Crate training is a relatively slow process, doing it in a weekend could backfire.
If you have the slightest idea about how crate training works; then you know that it is a behavior change program that makes your dog comfortable in his crate.
Any acquired behavior or change in the daily routine can be relatively slow. You sure can use some tips and methods to make things go smoother. However, it is not something you can do over a weekend.
One of the most recurrent do not’s we keep pointing out is not to rush your dog in his training. Especially that this could result in opposite results and make the crate training take much longer.
Nonetheless, I personally believe that if you are a working dog owner the weekend is the best time to start crate training so you can make some good progress.
You really should not expect to finish your dog crate training in a weekend. Or else you will put too much pressure on your dog.
How do you crate train a puppy in a weekend?
Right now, I have had a busy week and we have just got a new husky puppy home; and to be honest I usually start crate training as soon as I get the new dog home. But this time I am trying the crate training over the weekend to see how it goes.
I am actually writing this article over the weekend as well and updating it as I am going through training documenting my results and sharing my ideas in real-time.
To clarify things I am not going to crate train the puppy for the weekend and that’s it. As I mentioned earlier this can’t be done and it is a bad idea. What I am actually doing is dedicating the weekend to the puppy doing some good progress and see if this goes faster than just starting on the same day I get the dog.
So Friday afternoon I started the crate introduction around 18h00 I used the leash on the puppy. I think I got lucky this puppy is very curious so he just started checking out the crate and got there on his own.
I removed the leash and started using the training treats to lure him in. It is going smoothly and I am really happy with the progress.
I did about 30 minutes of introduction to the crate and went for some exercising not much a 10 minutes session. I want to mention that I secure the crate’s door while he is exploring to avoid any sudden incidents where he gets stuck and start to show fear.
The introduction part went really well I believe the two doors wire crate is what makes it easier. There is too much open space for the dog to feel free and not confined. This is the crate I use if you are interested.
I fed my new puppy in the crate kept both doors open and secured them with the leash. You don’t want to miss on that it could be a real pain if the dog shots the door by accident and then freaks out about it.
I stopped water two hours before bedtime and I did a playing session with a toy in the crate and around it. Not too long the puppy is still too young to handle it.
I took him out to eliminate and now it’s bedtime. And surprise he didn’t show any resistance and actually fell asleep. Exercise is really key to reducing the dog’s energy. People often ask should I crate my dog at night well absolutely.
I thought I should mention it I had to wake up twice to let the puppy eliminate which is something to expect with young puppies. I had the crate just by my bed to reassure the puppy that I am here and to actually hear him when he wakes up.
The night potty went well it was all about potting kept it simple, did nothing else and he just went to sleep. The second time there was some whining but not for long about 2 minutes which I ignored.
I woke up early took the bad boy to eliminate and went for some exercise. He enjoyed it was very playful and served food in the crate this time I closed the door.
While eating there were no complaints, however, as soon as he was done he just wouldn’t stop barking so I talked to him in the crate and when he stopped I gave some treats and let him out.
We did a playing session and when he was really into the toy I lured him to the crate and kept removing it when he takes it and leaves the crate.
I am very happy with the progress so far he literally got into the crate to get the toy which is huge.
I took him for a potting break and let him chill next to the crate. Around 13h00 I fed him in the crate and closed the door.
I ignored the barking after he was finished feeding for about 10 minutes then I made him stop rewarded and let him out. Went for another potty break and he napped on the ground so I left him.
Puppies sleep a lot in the early weeks about 18 hours a day and decreasing until the age of six months when they settle for about 12.
After he woke up we had some playtime again in and around the crate, I went heavy with the treats, to be honest, to speed things out.
You should be careful about how much training treats you can use.
After playtime, he had some alone time to chill which he refused to spend in the crate so I did not force it. I am already seeing great progress sleeping and playing and feeding went great in the crate. So I don’t see any good reason to push it.
I served his last meal again in the crate and I closed the door. Again once done there was some barking this time I ignored it for 15 minutes stopped him and rewarded with treats then let him out.
He spent most of the evening just relaxing around the room not doing much very inactive.
Around 20h30 I took him exercising outside had some funny activities to let him take down that energy. I stopped water and let him eliminate before going to bed.
He was very exhausted he went to bed about 22h00 without any resistance to being in the crate.
Again he woke up twice during the night whining a little I just ignore it did not take too long for him to go back to sleep.
Sunday morning was just like Saturday, so I started early in the morning and we went for a potty break and exercising outdoors.
I fed him in the crate and it went fine but after the meal, he still refuses to stay in the crate. I ignored him again for a few minutes and then stopped him and rewarded with treats and let him out.
