Before we got Charlie we had read a lot about crate training and decided we would give it a go. I wrote a post about making that decision here. There is a lot of advice about how it is a really great thing, and the best thing to do for toilet training early on, so I thought I’d let you know how we got on.
Charlie’s crate lives in our kitchen. Charlie can also roam around the kitchen and we don’t really worry about him getting anything (unless we leave tea towels, oven gloves etc on the edge… he is a counter surfer!). The floor is also easy to clean, so any messes and it’s easy to clean up.
When reading about crate training, all of the advice seems to be to introduce it slowly, so it becomes a place that they love. We also always feed Charlie in his crate (he is very food motivated and will do anything even for a little kibble!). The first few nights we left the crate door open so Charlie could go in there if he wanted to, but we didn’t want to close him in at first as we didn’t want him to dislike the crate. I’ve no idea if this was the right thing to do! Every morning we would come downstairs to wee and poop to clean up. After about a week we decided it was maybe the right time to start closing the door on the crate. I really couldn’t tell you if “introducing it slowly” means over a few hours or days! I’ve heard a lot of people who have always shut the crate door from the first night. Charlie has never had an accident inside his crate, so it did work in this respect.
We built up a nightly routine. We’d save a little of his kibble from his daily allowance and it would be his bed time treat. This would get him straight into his crate, so in he would pop when we were going to bed, he’d have his kibble in the crate and we’d close the door and turn off the light with no fuss. He hasn’t ever cried at bedtime in his crate so he knows this routine means it’s time for bed and we will be back in the morning.
Now we don’t want to have to close him in his crate forever. We started with it to nail the toilet training and have had this routine going since then, but when do you have to stop closing the crate?! We had no idea! Do you do this for a few weeks? Or months? So we thought we’d give it a go, leaving the crate door open through the night time so he could sleep in there, but if he fancied a midnight wander around the kitchen he could. We started this on Saturday night, so now we’ve been 5 nights without closing the door, and we’ve had no accidents. This may be what every other dog does, but I’m pleased! Toilet training took a long time with Charlie and I still take him outside every couple of hours through the day, so him holding it all night feels like an achievement.
What do you think about crate training? Have you done it and when did you stop closing the door? I’d love to know your thoughts.
Also here’s some recent pictures if you’re just here for those!