Crate training your labrador puppy

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Crate training your labrador puppyIf you are not sure whether or not to purchase a crate for your Labrador puppy, the following article may help you decide: The benefits of a dog crate

The main purposes of a crate are to help a puppy with learning to be clean in the home,  and to provide a place of containment when he needs to rest or when you cannot supervise him.

Crate training is a term we use to describe the process of adaption that the puppy goes through in learning to happily accept the crate as his own private den.

Which crate?

There are several different ranges of crate on the market, and what you are looking for is a sturdy wire crate that cannot be destroyed by chewing or scratching.

It is tempting to buy a crate that will fit him when he is fully grown.

But ideally a crate for a puppy should be relatively small or your puppy may decide to use one end as a toilet.

He should be able to stand up without bumping his head and to turn around easily

Your puppy will soon grow out of his little crate and you will need a full sized labrador crate for the rest of his first year of life and possibly beyond.  So it is worth getting a sturdy one.  It is helpful if a crate can be opened from more than one direction, especially with the larger crates.  You never know when you might need to place it in a different position.

Crates have come down in price over the last few years.    This is the type I use for a larger pup:Large 36″ silver strong dog cage by Doghealth ck36    This size is for  the puppy from about four or five months.   You will need to buy a divider for it, or a smaller crate for the first couple of month.  You can get even cheaper ones than these, but they may be rather flimsy.  A few labs, may be large enough when full grown to need the next size up.

Where to put the crate?

The crate should be placed in a room where people pass through or spend a lot of time.  Puppies need company and should not be banished to a back room or isolated for long periods of time.   The kitchen is ideal in most homes.

What to put inside the crate?

It can be difficult with some Labrador puppies to find bedding that they do not destroy.  Vetbed is an ideal crate liner but if your puppy chews it up and swallows bits of it, you may have to think again.   Stuffed beds are usually ripped open and dismantled by Labrador puppies.

You do not need to leave water inside a crate as you will not be leaving the puppy in there for longer than an hour or so,  except at night.  An eight week old puppy will be  fine without water during the night-time hours.

Getting your Labrador puppy used to his crate

Start by placing puppy in his crate frequently and each time you place him in there drop several little edible treats through the roof for him.

Don’t shut the door on him during the day to start with if you can  avoid it.  Just let him come straight out again when he has finished his treats.  This introduces the crate as a fun and enjoyable place to be.

Each time you pop the puppy into the crate say “in your crate” in a cheerful and upbeat way.   He will soon come to associate this phrase with going into his crate for a treat

Closing the door

The next step is to close the crate door momentarily and then open it again.   Leave it shut only long enough for the puppy to finish his treat and notice that the door is closed.  Then let him out.  Do not wait until he gets upset or cries.

Repeat many times during the course of the next day or two.

Whilst he is homesick

During the night,  for the first two or three nights,  it may be helpful if you can have the puppy sleep in a sturdy deep sided cardboard box by your bed.    If he is left alone at night whilst he is still homesick  he is likely to howl,  and howling in his new crate is not a habit we want to establish.

Accepting the closed door

The next task is to get the puppy to accept the closed door for longer periods of time.  This may take a day or two.  The idea is to leave the door closed for a few seconds longer each time you crate the puppy.   But it is very important only to open the door when the puppy has been silent for several seconds.

What if he cries and cries?

If the puppy starts to whimper or howl you will need to turn away from the crate and ignore him.  Busy yourself in the room but don’t look at him and don’t be tempted to open the door.

Wait for the silence as he stops crying and tell him what a good dog he is.  Let him out immediately and go back to much briefer periods of closed door for a while.   Build up again gradually,  but do not be tempted to avoid crating him because it upsets him.   If he whines, you need to crate him more often not less.  Just make sure that each time he is crated is very, very brief to begin with.   That way he will learn that being crated is not a big deal

Warning: if you open the crate door whilst your puppy is howling,  he will howl longer and harder next time!

Longer periods in the crate

Build up slowly to a minute,  then two minutes,  then three, five, seven, ten, fifteen minutes and so on.  Up to a maximum of about an hour during the day.

You will need to make sure that the puppy has had a wee recently,  before being crated, and some playtime.   Try to crate him when you know he is ready for a rest.

