The way you crate train a puppy in an apartment is the same way you crate train a puppy in a house. If your puppy is afraid of the crate, start by having them eat their meals in the crate with the door open. This forces them to spend time in the crate. The more time they spend there, the more comfortable they’ll become.
Adopting a puppy is always an exciting change to your apartment. With the fun comes some learning and training for both you and your new pup. One of the first of those learning experiences comes with crate training. It’s quite the process, but your puppy must start learning early on.
Bringing Home a Puppy
Before you bring your newest addition home, you want to make sure your space has everything you need.
Items to invest in include a crate, collar and leash, food bowls, quality food, treats, toys, and a dog bed. Dog gates may be something you invest in as well.
Designate a Space
Once you have everything for your puppy, designate a space in your apartment that is peaceful and safe.
This space should be free from toxic plants, any harmful substances they can get into, electrical cords they may chew on along with other things that could potentially be unsafe. This is where your dog or baby gate will come in handy.
After creating this space, you’ll want to make sure your puppy can’t escape easily from it, especially if you haven’t taken the same safety measures in other areas of your apartment.
Dog gates are a safe and sturdy way to keep your puppy in their safe zone.
Training classes are a great way to not only teach your new puppy, but to socialize them. Speaking with your veterinarian and professionals in the community can provide you with many options to teach your puppy commands and skills.
The professionals from these classes will also be a great resource to lean on should you need some advice in the training process.
Why Crate Training Important
Crate training provides your pup with a space of safety in your apartment. It keeps them from having accidents inside while you’re gone or tearing up things they may find a way into.
Crate training also provides a safe space for your dog in times of adjustment, such as with guests in the apartment.
Using a crate allows your dog to remain indoors instead of being isolated outside or away from you.
Choosing a Crate
There are many options for buying a crate. Many are either plastic or metal. You can find some that are collapsible for easy storage. When purchasing a crate, you want to ensure it provides enough space for your dog to stand and turn in. Ensure that the locks are sturdy and your dog isn’t able to escape from it.
How to Crate Train a Puppy in an Apartment
Crate training a puppy in an apartment isn’t much different than crate training them in a house. Before you begin, know this process can take some time, up to weeks before your dog is trained.
Be patient and let your dog get adjusted. With time and routine, your puppy will find peace and safety in the process.
Introducing to the Crate
When you bring your pup to their new crate, let them enter on their own terms. Leave the door open so they can enter and exit freely.
If your dog is hesitant, you can use treats leading to the entry and inside of the crate for them to enter naturally.
This step can be immediate for some dogs and take some time for others. Pay attention to your dog’s reaction and continue making it a happy place for them until they feel safe to enter on their own.
NEVER force your dog into the crate. This needs to be a positive experience. If they’re forced in, they’ll think the crate is a form of punishment.
Meals in the Crate
After your dog has gotten used to their crate, begin placing their meals inside the crate.
If your dog is still fearful of its crate, start with placing the meals nearby. As they grow more comfortable, continue moving their bowl closer to the crate until they are comfortable eating inside of it.
Once your dog is comfortable and consistently eating meals in their crate, begin closing the door during this time. When they finish, open the door so they can exit.
As the meals continue, increase the amount of time you are leaving them in their crate following their meal.
Do this according to the comfort of your dog. If your dog is getting anxious, let them out. Eventually, you want your dog to take a nap in their crate shortly after a meal.
Once you see that your dog is comfortable in their crate, start incorporating times throughout the day that you have them stay in their crate.
You can create a command for this, along with providing a treat. Once they enter and you’ve given their treat, either stay in their presence for a few minutes or try leaving the room for a short moment.
When you return, allow them to come out from their crate. Repeat this process multiple times throughout the day, increasing the time gradually, so they stay in their crate for longer periods.
When you’ve built a strong level of comfort and ease for your dog in their crate, you can begin to crate them for short periods, such as when running an errand.
This ensures the safety of your pup while giving them a place of peace to stay when you are out of their presence.
Nighttime is a good time to allow your dog to remain crated. This allows for a longer period in the crate with your presence to take them out if needed.
As puppies are still growing, you will want to keep the crate in a place close by, such as in your bedroom, so you know when to take them out to potty.
Things to Keep in Mind
The process of crate training is one that can bring your puppy a lot of anxiety if not trained correctly.
Their crate is to be used as a place of safety and comfort for them, not as a punishment. When you begin using the crate to punish destructive behaviors or leave your dog in for extended periods, you can make their crate aversive.
Be aware that each dog is different and may need longer periods of time to get adjusted. If you find that your dog is still having a lot of anxiety and hesitation through this process, reach out to a local trainer for guidance.
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