiar place to rest and relax.
Other top benefits for crate training your Cavapoo include:
- Crates help with self-soothing. Just like people, dogs can suffer with anxiety and become distressed. Fireworks, thunderstorms, or the sounds of an emergency siren can often seem scary – especially to a small pup. But when placed in their safe and secure crate, your Cavapoo can start to calm down.
- Crates place your puppy out of danger. Crates keep curious puppies safely sequestered when you’re not able to supervise them yourself. This could be during the day whilst you are in the house, or when you are out running errands.
- Crates build confidence. Puppies are people lovers, and your Cavapoo may not want to leave your side throughout the day. A crate, however, can give them the confidence to enjoy some “alone time” which helps prevent future separation issues. Please remember that puppies under the age of six months should not spend longer than 3-4hours a day in their crate (unless overnight).
- Crates help with toilet training. Dogs do not like defecating in their sleeping areas. Therefore, the crate helps puppies learn to hold and strengthen their bladder and bowel muscles, making toilet training less of a chore for you and your dog.
- Crates make it easier to transport your dog. Whether you are travelling by car or by air, for short distances or long vacations, crates allow your dog a place to lie down and sleep, without distraction or distracting the driver. We have a portable crate and also use it for trips away, such as camping or when visiting friends.
Make your dog crate a positive place
In order to ingratiate the crate to your dog, you need to ensure that they see it is a positive place to go. Plenty of treats, chews, toys and a comfortable bed will make your puppy feel pleased to step inside.
A crate should not be:
- Used for punishment.
- Placed in an area that gets too hot or too cold, making it uncomfortable for your puppy to relax.
- Isolated away from the house. You want them to feel included even when they choose to take a step back. Banishing them to another room makes them feel like they have done something wrong.
Top tips for successful crate training
Crate training should start from day one – the moment you bring your puppy home. But try not being over-zealous in your quest for success. Remember…
- To introduce the crate slowly to your Cavapoo. Leave the door wide open and let your dog come and go as they wish. Place plenty of rewards inside so that they start to associate the crate as a place where good things happen.
- Puppies and dogs love to be praised for their good behavior. Whether that is plenty of love, cuddles or treats, the most important step in crate training is to make your Cavapoo associate it with only positive experiences.
- Limit the time they spend in their crate depending on their age and level of house training, after all, crate training is not about imprisoning your Cavapoo.
- To remove any collars or harnesses to ensure that your dog is safe from injury at all times.
- Your puppy is unlikely to crate train immediately. So be patient, as crate training can take up to 6 months to achieve.
Crate training your Cavapoo overnight
The first night is always the biggest challenge for any new dog owner. It’s also a scary time for your puppy or dog as it is a total change in environment and routine from what they currently know. So, go easy on each other, with plenty of empathy, cuddles, and reassurance. Now it not the time to implement tough love.
Make your puppy’s first night a positive experience by introducing them to the crate well in advance in order to convince them that their den is the best place to be. This will make things easier when bedtime eventually comes around.
Do not settle them until your puppy has a full tummy and an empty bladder. Hide some treats as a reward for them and use a code word such as “sleepy time” to signify that it is time for slumber. You should reinforce this each night so that your puppy starts to associate the difference between daytime and night-time sleeping.
On the first night, rather than isolating your Cavapoo from you completely, spend time lying by their crate. This will help them build up confidence and reassure them that they are not alone. When they looked settled and sleepy you should walk away.
If they start to whimper (and the cries persist for longer than 10 minutes), we recommend going back in so they can see that you have not left them for good. Say the bedtime word and sit in silence for 5 minutes so that they are comforted by your presence. You may need to repeat this process many times (especially for the first few nights) but after a while your dog will soon learn that you are there to support them if they need it, but that they will not gain your attention at night.
Your puppy will probably need to go to the toilet in the night as they do not like to defecate in their own beds. It might even be worth setting your alarm for the early hours to take them outside to their designated spot to relieve themselves.
There will be many demanding times beyond the initial few days. However, do not rush it, as trust and crate training take time.
To find out more about settling your Cavapoo into their new home, read our blog!
The best crate for your Cavapoo
The right crate can make or break your training, so in order to get off to the best possible start, you should invest wisely.
Depending on how you to plan to use your crate will often determine the materials that it is made from. For example, a sturdy wooden crate is great if it is to be used as a piece of furniture in your house, but a soft or wire crate may be more practical if you are planning on moving it around.
When it comes to how large your dog crate should be, you should choose one that has room for your dog to stand up, lie down, turn around and stretch out in. Any more space than this and you may find them using the excess area to relieve themselves in.
If you are selecting a crate for your puppy, then make sure you plan ahead by opting for a crate that they can grow into. We did not do this and are now on crate number 2!
Pick a crate with movable dividers so that you can adjust the inside space to suit their size. Remember, Cavapoo puppies may look small at first but they have the potential to grow up to between 9-14 inches in height and can come in anywhere around 12-25lbs in weight (depending on their lineage).
Finally, remember that all dogs are different – even if they are the same breed. Whilst some puppies may prefer to sleep in the dark others enjoy natural daylight or even a nightlight. Try using a blanket to cover the crate (ensuring that there is plenty of ventilation).
Our puppy Rosie prefers to see out, and even though the sun comes shining through the door early each morning, we don’t hear a whimper from her until we rise.
The biggest thing to take away about crate training, is to make it a positive experience for you and your dog.
Dogs are naturally den animals and enjoy being in small, enclosed places, so although crate training may take time and a lot of patience, get it right and your Cavapoo will be much more content because of it.