by Janice Jones |Last Updated 07-28-2021
Crate training small dogs might seem like a daunting task, but it sure does not have to be.
Many people equate house training or housebreaking a puppy to crate training because crates have made the job so much easier.
A crate or cage is a type of enclosure with four sides, a
top and a floor. Most crates are made of plastic or metal and have one or
two doors that can be used by your puppy to enter or leave.
If you want something a little nicer than
the everyday metal crate, check out the crates that resemble hardwood
Many models come in any color of the
rainbow with coordinating accessories
If airline travel is in your plans, consider
a fabric or vinyl crate that will hold your pooch. You will be able to count it as a carry on
item, and your dog will be safely by your feet in the cabin. House training is not the only reason for crate training small dogs.
A Crate Can Function as a:
- Crates work great for transportation, either as an enclosure during a road trip, carry on piece of luggage for air travel, or as a shipping container if puppy needs to be shipped.
- Crates serve as a secure bed and enclosure in hotel rooms and are often required by hotel regulations.
- Crates become the dog’s personal sanctuary—a safe place to hide, sleep, and watch the world go by.
- Crates can protect a puppy from dangerous household items such as poisonous plants, electrical cords, medicines, etc., if the house is not properly puppy proofed.
- Crates are used to confine dogs while the owner is at work or away from the home.
When introduced at a young age, most
puppies feel very safe in their crate and will go in it whenever they want to
sleep or get away from the normal commotion of a busy household.
Consider a crate a must-have if you have more than one dog. In
multiple dog households, unless two dogs get along very well, they should each
have their own crate.
What Size Crate to Purchase?
How Big is Too Big
When Crate Training Small Dogs?
The crate should be big enough so
that the dog can stretch out to sleep, stand up and not bump their head, turn
around and sit comfortably.
crates allow dogs to sleep and eliminate within its confines, thereby
eradicating any training plan it might serve.
Don’t ever worry that your puppy won’t like her crate when you’re crate training small dogs.
My recommendation? Save
money and buy a larger crate and find a way to partition it off, so the puppy
only has access to the size he needs now.
How do you do it?
Some crate manufacturers have already figured it out and
sell their product with metal or plastic divider that can be removed when the
This usually works well for
most puppies, but I have heard horror stories of active dogs trying to move the
barrier and get lodged between the areas.
This is a sad tragedy and something
to think about if you have a high energy dog, who will need to remain in a
crate for extended times.
Crate Training Small Dogs:
What to do to make a big crate small
enough for your puppy
You can fill the extra space with a box or plastic container
has worked well for us. The final
solution is to build a ½ wall and line one side with soft bedding and the other
side with potty pads. This last
alternative is not recommended but may be a last resort.
An alternative to crate confinement would be to use a small
room or corner of the room that can be divided and blocked with infant gates or
x-pens. The puppy would have their own room with their bed in the crate, water,
toys and some pads to use in case of an emergency.
Some people make use of X-pens
when crate training small dogs
Many owners who work rely on one of these options for their
puppy while they are away from the home.
The puppy uses the pads and outdoors.
This doesn’t work for all dogs and many experts will tell you that this
just confuses the puppy.
Crate Accessories for Crate Training Small Dogs
At a minimum you will need a crate. It can be as simple as the one pictured to the left or as fancy as you want it to be.
Some prefer to use a travel crate because they are more portable. This one pictured to the right comes in a variety of colors
For those with limited space, a crate that can also double as an end table is the perfect choice
Maybe something cute is what you are after. This little house comes in either pink or blue and be a comfortable retreat for your small dog.
Make Crate Training Small Dogs Colorful
Take it one step farther and get a cover, bed and matching crate
all in your favorite color.
You can get as fancy or simple as you like with fixing up a
crate. At a minimum, you will need a crate
pad or soft bedding for the dog.
Blankets or towels will also serve the purpose, but small dogs tend to
love comfort and a thick pad or pillow is most appreciated.
Many people will purchase a dog bed and place
it inside the crate for their dog’s comfort.
If you want to get real cozy, you can purchase or make a
crate cover that covers the crate on all four sides. Each side is sewn separately, so you can
choose whether to keep all side flaps down or let your dog see the world
through the front gate.
can be attached to the crate walls or small water bowls specifically designed
to work with crates can be attached to the door or walls of the crate.