A routine of: outside for a wee when he wakes,  followed by play, outside for a wee,  meal, outside again for a wee and a poo,  then into the crate for a treat and a sleep seems to work well for most puppies.  You will soon figure out what works best for you and your family

What about night time?

At this stage most puppies will also be sleeping the night in the crate.   Make sure he has been outdoors to empty himself before you put him to bed, and don’t leave him more than five or six hours to start with.  So if you put him to bed at midnight,  you will probably need to get up around five  am to let him out for a wee to begin with.

If a puppy has fallen asleep in his crate and slept for more than a couple of hours then you will need to let him out  if he wakes up crying.

If all goes well, you can stretch this five hours out by 15 minutes or so a night until you are getting  seven hours sleep.  If he wets the bed you will need to get up earlier the next night.   I wouldn’t leave a puppy more than seven hours at night until he is around ten weeks old.    And a few puppies will be 12 to 14 weeks before they can cope this long

This can be a tough time,  with some inevitable sleep deprivation,  but it passes quite quickly.

If you found this article helpful you might like to read:  House training a puppy

More information

If you enjoy Pippa’s puppy articles, you will love her new book: The Happy Puppy Handbook – a definitive guide to early puppy care and training.

 

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Pippa Mattinson

The Labrador Site is brought to you by Pippa Mattinson. Pippa's latest book The Happy Puppy Handbook is a definitive guide to early puppy care and training

by Pippa on March 10, 2012

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Anjela September 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

How does this crate training work with dog which will go outside in a kennel during the day. My last lab was a surprise present from my then boyfriend (now husband) and I was working full time so he practically went it his kennel from the start as crates were unheard of then. We are hoping to get a new puppy soon(nelson the surprise died recently aged 13) and should I bother with crate training or concentrate on getting it used to its kennel.

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Danielle October 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Does the process change as they get older, we got our pup at 12 weeks and the last few nights have lead us to give this a try.

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Pippa October 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

Hi Danielle, at twelve weeks your puppy may be able to last a bit longer at night than a new puppy, but it is best to err on the side of caution and not leave him too long to begin with. Pippa

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roze allan November 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Hi this may sound silly but I’m getting a puppy (hasn’t been born yet)and I already have 2 cats so therefore a litter tray that the cats don’t use any-more; could I train pup to use this to start with?

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Pippa November 5, 2012 at 8:29 am

Hi Roze, you could train your puppy to use a litter tray but then you would have to train him all over again to go outside so I wouldn’t recommend it. It is quicker and easier in the long run to teach the puppy to toilet outside from the very beginning. Good luck with your puppy. :) Pippa

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Jessica Clarke January 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hi,
I have a 13 weeek puppy and he has never (yet) weed or soiled in his crate over night. A few days ago we decided to take his crate away and leave him in a bed over night, rather than his crate. However now when we come down in the morning there is wee and poo everywhere! I don’t understand why this has happened? Is this usual if and when you take a dogs crate away? Have we taken the crate away too early? When do you think it is acceptable to take your puppy/dog out of his crate over night?
Jesse

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Pippa January 11, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi Jesse, your puppy is far too young to be de-crated. Keep him in a crate at night until he has been clean and dry in the house for at least three months during the day, and until he has stopped chewing the furniture. Many Labradors can be de-crated at around a year old. Some keen chewers need to be crated for a few months longer. Pippa

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John February 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm

We will be collecting our lab puppy in six weeks when he is eight weeks old.
Whar size crate would you suggest to start with?
John

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Duncan March 17, 2013 at 8:18 am

Day 3 of having our 8 week old lab ‘Nell’ and we tried to follow our vet’s guidance of getting her in the crate at night time as early as possible. So last night she went in well and settled for 2 hours, then howled and cried for 2 hours. We felt she was becoming distressed and went to her without fuss. A quick outside trip at 3am, then back in the crate but as soon as I left, the howling began again. I waited for a quiet few seconds and went back again without fuss. We both then slept in the lounge till 7am, and she didn’t yelp or move. What should we try tonight? Help!

