By most accounts, crate training your Labrador puppy is essential for shaping positive behavior. After you learn how to crate train a lab puppy, you will reduce the risk of them chewing your belongings or marking their territory. In addition, crate training is among the easiest ways to potty train a lab puppy.
To help you out, we have created a thorough guide with all the necessary stages, steps, and tips on how to crate train a lab puppy effectively. With a bit of love and patience, your furry friend will learn to see their crate as a warm and welcoming home. Let’s get into the details!
Crate Training Stages
In order to master the ins and outs of how to crate train a lab puppy, you first need to realize that it’s a rather lengthy ordeal that demands dedication. With that fact in mind, we have broken up the process into three separate stages.
Stage 1: Introduce Your Lab Puppy to the Crate
The first stage of Labrador crate training has just one objective: getting your puppy used to the crate. As long as you’ve left the door open, your pupper shouldn’t have a problem being around and near the crate.
To boost the dwelling’s allure, you can drop various treats in its proximity. Afterward, gradually start to place treats inside the crate.
Remember! During the first stage, you should never close the crate’s door. Simply allow your puppy to walk in and out as they please.
If your junior lab has a great playpen, take advantage of it as much as possible. Secure the playpen near the crate so it catches your pup’s attention, increases their interest, and makes them feel more comfortable around it.
Daytime Training Tips
Initially, the main idea behind day crate training is to get your puppy used to the idea of being inside the crate without you around them. Of course, you also have to ensure that the process won’t make them suffer.
To do so, try putting your baby lab inside the crate for 5-10 minutes every 3-4 hours.
Nighttime Training Tricks
During the first few nights of training, encourage your Labrador pup to sleep near the crate. Place the crate near your bed and put the puppy’s bed right next to it.
After a week, try placing both the crate and their bed farther away from your own bed. Depending on the puppy’s progress, you could set it 3-4 feet away or even in another room.
Stage 2: Make Your Labrador Puppy Love their Crate
The next stage in the process of how to crate train a lab puppy is to make them enjoy their new space. A smart and effective way to do so is to place their favorite toys inside it.
Alternatively, you can draw them in with new toys, such as the chew and treat toy from KONG. You can fill them with tasty dog food, freeze them, then drop one in the crate every time you decide to leave your pup in there for more than a few minutes.
Tips for Extending Crate Time
After your puppy has accepted their crate as a nice and harmless place to be, it’s time to get them to embrace it in the long run. The key here is to close the door for smaller periods of time.
First, leave your lab in the crate with the door closed for around 30 seconds. The next time, leave the door closed for one minute. After that, add one minute to each closed door session until you can leave them their own in the crate.
Tricks for Combatting Resistance
If your pup immediately starts crying when you leave them in your crate, you need to turn away and ignore them. No matter how much it might break your heart, acknowledging their whimpering would do more harm than good.
Wait until they’ve stopped crying for a few seconds before letting them out.
Stage 3: Dive into Advanced Crate Training
The final stage in learning how to crate train a lab puppy is to get your small canine friend to remain calmly inside the crate on their own.
To help your pup transform the trained behavior into a habit, guide them in the following steps:
- Approaching. With the crate’s door open, use treats and loving words to get your puppy to willingly approach the crate. Repeat the strategy every time they walk away from the crate (20-30 times).
- Preparing. Use treats to get them to put their nose or paws through the door of the crate. Every time they reach inside to get the treat, make them walk away and repeat the exercise (5-10 times).
- Entering. Encourage your pup to enter the crate voluntarily using treats again. Go through everything you did for the previous two steps, but, this time, place the treat well inside the crate.
- Staying. Once your puppy is inside, offer them another treat and wait a few seconds before giving them the next one. If they step out before the time lapses, don’t give them the treat.
- Closing. Repeat the last exercise until they no longer try to step outside. Once they can stay in for longer than a couple of minutes, close the door.
All Ready Now?
Learning how to crate train a lab puppy can be beneficial for the whole family. Not only will your baby Labrador be safer, but you will be able to prevent many future headaches too. By following the stages and steps in our guide, you should be able to crate train your lab easily and with minimal problems.
Have you tried any other methods for crate training Labrador puppies? Do share them with us in the comments section, as well as any other tips and tricks you may have!