There is nothing as amazing as taking your very first puppy home. They smell nice, are soft, wiggle up against you, and they just want to lick and cuddle with you all night long. The question arises whether you should let your puppy sleep in your bed or lock them in their crate all night?
Surprisingly, the answer is YES, you should lock your puppy in their crate at night. By locking your puppy in their crate at night, you ensure they are safe and can’t get up to naughtiness. The crate also helps them settle into your lifestyle and routine much more easily.
5 Reasons Why You Should Lock Your Puppy in Its Crate at Night
There are several reasons why crate training your puppy and leaving them locked or closed in their crate at night is a good idea. These are the paws-able reasons why your puppy should practice getting comfy in their crate at night:
1. Establish a Routine
Puppies, like children, thrive on discipline. All dog trainers agree that routine is the way to train and condition your puppy. If you ask them to do the same thing, in the same way, each time, your puppy will soon learn to do that thing.
So if you ask your puppy to go to their crate each night at 8 pm, then they will soon learn that this is their bedtime, and they will start seeking their crate before 8 pm. This makes your life easier and helps your puppy feel there’s an order to life.
2. Ensure Your Puppy’s Safety
A puppy that walks around your house at night may become bored, and they could end up chewing on things like electrical cords. While it’s a disaster if they chew on your gym shoes that you left in the bathroom, it’s a heartbreaking event if they chew on the power cable for your coffee machine and end up electrocuting themselves.
Training your puppy to accept and sleep in their crate at night will ensure your puppy is safe and can’t get hurt.
Your puppy may also begin to think of their crate as their safe space, and if they become scared or overwhelmed, your puppy can go hide in their crate until they feel safe again.
3. Help Your Puppy Learn About Potty Training
Puppies pee. They pee a lot. Nighttime is one of the times when most puppies end up making a potty blooper in your home. They don’t know they should call you or cry out to wake you up.
With a crate, your puppy won’t pee or poo in their own crate as it’s their bed, and it’s where they sleep. Puppies are socially conditioned by their mothers not to potty in their own bed. A crate will reinforce the idea that your puppy is in their “bed” or “den” and they need to call their mom to help them go outside to relieve themselves.
A crate will help your puppy realize they need to call you. Nighttime is the best time for this training. When you hear your puppy make their potty cry (the one that sounds really desperate), be sure to quickly take your puppy outside to do their business.
By rewarding and praising, your puppy will learn they need to call you to go potty. Your house will be cleaner and you will have raised a socially acceptable dog, all thanks to your efforts to lock your puppy in their crate at night.
4. Instill Discipline and Patience in Your Puppy
Puppies have a short attention span. They are easily distracted, and they often follow their nose and keep on sniffing. Your puppy may lack discipline, and even when you call, they may not respond to you.
To help your puppy learn to be patient and show good discipline, your puppy will really benefit from having their own crate and being locked in that crate at night.
5. Get More Sleep So You Can Have Peace of Mind
Your sleep loss due to struggling all night with a naughty puppy is going to end up harming the puppy too. When you have lost sleep, need to still go to work every day, and then struggle with a naughty puppy, you will be much more inclined to being volatile.
When your puppy is sleeping safely in their crate, you can sleep with confidence. Be sure to train your puppy to cry or whimper when they need to go potty as ignoring your puppy can lead to accidents and training them to pee in their crate (which you don’t want).
If you are struggling with a puppy that is crying all night and won’t stay in their bed, you will lose sleep, become grumpy, and then take that sleep deprivation out on the puppy the next morning.
How to Train Your Puppy for a Crate
While you may believe that you can simply stick your puppy in the crate at night, you need to first train your puppy to accept the crate.
Step One: Introduction to the Crate
Never lock your puppy in the crate and leave them when you have just gotten them. This will make your puppy negative about the crate. A crate is not punishment. Instead, be sure not to make a big deal out of being crated.
Step Two: Short Periods in the Crate
Start by leaving your puppy in the crate for a few minutes each day. Make the crate time longer each week by adding a few more minutes.
Step Three: Extension Periods in the Crate
Once your puppy is happy to stay in the crate for a few minutes, it is essential to extend their crate time more.
Golden Rule of Crate Training
Puppies forget so very easily. You may be able to train your puppy today, but by tomorrow, your puppies may have slipped back into naughty mode. Use your crate when your puppy is too boisterous to help them cool down and calm down, but never use a crate as punishment.
Crate Training for Puppies FAQs
Should I put my 8-week-old puppy in a crate at night?
Yes, you should teach your puppy about crate training as this will help calm them and bring routine to their day. Be sure to only leave a puppy in their crate for an appropriate amount of time. For each week of age, your puppy can stay an hour alone in it at night without needing to come out. So a puppy can be left alone for 8 hours at 8 weeks of age.
Why is it a good idea to crate my puppy at night?
A crate resembles your puppy’s den as a place where they snuggle and sleep. Crating your puppy at night helps them settle down, develop a routine, and avoid potty mishaps.
The Final Crate
Locking your puppy in their crate at night has many benefits, and as a dog owner and trainer, it is impossible for you to disregard the value of good crate training.
Always follow the rule of only allowing an hour of alone time per week of age for the puppy.
featured image from https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/crate-training-101