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Pippa March 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Hi there,
Your puppy is crying for a couple of reasons.
1. He is crying because he is scared. He does not feel at home yet, his own home is far away. It will take a few days for him to accept your home as his own.
2. He is also crying because he is lonely, missing his brothers and sisters
The combination of these two factors is just too much for some puppies and they get very upset. There is also a risk that they will get into a habit of crying.
So, many people keep a crate by their bed for the first few nights until the puppy feels more at home. This takes up to a week. You can then move his crate downstairs into the kitchen, where he may still cry a bit, because he will be lonely. But he will get over it more quickly because he feels ‘at home’.
The alternative is to leave the puppy alone and just let him cry it out. Some puppies are soothed by a radio or a ticking clock, and/or a stone hot water bottle. But for many puppies, some degree of crying is inevitable I’m afraid. If you reward the crying with attention, he is likely to keep it up so you need to decide your strategy and stick to it.

Pippa

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Alan March 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm

We are collecting our chocolate lab next weekend. I am confused as to what size crate to get him. I think you are suggesting 36″ unless the lab is very large? We were advised by the breeder to get a 36″ but have got confused by other web sites suggesting 42″. Can you confirm which size would you go with? Many thanks

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Pippa March 30, 2013 at 10:29 am

Hi Alan,
Some adult labs will need a larger crate, the breeder knows her own dogs and their likely final size, so I would go on her advice. You will a divider to begin with, or to borrow a puppy crate for the first few weeks, as the big one will be too large initially. I have amended the article to make this clearer.
Pippa

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Vicky stanyer May 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Hi

We are thinking if getting a lab puppy, a male. I am currently pregnant and am not sure this is a good idea, however I will have 10 weeks off with the pup before the baby is due, I have a toddler who us lively with Animals. I think it would be great to raise a baby and lab together. Do you have any advice. We have family near by and it’s mum is up the road so plenty if people to help out when I do go into labour? From Vicky

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Pippa May 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Hi Vicky, I think you will find people to support the arguments both for and against having a baby at the same time as a puppy.
This is a purely personal view. But I would say ‘don’t do it’. :)

Incidentally, I have raised four children on my own, and currently have four grandchildren under the age of five. Two are babies under three months old.

I think I can say with absolute certainty that my daughters are very happy that they don’t have a puppy to think about right now. It is kind of hard to remember just how tiring a small baby is, and how hard it is to focus on anything else once the baby arrives. Especially as you have a toddler too.

Perhaps your hardest challenge will be coping with a toddler and a puppy. A toddler cannot be left alone with a puppy at all, the constant supervision and/or separation will be wearing. And puppies are demanding little creatures, your puppy may not be fully house-trained before the baby arrives, and he will be needing a lot of training and attention at around the time your baby is due.

If you decide to go ahead, and you have not had a puppy before, do read everything you can lay your hands on so that you will be prepared.
And I wish you lots of luck
Pippa

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Alison May 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

Hi, We just recently picked up our Chocolate Labrador puppy who is now 7 weeks and 4 days old. Tonight will be her 4th night and we have not had ANY success with crate training. No matter how much we get her accustomed to her crate with the door open, as soon as the door closes she starts whining/yelping and will not stop! My family and I all leave the house in the morning for work but we haven’t left her for longer than two hours during the day. At night, she doesn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time and when she’s not sleeping she’s yelping. Any suggestions?

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Pippa May 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Hi Alison,
Four days is a very short time and many puppies will not have settled in to their new homes at this point. Her crate is still not somewhere that she feels at home. You may find that she settles better at night by putting her crate in your bedroom for a few nights, this will give her chance to get used to the smells and sounds of her new home, and to feel safe when she is left alone.
This article looks at coping with a crying puppy. You can also teach your puppy not to make a noise in the crate during the day using a clicker. This article explains how.
I also recommend you join the forums for help and support from other Labrador owners.
Best wishes
Pippa

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ojas June 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

perfect website

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Allison June 13, 2013 at 11:55 am

I have a 5 month old puppy who is fine in the crate, once I get him into it – thats the challenge. He doesn’t howl or cry or scratch.
Initially I put treats in there and some toys and he was excited went in and out and played in the crate. Lately whenever I get ready to leave, he runs away and thinks its a game. I have to physically pick him up and put him in the crate. I do give him a treat afterwards – i try to make it as positive as possible. (He’s in it for no more than 3 hours at any time)
Any suggestions on how to break this running away habit?

