I have had the experience of training a puppy before but never using a crate. I was a little dubious about it at first but I trusted the recommendations and benefits people had shared with me.
I got Meeka a crate that I thought would still be big enough for her when she’s fully grown. I was a little worried that as it was so big for her she may not mind going to the toilet at one end and sleeping at the other – this is not the case. As long as the bedding covers the whole crate the puppy will treat the whole crate as a bed. Don’t make the mistake of putting bedding only in one half as then they will most likely use the other side as a toilet without being bothered by it.
I want to be as open with you as possible so I will tell you now crate training is hard!!
I naively assumed that Meeka would love her crate without me having to do very much to encourage her. The only preparation I did before her first night in her crate was to carry her in it if she fell asleep. I carried this on all day, after a few times shutting the door to the crate and by the end of the day the crate was locked with her sleeping soundly inside. Don’t get me wrong this is exactly what should be done to help her get used to it but it isn't, by any means, enough.
TIP: In my opinion if you are going to crate train this should be the second most important thing to concentrate on getting right as quickly as possible (going for a wee wee outside it number 1). Play with your puppy in its crate, feed it in its crate, praise it in its crate – make you’re puppy love its crate!
At 5 months old Meeka is still not head over heels about her crate but she does accept it. It is very rare now we will hear a murmur from her once it’s bed time. My skirting boards are mark free, no corner walls ruined, in fact the only reason you could tell I have a dog is from the toys scattered across the floor! My house is exactly the way I want it to be and that is because I have control over Meeka’s actions.
When I do decide to get another dog there will be no doubt in my mind that it will be crate trained.