Important note: Please remember that a crate is not a suitable place to keep a dog for long periods of time.
Not all puppies make a lot of fuss when left put in a crate, but many do This is quite natural and understandable when you consider that he has just been separated from his mother and littermates for the very first time.
When you bring your puppy home he may well not wish to be separated from you. His instincts tell him to keep close to his new pack ( you and your family ) a lost puppy in the wild is in serious danger. To enable a mother dog to find him, the lost pup has a powerful alarm call. If you haven’t had a puppy before you may be shocked by the power of the noise coming from this little scrap of fur when you put him in his crate and leave the room. The alarm call is triggered by isolation. What begins as whining and whimpering quickly gives way to howling and then screaming. The puppy may then become increasingly distressed at which point the worried owner usually lets him out and cuddles him. He has just learned his first lesson – scream loud enough and someone will open the crate and let me out.
You can reduce the chances of the howling ever starting by teaching the puppy to wait quietly in his crate whilst you are in the room. Have the crate in a room where there are people – the kitchen is often ideal, or in the evenings the living room. To begin with even with you in the room the pup may fuss a bit. You can easily train him not to do this and this is how:
For the first few days the puppy is home during the daytime, do the following as many times as you can each day ( 20 or more times is good )
Put him into his crate for just 2 seconds with a tiny piece of his food, ( literally shut the door count 1 thousand 2 thousand and if he is totally quiet let him immediately out again ), when you get him out, praise and cuddle him. Wait at least five or ten minutes and repeat. This is the important part: If he starts whining before you can open the door then leave him in there until he stops. This could take another 2 seconds or it could take an hour or more. You have no control over how long you have to wait, but you must not release him until he is quiet – no matter how hard he cries. You don’t have to leave him on his own, you can remain in the room with him if you wish – but do not talk to him or pay him any attention at all. If you had to let the pup cry, then next time you put him in the crate make it one second, instead of two.
What you are doing here is trying to find a baseline. A period of time that the puppy is comfortable to be left in the crate. As soon as you have had ten repetitions of the puppy staying in the crate for 2 seconds without crying, you can increase the time to 3 seconds. When this is successful go to 5 seconds. And so on. Build up gradually until the puppy simply settles down and goes to sleep when his is crated. How long this takes depends very much on the temperament of your puppy. Some puppies are very laid back, and will be happy to be crated by the end of their first day in their new home – others are not so relaxed and may fret each time they are shut in for a day or two. Provided you make sure that the pup remains in the crate until he is silent, each period of fretting will be shorter than the last.
This technique works every single time, but and this is a big BUT, it will only work if every member of the family understands and obeys this rule: Make a family rule to never ever let the puppy out of the crate whilst it is making a noise. It only takes one person to release him when he is whining to set you back days. Stick to the rule and within a very short space of time you will have a dog who simply lies down and goes to sleep every time he is placed in his crate.
Your puppy may still howl for the first few times that he is left alone at night, but provided he has not got into the ‘habit’ of shouting and yelling during the day, he will soon give up, he will quickly learn to be content with his solitude and to sleep in your absence. This period of yelling at night rarely lasts more than a week, and often lasts just one or two nights if handled in this way.