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Pippa June 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Hi Allison,

There is an article about this problem coming up on Sunday. I’ll post the link here when it is up

Pippa

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Skevi June 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Hi Pippa,

We are going to have our lab puppy in a few weeks time, and I would like to know if a 30″ dog cage would be big enough for an 8 weeks old puppy.

Congratulations on your site!
Skevi

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Pippa June 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

There is a link and info on sizes in the article Skevi.

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Lisa Dale June 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Hi we have brought a 11 week old black lab we have had zack for a week and he is doing all his business outside. Zack sleeps in his cage on a night from 10.30pm till 6am no problems what so every we ,get up and let him out straight away .Zack does go in his cage during the day when we are at home he likes to sleep in there when wakes up we let him straight out and then he has a play then back to his cage for sleep again .Zack has just had his first injection and mircohip placed and been wormed and flead but when we leave him to go to work for 3hrs 30 mins first couple of times no accident in his cage but the last couple of days he has poo in his cage we let him out before we go and he does all his business I just don’t understand why he has done this any tips to help

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Pippa June 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Hi Lisa, could be a couple of reasons. It may be that the first couple of days when he was clean were a fluke, and that he is not yet sufficiently mature to control himself to this degree.

Or it could be that he is becoming distressed whilst you are out. Puppies will often evacuate their bowels when they are upset. This is involuntary, and not something they can control. Either way, it is a quite a long time to crate a small puppy during the day. You may need to get someone to come and let him out after an hour or two, or leave with someone else whilst you are at work, until he is more mature.

Pippa

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Lisa Dale June 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Thank you very much for your help I will try that

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Kevin June 30, 2013 at 2:18 am

Hi, we just picked up Milo, an 8 week old chocolate lab. He is getting used to his crate but I’m a bit confused on one point.
I know we shouldn’t remove a whining puppy from the crate. But how do we know if the whining is just confinement (to be ignored until he’s quiet) or if he needs to relieve himself?
Thanks

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Pippa June 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Hi Kevin, you won’t know, which is why you should give him many opportunities to relieve himself during the day. If you think he may have a full bladder and you want to let him out, wait for a pause in the whining and mark the moment of silence with a clicker or a word that you use consistently for this purpose. Then let him out as his reward.
Pippa

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Frankie July 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Hiya, I am about to have my first night with 8 week old Murphy and will hopefully be leaving him in his crate in the kitchen. I am intending on coming down in the night to let him out to the loo, but I was wondering whether to wake him up if I come down and he’s asleep or leave him?
Thanks in advance

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Pippa July 14, 2013 at 9:22 am

Hi Frankie, wake the puppy the first night. If you don’t he’ll probably wake you anyway an hour or so later. Wake him a little later each night until he can last through the night. Pippa

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Frankie July 16, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thanks Pippa, last night (night 3 of having him) I actually got the chance to wake him up rather than the other way around! But he has got into the habit of waking up almost exactly an hour after we’ve put him in his crate and settled him, and he cries and howls but when I let him out he doesn’t go to the loo. Should we just ignore him at this time and then go down an hour or so later (when he’s hopefully stopped crying) and wake him up to go to the loo? He’s quite a vocal puppy so I am trying so hard not to reinforce his noises!
Thanks

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Kate July 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hi, I have a 13 month old lab who is on his third (and finally forever) home with my family. He’s perfect in every way, except he falls to pieces when left home alone. He’s been with us 3 weeks now and has been left 3 times for very short amounts of time (the longest 40 minutes). He drew blood trying to get out of the cat flap and I worry that I’ll either end up with huge vets bills or a builders bill! So my question is, can I use the same methods to crate train him as I would a puppy? I need to overcome this for his own safety. Thanks in advance.