He didn’t do much just relaxed for an hour and then we had playtime in the crate with the kong. It kept him distracted for a while but whenever I closed the door he would let the toy go and start whining. So I didn’t want to force it.
You can’t rush your dog into the crate or else he will just reject it. He again just kept chewing on the toy and relaxed there for an hour.
I gave him his second meal always in the meal went as the precedent I kept him there for a while after the meal. Then he actually fell asleep in there so this was a great breakthrough.
Once the dog woke up I took him for a potty break and we had some games in the yard. He likes the outdoors and just keeps on running. I could tell he was exhausted so I took him in for a chilling break he just laid in there.
He wasn’t very active after the outdoor playtime, I did not want to force him into some more activities.
We went for a potting break but I could still see that he was very low on energy so I let him nap a bit for the rest of the afternoon.
I fed him his last meal in the crate and again I didn’t let him out for about 15 minutes after the meal. When crate training constincency is the key.
I did not want the dog to have any other physical activities until the end of the day so he can be tired enough to sleep. Always keep activities for a few minutes before going in the crate.
So again I stopped watering him about two hours before bedtime. I then took him outside and we had some playtime around 21h00.
He did his little business and I took him in the crate for the night. Again he did not show any resistance in the night.
This time he only woke up once during the night, I kept the potting break quick did nothing else. He did not whine in his crate at night which is great for me.
So I sure did not crate train the puppy in a weekend he still refuses to stay in the crate during the day. However, I could say we made great progress.
Going through the night with no crying or whining is sure a great thing that many people struggle with. I believe it’s mostly due to the exercising before going in the crate. It takes out the puppy’s energy and he is more likely to sleep with no complains.
I did not want to push the puppy a lot so he does not hate the crate. I used plenty of treats but did not surpass the 10% ratio. ( you can read this article for more details about how much training treats to use).
So let’s go over the progress I made and see it in clear points.
- Introductions to the crate went really well, I believe I got lucky since my little pup is the curious kind.
- Feeding in the crate also was ok the puppy is concentrated on his meal even when I close the door.
- Playtime in the crate with toys was also great he was interested more in the toy than the crate.
- The nights in the crate were the major progress I am most pleased with. There was no whining and slept through the night even after the potty breaks.
Weekend crate training fails
I would not really call it fails but I had great hopes since the first night went super well. However, I still can’t get the puppy to stay in the crate during the day.
The puppy keeps barking non-stop after his meals. I was increasing the time he spends in the crate with the door closed after the meals.
The chilling time during the day he also refused to spend it in the crate.
So all in all, I can clearly say that I did not crate train my puppy in a weekend. Which is really expected but I am also very happy with the progress we made.
Why you should not crate train in a weekend
I am very used to crate training dogs and have done it many times before. I can say I can do it efficiently and still I couldn’t do it in one weekend.
Making a deadline for crate training a dog is not a good idea. Sure you should have some realistic expectations about how it would take, But this never going to be accurate simply because not all dogs are the same.
Trying to crate train a puppy in a weekend puts too much pressure on your dog and yourself.
If you force your dog to be in the crate you will have opposite results. The goal is to make the dog feel great about his crate. The whole process is a behavioral change and that takes time.
My final verdict is that crate training a puppy in a weekend is just an impossible task. However, you can make very good progress and in fact, I would suggest you start crate training at the weekend.
I personally have a little plan I followed, you can make yours it’s more like a schedule to follow.
Weekend crate training plan
You want to start on Friday afternoon so you can have the dog introduced to his crate before night time. Most dogs won’t just go to sleep peacefully during the night if this is the first time they see a crate.
Introduce your dog early on to the crate and I would strongly suggest you get the crate with two doors. The wire one is great as it offers great open space so the dog feels safe getting in it. This is the one I recommend.
Also, use plenty of dog treats and only reward when the dog is in the crate. When your dog is feeling safe around the crate serve his last meal in the crate. Then you can use a toy in the crate to keep him inside as much as possible.
This is key, make the dog exercise plenty before bedtime to reduce his energy and stop giving water two hours before. When the dog is tired lure him in the crate and put a chew toy in there until he sleeps.
When you take him out at night for potting don’t play or take long once he’s done go back in if he starts whining ignore him.
On Saturday you want to have activities around the crate as much as possible. Playing in there using treats meals all you can do to keep the dog inside but don’t force him.
If you do this enough times you will see progress and the dog will start going in for the treats.
The more time he spends in the crate and not just time but quality time games food and treats the more he feels comfortable in it.
Sunday is the same thing as you did on Saturday keep the dog in the crate as much as you can and every time you want him in there have plenty of exercises before.
The most important thing is not to rush your dog to it and give him time to like and get used to his new home.