There are many benefits to crate training a golden retriever, however when talking about crating, people often react with the notion of locking up a dog against his will, having him whining for hours until he eventually gives up and stops. Although inexperienced or misinformed dog owners often make this mistake, it should not reflect the purpose and benefits originally envisioned in dog crating.
Dogs will instinctively search for a small and safe place to burrow into that will keep them safe and warm, crate training exists to respond to this particular need. Crate training is mostly about teaching your dog to become used to his crate, to consider the crate his own private space where he can sleep and be at ease.
The Benefits of Crate Training a Golden Retriever
Crating your dog has many benefits, a trained dog will retreat to his crate whenever he is tired and just want to sleep or relax a little, furthermore it becomes a place where you can leave your dog and go about your day, knowing he is in a place where he is safe and well. Besides these key advantages it is also helpful in thwarting unwanted chewing, in keeping your dog quiet following veterinarian intervention, and during travel.
Golden retrievers often do well in their crate if trained since puppy hood, however remember that while crate training your puppy he still needs a lot of human contact, it is key in forming a relationship, positive social behaviors and reducing the changes of aggressive behavior in the future.
How to Start Crate Training a Golden Retriever
Crate training a full grown golden retriever can be quite difficult and the dog will have a hard time adjusting to this new space where he will become confined. Because of this crate training is best accomplished, both for the dog and owner during puppy hood, a puppy might become upset but it adapts much easier and faster.
Before bringing your new golden retriever puppy home, it is best to already have a crate for him, have it placed in the kitchen or living room, located in a area where family members spend most time, and if possible close to a door leading outside where the puppy can go out and relieve himself.
The best way to introduce your puppy to his crate and start crate training a golden retriever is by letting your puppy explore the house, and have a few dog biscuits inside, remember to leave the door open so he can go in and out whenever he desires. In the meanwhile praise your puppy with a happy and quiet voice for going in and out of the crate, golden retrievers love to be praised.
After your puppy has entered and exited a few times, place a new toy inside the crate and lure him in and close the door for a few minutes and see how he reacts. If the puppy begins whining you should talk to him, put your fingers through the door and touch him, but do not let him out until he stops whining and settles. After that open the door and give lots of praise and a treat.
A golden retriever puppy about ten weeks of age shouldn’t be longer than three hours inside his crate, once he’s about fourteen to sixteen weeks, fours hours are a general rule of thumb, however regardless of what age your dog has, don’t have him confined to his crate for longer than six hours, and be reminded that your dog will need to relieve himself once in a while. If it happens that you require him to be on his crate for extended periods of time, it is advisable having someone to regularly keep an eye on your dog, and leave him out for a while and play with him. Extended periods of enclosure often lead to anxiety issues among golden retrievers and most fairly active breeds like them.
If you find your puppy is having trouble adapting to his crate, or you wish your puppy to adapt much easier, then when its time to sleep move his crate to your bedroom and let him sleep there with you, however don’t worry, this is only temporary while your pup is getting used to the idea, after one or two months he should be able to have him sleep alone on his crate. This change shouldn’t be implemented overnight, instead incrementally increase the number of times your pup sleeps on his crate out of your bedroom, if he adapts well and doesn’t stay whining during the night, good, this means he is becoming more used to sleeping alone and comfortable with his crate, therefore you can increase the number of times he sleeps alone, until the point he no longer sleeps on your bedroom.
When you place your puppy in his crate for sleep, make sure he has a clean and comfortable place to sleep, fresh water and a toy to play with case he wakes up middle of the night. As general rule of thumb, the crate should only have enough room for your dog to sleep inside and turn around, if it is a bit larger than required, he might make a mess of it and will be more inclined to play than sleep, a comfortable crate only with enough room for him to sleep and turn around when wanted, plus a bowl of water he can reach easily and hard to spill.
When crate training a golden retriever, you or him are bound to become upset at some point, when this happens, whatever you do, don’t pull him out of his crate, this will confuse the dog into thinking he has done the right thing, because most of all what any dog wants is to play, be free and safe, by satisfying this need right after doing something wrong, the dog will instead think what has done was the right thing and will keep on doing it.
If you’re able to crate train your dog correctly, you will be ensuring him doesn’t becomes too reckless, noisy and anxious when you leave him alone in his crate. On the first days, only leave your puppy inside his crate for about an hour, up to two hours at a time if he seems to react positively.