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Em July 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Hi, I’m going to be looking after a 2 year old golden Labrador for a couple of weeks while his owner is on holiday. Last year he had to be in a crate as he chewed everything. He literally destroyed our garden and a lot of personal belongings. He is in a crate at his home but I’ve got reservations about putting an adult dog into a cage. He has calmed down but still chews. Can someone please advise me whether its normal to put a dog this age into a crate? He jumps up at people and I will basically have to walk him all day. I don’t have a dog myself and I never have. Any tips you could give me would be great. I’m on holiday at work so can be there all the time but don’t want to be spending the little time I have off being as stressed as I was last year :-)

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Pippa July 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm

What a hero you are to give up your holiday to care for someone else’s dog! At 2 years old, this dog is probably only crated at night, and for short periods during the day if the owners go out without him. If this is what he is used to, then it shouldn’t worry him. Get the owners to give you a written list of his normal routine and try to stick to it. That way he will feel secure and is less likely to get upset if you leave him for a while.

There are articles on jumping up, chewing etc in the behaviour section, and you might find those helpful. If you take him for a walk at the beginning of the day, and early in the evening, he will hopefully relax for a few hours afterwards.

Some dogs do continue to chew up until around their second birthday, but I suspect you will find him a whole lot easier this time around.

Good luck!
Pippa

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Em July 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Hi Pippa, thanks for that. He’s a lovely dog. I’m sure we’ll have a great couple of weeks :-)

Em

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marija July 25, 2013 at 12:11 am

Hello. I have black labrador 8 weeks old !!!
to many of people what i know saying black labrador its not original breed ,when im saying its black there a just loughing what i dont realy understand why!!!

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marija July 25, 2013 at 12:14 am

And can u please tell me how i can training her ,she is very clever girl she just 8 weeks and she knows already command sit,and No. Just in 2 days she learn that . I can train her like basic comand like sit ,down but i dont know how to train her to walk on the lead and some like to not eat wall cos she doing this all the time

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Pippa July 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Hi Marija, the training information is here Pippa

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Angie August 13, 2013 at 7:08 am

Hi Pippa,
I have a 9 week old lab Milly! She is very lovely and typical. She has been with us for 6 days. We crated her during the night from the start and she has been great! She wakes at 5 am and everything has been fine until last night she cried and cried. As you can imagine after a half hour or so we began to think something was wrong or maybe she needed the toilet so my husband came down and took her down the garden. She just stood wagging her tail! Needless to say we had a very unsettled night and I finally got up and let her out at a very early 4:30 am. Why would this have happened all of a sudden after she was doing so well? Any advice or suggestions would be so appreciated.
Kindly,
Angie

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Pippa August 13, 2013 at 10:57 am

Hi Angie, check out Night Waking. It is written with older puppies in mind, but might help. Also bear in mind that six days is not very long in the grand scheme of things :) she is still very much a baby. If it happens again, try and pre-empt it by getting her up before she starts to cry, then gradually stretching the nights out again.

Pippa

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christopher August 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Hey there,

we bought ben last thursday @ 8weeks old. I fully intend to crate him as
myself and girlfriend work. We where not prepared and hadnt bought
a crate so it has taken just under a week for the crate to arrive, ben
has been sleeping in a small dog bed given to me by my mother. I’m wondering if he will reject the crate for the small bed? i plan to throw the dog bed away or keep it locked in my shed, should i just persevere with crate introduction do you think there will be problems?

overall we feel lucky with ben as he hasnt howeled at night or cried really, only really made noise around 3 in the morning to let him out for a wee etc…just over 8 weeks he runs out to the back garden and does his business now. couple off acciedents in the house (living room rug) right enough but nothing major (touches wood) he can be a little too bitey and playful but we try to replace our clothes and things he shouldnt be biting with HIS toys..if we get bitten to hard i rattle a bottle filled with stones at him then ignore him for 5/10 mins…

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Natalie James August 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Hi,

We brought home Charlie, our Black Lab, at 8 weeks. We already had a crate before bringing him home but with neither of us having had a pup before it would be an understatement to say we were novices! He cried as soon as the crate door was closed so we (stupidly) gave in and bought a pet pen, which is attached to his crate securely with cable ties (which he cannot access to chew). He has since slept in the pen and uses the crate to wee on a puppy pad through the night and in case he needs to while we are out for a couple of hours through the day. When we are home he always goes to the back door when he needs to go outside. He is now 16 weeks and still wees and often poos on his puppy pad through the night, despite us waking him to take him outside before we go to bed at about 11pm. He is normally asleep from around 8pm. The only problem we have is that he doesn’t make any noise to indicate he needs to go outside through the night, therefore we cannot take him to his spot in the garden. He generally sleeps until about 8am unless he hears somebody moving around upstairs first.