If the crate is being used while you are away from home, a
few little chews are most appreciated by small dogs and will keep them munching
for a long time.
You can even purchase little crate fans to keep your pet cool in hot weather. Here are some accessories you might like when crate training small dogs in your home.
Crate Training Small Dogs: Your puppy’s Introduction to the Crate
If this is the first time your
pup has ever been in a crate, you will be much more successful if you train him
to enter the crate on his own rather than picking him up and putting him
Start with a very tasty snack and
a favorite toy. Toss the toy in first
and see if he will follow. If so, reward
with a treat and leave the door open for the puppy to go in and out.
If you want to associate a
training command with entering the crate decide which word you will use. We always taught the word “Bed.” Say the dog’s name and the command. ‘
If she goes in, great
reward and act enthusiastically. If not,
you may need to lure her in with the treats and toys, still keeping the door
Place the crate near you so the
dog associates the crate with treats and being in close proximity to her
Eventually, the dog will
start going into the crate on her own to nap.
At this point, you can try closing the door. Keep the training positive.
I like to talk to the puppy if she starts to
whimper rather than immediately rescuing her by opening the door.
Using The Crate for House Training Purposes
The notion about using crates as
house-training tools lies in the fact that instinctively dogs do not want to
mess in their den or nest.
This goes back long before the first dog was
domesticated. When puppies are born, the mother dog will work tirelessly
to keep the area clean where her pups sleep by cleaning and eating any stool
Puppies learn at a very young
age that the place where you sleep must be keep clean.
Crate training is very popular and effective
method of housetraining. Since the puppy does not want to mess where he
sleeps, he will learn to wait until he is released from the crate to potty.
This is only as efficient as the size of the puppy’s tiny bladder.
Why Crate Training Small Dogs Really Works
The puppy remains in the crate when he
is not eating or drinking, playing with family members, or exercising outdoors—basically
the puppy is in the crate when you cannot be in direct contact with him.
When you are ready to take him out, feed him
or communicate, he comes out of the crate where you can supervise.
You will not want to confine your puppy
to its crate for extended periods of time. Remember a young puppy cannot
go much beyond 2 hours before they need to eliminate. This period
lengthens as the puppy grows.
They can, however, go longer at night
while asleep. This makes sense. Think about the average
We may use the bathroom several times during the day, but sleep
all night without getting up to visit the restroom.
If the crate is large enough for the
puppy to stand up, turn around, stretch out and lie down, it is of sufficient
size and the puppy is not likely to have an accident in it provided it doesn’t
have to remain in it for extended periods of time.
You have a win-win situation. The puppy does not mess in the house and will
be ready to eliminate outside as soon as you are ready to take him.
When Work Schedules interfere with Puppy Schedules
Crate Training Small Dogs Tips
- Never corner your pet in their crate.
- Even if you need to give medicine,
groom, punish, or anything else, don’t do it in his crate.
- Your puppy will associate Crate = Stress
- It has to remain safe, tranquil
place that belongs to the pup and the pup alone.
What if you work and cannot let the puppy out? It is
cruel to keep a puppy confined to a crate all day.
Accidents will happen
because the puppy will not have any other option. If you cannot be available,
there are many options.
One method is to purchase a crate larger that is currently
needed, assuming that your puppy will grow. Place blankets, mats or other
bedding one side of the crate and line the other side with puppy pads or
newspaper. This will allow the puppy to remain clean on the sleep
Another option is to place the crate in a tiny room or block
off a part of a room with a wire pen called an exercise pen or X-pen. The
door to the crate remains open, and the puppy can go in and out as
Exercise pens provide enough room to allow for food and water dishes, a crate and a wee wee pad.
If you know someone who could come and walk your dog a couple
times during the day, at least initially and then once a day when he is a
little old, that might be the best alternative.
There is also a dog walking services that you can hire to interact with
your little one, walk, feed and water.
A crate is a wonderful tool if not abused. The puppy
learns that it is their special place and will gladly go into it to sleep or
Children should be cautioned to avoid disturbing the puppy when he
is in his crate. So, as you can see crate training small dogs can be fun and your dog will love you for your efforts.
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