Early Socialization Project - Concepts

Crate Training

This training helps each pup accept being alone. As with all training crate acceptance is a progression. The handler will support each pup to help build their ability to remain calm in a crate. Ideally the handler can be disengaged and eventually the crate tower can be placed out of site.

As learning progresses through repetition, the pup associates the crate with a positive place to be highlighted with food filled toy and getting out when quiet. At the end of the session, the door is opened when pup is quiet. DON’T PRAISE or make a big deal FOR LEAVING CRATE, the skill we are building is *loving your crate*.

Key Points:

  • pup is happy, relaxed and accepts being alone and confined
  • support lessens as pup demonstrates the ability to settle
  • handler moves away only when pup is comfortable
  • keep a watchful eye on pup and his body language. 
  • Pup’s movements should be slow, relaxed, quiet (ei: tail and breathing slow, sits on own, lays down). 
  • Watch for pup stress signals (ei: fast tail movements, rapidly pacing, climbing and or pawing crate,    ears pin back, panting, whining, crying and or barking just to name a few). 
  • *If pup is showing signs of stress handler is progressing too rapidly; support the pup. Do not abandon a stressed pup, you are there to help pup learn to self-settle.

Giving support can look like: 

Move crate tower to a quiet space, speak quietly to pup, Touch pup’s muzzle through the crate, drop kibble when pup is quiet, place a plush toy in crate, place a hard toy in crate.

Age SessionPaired or SoloDurationCrate Conditions
3-6 weeksWhen pups are in penAll pups24/7Passive crating (no door) in 200 vari kennel. Fleece in bottom. Mom in pen but outside of crate. 
3-6During CleaningAll pups60 minActive crating (door closed) in 500 vari kennel. Fleece in bottom. Add stuffed milkers at 4 weeks.
4 weeks, 2 days1Paired3minIn 500 vari kennel with stuffed milkers. Sprinkle kibble for struggling pups. 
4 weeks, 4 days25min
4 weeks, 6 days35min
5 weeks, 1 day4Paired5 minWire crates with suffed toy and towel on bottom. Stuffed milkers. Sprinkle kibble for struggling pups. 
5 weeks, 3 days510min
5 weeks, 5 days6Solo10min
6 weeks715min
7weeks 8Solo20min
8 weeks  30min 

*The times listed are suggested times only. It might vary from pup to pup and litter to litter.       

Our goal is to expose puppies to the crate in a positive way!

200 vari kennel with fleece in bottom

400-500 vari kennel with fleece in bottom.

Wire crate with towel and stuffed toy.