Also, when we leave him through the day (for up to 5 hours but not every day) he has access to his puppy pad, plenty of chew toys etc. He has started to destroy his puppy pad and we often come home to find it in many tiny pieces which need to be swept up, but also means that he has left nowhere appropriate to do his business if needed.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Natalie

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Pippa August 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

Hi Natalie, many puppies make no noise when they need to go out, I recommend you set an alarm for four hours after bed time. If the puppy is clean and dry then you can set the alarm a little later the next night. If he has messed, then set the alarm earlier the next night. As soon as you have found a time frame he can cope with, get rid of the puppy pads and block access to anywhere he has used as a toilet. Then it is just a question of stretching out the time he can last for which is partly a question of bladder maturity, and partly a question of building a new habit.
Good luck
Pippa

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Natalie James August 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Thanks,

Charlie had his first dry night last night, it must be fate! Any suggestions about him destroying his pads through the day? He is alone from 8-12 and 13-16.30 in his pen.

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Lucy evans August 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

We have an 8 week old puppy who we brought home on Saturday. I think we have a truly blessed pup. She came home and we played and made a little fuss but put her into her crate for about half an hr to introduce it. She loved it :). That night she slept solid from 11-6. The next night again :) I put her into the crate if I want to wash up or have a shower. She has a bed in there and a little water bowl of a night. She hasn’t wet or pooed in there and is into the habit of going outside.
We are very lucky I know but she has been in her crate for 3 hrs max so far and no mess :)

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Pippa August 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

You are very lucky :) and congratulations on your lovely new puppy. Pippa

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julie mushet August 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Dear piper, i have a labrador puppy he is 18 weeks old this week,i started to take he to training classes but he was an embarrassment even the trainer couldn’t do anything with him we were trying to get him to lie down but he wouldn’t now i try this at home all the time but its as if doesn`t understand and if he does lie down he goes down side ways does this mean there is a problem with his back? he is very good at every thing else hope you can put my mind at rest , kind regards julie.

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Jenna September 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm

You need to continue working with him. He cannot be expected to learn things right away, the trainer should be able to continue working with you on this and let you know that he is a puppy and will require patience.

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Megan September 5, 2013 at 2:48 am

Hi,
I just adopted a 14 week old lab puppy named Lincoln and will be receiving him this Saturday. If it takes a few days to crate train, where should I put him to sleep the first few nights? I doubt a deep cardboard box would hold a 14 week old, would it? Should I just put his bed in my room and hope he sleeps in it, or should he sleep in my bed with me?
Thanks,
Megan

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Pippa September 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hi Megan, click on the link to housetraining your puppy in the article above. You can also find this through the Puppies menu at the top of this page.
Pippa

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Megan September 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thank you Pippa. I read the article, but it still doesn’t answer my question as to where the puppy will sleep on the first night at my home. I can’t expect him to be comfortable in the crate the first day, can I? Won’t it take a few days until I can put him in it for that long? I’m also concerned because he is an older puppy and may not take to it as easily as an 8 week old, which seems to be the target age of most of the articles. I’m sure he’s ever even been in a crate, as he is a rescue dog and removed from a shelter at a young age and fostered with his litter mates. Thanks

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sue October 21, 2013 at 8:26 am

We have had our 6 month old chocolate lab for 3 weeks now and she has been really good in her crate of a night time sand occasionally through the day. The crate we are using has been divided so minimal space, I was wondering if we gave her the whole crate so a bit more room, would it be a step backwards? I don’t want her to foul in there but want to give her more space. Thanks

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Sylvia Zareva November 25, 2013 at 7:55 am

Dear Pippa,

Thank you so much for the great articles; they are our main guide as we learn to live with a labrador puppy.

