Many Owners Swear By The Security Provided
To crate train or not to crate train, that is the question. For goldendoodle owners, especially, this quandary can prove a little difficult to solve. Some swear by crate training their golden doodles to help give them a sense of security and a place to call their own. Others find that this type of training just isn’t for them.
So, who’s right?
It all depends on the owner and the dog in question. Crate training is a perfectly acceptable means of helping a puppy learn to potty train, and it’s a great way to give a beloved pet a place within a home that’s 100 percent theirs. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States even endorses the concept as a smart, humane way to protect both a dog and its surroundings while an owner is away.
The Benefits Of Crate Training
Crate training can prove to be a few useful undertaking for more reasons than one. Many owners find the benefits extend to both the dog and the people within a home. The benefits of crate training a goldendoodle include:
- Security – When dogs are comfortable in their crates, they often retreat to them all on their own for naps and even for brief respites from activities in the home. A crate can give a dog a sense of having its own safe space.
- Home protection – Puppies and even older dogs can wreak havoc on a home when they are left unattended. A goldendoodle that is successfully crate trained will not cause problems in the home while you are away.
- Potty training – Dogs and even puppies will try very hard not to eliminate where they sleep and rest. As a result, crate training can help immensely with house breaking.
Getting started with crate training is often suggested in the puppy stage, but older dogs can get the swing of it. In either case, the prospect will require careful selection of the right crate and a careful step-by-step process for training.
Picking The Right Crate For Your Goldendoodle
Before you and your goldendoodle can dive into crate training, you need to have the right crate in hand. Selecting a crate is a very important part of the process. A good crate will enable your dog to stand up comfortably and turn around with ease. If a crate doesn’t allow for at least this much movement, your dog will not be comfortable inside and will likely resist training. If you’re selecting a crate during the puppy stage, it’s a very good idea to consider what your dog’s full size will be at maturity. This can save you the trouble of having to buy another crate down the road.
When selecting a crate for a goldendoodle, it’s also wise to consider what else needs to go in the crate besides your dog. If, for example, the crate will be used for sleeping, you may want to make sure there’s room for bedding and even a few chew toys. If the crate is meant to house your golden doodle during the day while you’re away, you’ll also want to make sure food and water dishes fit into the space.
To find the right crate for you dog, it can help to shop online and look in local pet stores. Many find that online outlets offer a greater selection of crate styles and sizes and a larger variety of accessories for less money.
The Types Of Crates Vary
Once you start shopping around for crates, you’ll find that size isn’t the only option available. Crates can vary rather greatly in style. Some of the most common choices include:
- Plastic kennels – This type of crate involves a plastic enclosure, which generally has a metal mesh door. Some owners prefer plastic kennels due to their lightweight nature and ease of cleaning.
- Metal crates – This type of crate is created using meshed metal throughout. This is a solid choice for indoor and outdoor use, but it can leave a bit of a mess on the floor if your goldendoodle has an accident or is inclined to shed.
- Collapsible pens – This type of crate is an excellent choice for those who need to move their crates frequently.
The choice of crate style isn’t nearly as important as the space available for your dog to move around. Whatever type of crate your goldendoodle is more comfortable with tends to fit perfectly.
Accessories Worth Considering
If your intent is to use crate training not only for potty training, but also to serve as sleeping quarters for your dog and a place for him to feel comfortable during the day, accessories to make his “house” comfortable are probably in order. Some of the accessories that can help make a crate homier include:
- Bedding – Specialized pads are available to fit most standard crates. These can simply help make sure your goldendoodle is more comfortable at night or while you’re away.
- Feeding supplies – Weighted food and water bowls that are difficult for a dog to knock over are smart choices for crate training. They can help ensure your goldendoodle has the food or water he needs to handle a several-hour stretch with ease.
- Toys – These aren’t necessarily crate gear, but they can add to your pet’s comfort level.
Getting Started With Crate Training
Crate training a goldendoodle – or any breed of dog for that matter – can take time and patience. Some dogs take to training rather quickly and learn what they need to do almost over night. Others, however, require quite a bit more coaxing. To help you along the way, it’s important to remember that crate training isn’t a race. If you want your dog to feel loved and secure while ensuring he or she will make a good companion, patience is an absolute virtue.
Crate training is generally approached as a step-by-step process. The steps recommended include:
Acclimation – During this stage of the game, you simply want to introduce your puppy or dog to his or her new crate. Make sure to put the crate in a part of your home where people frequent to make your goldendoodle more comfortable. A living room or kitchen can work perfectly for crate placement. To introduce your dog to the crate, place some toys, dog treats or even soft towels or bedding inside the crate and just leave the door open. Try to coax your dog to go inside the crate, but don’t force the issue. If you keep putting treats inside, your dog will eventually enter.
Boundary establishment – Your first goal with create training is to help your dog feel like the crate is a comfortable, safe place to be. You want your goldendoodle to make this particular spot a home of sorts. To make this happen, it can help greatly to feed your goldendoodle right outside the crate or directly inside it. Try moving the food dishes further inside over the course of several feedings. Once your golden doodle is willing to go into the crate to eat, close the door, but do open it once he’s done.
Positive reinforcement – Once your goldendoodle is more comfortable with the crate, the next step is to help him feel like the space truly belongs to him. To do this, make sure to give him treats for going in and staying in with the door closed for longer periods of time. Do not reward whining, if at all possible. Also, give him plenty of praise for entering on command. It’s best to work on this over the course of several days or even weeks, giving the right reinforcements every time he behaves as desired. The idea here is to build up his desire to enter the crate and the amount of time he’s willing to spend in it during the day and at night.
Getting it down pat – With the right persistence and reinforcement, your goldendoodle is likely to actually learn to enjoy his crate. Once he can handle a half-hour stretch inside without becoming fearful or anxious, it’s time to move up to crating during longer stints. After a while, you will find that he is right at home during the day and even at night. Just remember to keep reinforcing his good behavior.
Potential Pitfalls You’ll Have To Overcome
Crate training can provide both you and your goldendoodle quite a few benefits, but it isn’t without its potential pitfalls. Some common problems that arise and ways to overcome them include:
- Resistance to enter the crate due to extended periods of crating – It’s important to remember that puppies especially and full grown goldendoodles, as well, are not meant to be crated for long periods at a time. Your puppy probably won’t be able to handle being crated for more than four hours at a time without having an accident. An older dog can generally handle a full workday, but not always. If your goldendoodle is made to stay in his crate longer than the tolerated level, repeat visits might come with resistance. The only real way to overcome this is to exercise diligence on your part to try and avoid repeat extended stay performances.
- Crying and whining – You don’t want to reward this behavior by letting your goldendoodle out, but you also do not want to neglect needs he may have to go outside. Try to ignore the whining – especially at night – initially. If it persists for more than 10 or 20 minutes, let him outside to go. Do put him back in the crate once he’s relieved himself.
- Separation issues – Puppies and older dogs sometimes have issues with being separated from their people. Crate training will help stop your goldendoodle from wreaking havoc on your home when these issues arrive, but it will not stop the anxiety. If problems persist even after your doodle is acclimated well to the crate, you might want to seek help from a professional canine behavioral specialist.
Crate training is not without its potential pitfalls for both you and your goldendoodle. Most issues can be overcome in time, especially if you are persistent and respect your dog’s needs to stretch his legs and go outside to eliminate.
Choosing to crate train a goldendoodle or not is a matter of personal choice. Many owners find that a successfully crate trained dog tends to be more secure and well behaved. With the right amount of patience and persistence, any puppy or dog can be trained to use a crate and even view it as a safety zone.