We brought Chicha home two days ago, at just over 8 weeks old, and so far she is proving to be a very mild-tempered little girl. She is showing almost no signs of separation anxiety and we want to do the “right things” to make sure she stays a happy, composed dog.

We live in an apartment and are committed to crate-training, and it’s lucky she seems to like her crate so far. She takes all her naps there during the day. She doesn’t seem to mind being crated at night either, but she seems to have a super immature bladder and needs to be let out almost every 1 1/2 to 2 hours to wee or do number two. After two draining nights (literally, my husband and I are like zombies and we have a toddler to take care of as well), we are wondering if we shouldn’t give those potty pads a try for a couple of weeks until her bladder control gets better, meaning letting her toilet inside during the night and making sure she doesn’t have any accidents during the day.

My question is: will it be more difficult to crate-train after she’s had free rein of the kitchen at night for so long?

Thank you so much!

Sylvia

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Pippa November 25, 2013 at 10:01 am

Hi Sylvia, yes it will probably take a little longer to house train your puppy if you allow her to wee and poo indoors. But you need to do what you need to do in order to cope with your own family situation. :) The first few nights can be hard, but this stage does not last for long. Best wishes Pippa

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Sylvia Zareva November 26, 2013 at 9:36 am

Dear Pippa,

Thank you for responding, and thank you again for all the advice. I decided to stick to the preemptive nighttime outings and it worked like a charm last night! I caught her awake but silent both times I went to take her out before morning. She did her business and settled right back to sleep, or was at least quiet. I am sleep-deprived but pretty elated. ;-)

One more thing: since you are my authority on labrador training, which one of your books would you suggest I buy if I want to teach her good manners at home and out and about in the city?

Thank you again!
Sylvia

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Sylvia Zareva November 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

I forgot to say that I’d rather buy an e-book, as deliveries outside the UK (to Bulgaria) sometimes take a long time.

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Samm December 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Hi Pippa! I have an 8 week old pup, we’ve had him for 2 and a half days now, last night was his first night in the crate, and he howled, and howled, and barked, and barked. I know he can hold his pee for atleast 3 hours after relieving himself, so i set my alarm, and was up at 3, and then up at 6. I got a few hours of sleep, which means he must have been quiet for a little bit. Do I keep perserving, is this normal? I really want him to settle in his kennel. He gets fed 3 times a day right now, his last meal at 5, is it possible hes crying because hes hungry also?

what do you suggest?

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Pippa December 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Hi Samm
Have a look at these two articles: First days at home and How to cope with a crying puppy You might also find it helpful to join the forum and chat to other puppy owners :) Pippa

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Rebecca January 6, 2014 at 6:43 am

Good early morning !
I have just brought a lab pup she has been with us for 3 days now so content in the day and I’m crate training her … I knew the first few nights would be tough but she howls and gets herself into such a tis she sicks up froth on her bed is this normal ? I leave her about 11 pm and get up at 5am with her inbetween those times she probably has 2 to 3 howling crying periods of around 10 to 15 minutes

Many thanks
Becky

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Nick January 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm

My wife and I recently brought home our 7-week old lab puppy. Crate training has not gone very well so far. The first night we had him he slept for almost 6 hours in his crate before waking and starting to cry. Now he will not last 30 minutes. My wife works from home and she puts him in the crate for a small period during the day. He will cry for over an hour. Should the crying last this long? Do we need to keep him in for shorter periods of time instead and build back up?

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Pippa January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

Hi Nick, this is the article you need Pippa

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Joanne Cassidy January 7, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Hi, I have two 11 week old chocolate male labs. They are from the same litter and sleep in the same bed at night. They have started eating my kitchen at night time when they are left alone so we are looking into getting a cage for them. Can anybody advise which is better. Buy 2 small cages and separate them or buy 1 xl cage and put them in together till they get a bit older and hopefully stop being so destructive?
Thanks

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Ale January 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Hi Pippa
I have been reading all your articles and finding them very useful. My puppy is 11 weeks but we got it when he was 8 weeks old. The week following Xmas we had to leave him with a trainer because he was too young to travel with us. When we came back, we have been struggling in teaching him to relieve himself. The trainer told us that if he went outside the place we set for this in our apartment, while he can go out after his vaccination, we should hit the floor and put him in his crate for 45 mins and after we took him out, put him out there in the special place to go again, I read on your articles that since he is a puppy we should´t punish him, so I did not make a fuss about the accidents and just insisted on the next time for him to go in the place. I bought a tray with synthetic garden so that he could go there, because I also read you don´t recommend newspaper. He was doing fine, until now he likes to lie on the synthetic garden and bite at it and pull it instead of doing what he has to in it. He was doing great before that, he was a little excited and it looked like he wanted to rip it apart. I pulled him from it, and then he went and did his business on the floor kitchen instead. So I decided to put him in his crate for 45 min again. I don´t know if this is not the solution and that he is still a baby, but he was making a mess out of the tray.
I also read that at this time they usually sleep about 5 hours from the time you put him to sleep at night, but he will make noises and wake up every two hours, and when I tried stretching the time, he pooed inside the crate. Is it normal that he poos more than twice at night? Is it still an immature bladder? I am not getting any sleep at all at night, and I feel that the road that we advanced has gone back a few steps… is this normal, or what do you suggest?

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Pippa January 9, 2014 at 9:41 am

Hi there, puppies will sometimes poo at night if they are anxious and get upset, but more usually, eliminating in the crate is a result of the crate being too big. Pippa

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Katie January 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Hello,

I have a 3 month old black Lab and we have decided not to crate him. He is in the kitchen safe when we go out with his bed and toys and we do the same in the evening. So far we have had no problems at all, he loves his sleep, he goes to bed when we go to bed and wakes when we come down the stairs, he doesn’t bark or cry. I am now in 2 minds as every article I read says about how importing it is to crate puppies. My husband would rather we didn’t crate him, as he is going to be a big dog and I wouldn’t like to crate him when he is so big. Am I making a rod for my own back ? at the moment he stays on his own while we are at work (3 days a week) for about 5 hours but I do have people go round and check on him. Once he can go out (after his next vaccination) he will be taken out during the day too. He is a very happy dog and other than being quite hard to toilet train he is very good, I have tried the toilet training matts but he just runs off with them! I am sure once he can go out this will improve. Any advise greatly received! Thank you!

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Pippa January 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hi Katie, if you and your puppy are happy with your present situation after a whole month, I see no point in messing with it. You may or may not find you have problems with chewing at some point, but some dogs are simply not a problem in this respect. Pippa

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Amylouise January 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Hi I have a 9 week old lab we have had him for 4 days now he’s coming out of his shell but becoming giddy and biting my 2 year old which leads to tears I don’t want to punish him because he is playing but he is leaving marks on my son what can I do ?

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Pippa January 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Here you are Amylouise Information on Biting

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Becky January 23, 2014 at 8:17 am

I have 2 six month old chocolate labs they are house trained and have their own crates at night time (in the same room) as advised by the vet, they are happy to go to bed in their crate but one of them wakes crying at 5 am sometimes earlier so I let them out to do their business and put them back to bed but he just sits there crying I don’t know what to do as I’ve tried ignoring it but it can last for hours his brother is not bothered and would probably sleep for longer if I didn’t get up to let them out.

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Pippa January 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm

When you get up to let him out, you reinforce the crying. If you feel he really needs to go out, then try and pre-empt him by letting him out early before he starts to cry, for a few days. You could also try putting a frozen kong in his crate when you put him back to bed. Check out this article for more info

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margaret February 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm

My family have just got our 1st black Labrador she is 9 weeks we are trying to crate train her,she goes in it in the day with abit of whining as im at work but she gets checked on every 2 hours as she goes out for the toilet and doesn’t do it in her bed but at night shes going to bed at 10.00 after being left out and doing her toilet but then crys for hours at night which we try and ignore but then she soils in her crate so im having to clean it up in middle of night,hee crate is in the lounge for now as its our busy room,am I doing it all right,many thanks

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Pippa February 11, 2014 at 8:25 am

Hi, she probably soils her crate because she is getting upset. It sounds as though she spends a lot of time alone, she may settle more happily in some kind of day care. Night time crying tends to be over within a few days if you want to wait it out, or you could try putting her crate next to your bed at night, until she has got into a better sleeping routine. Check out the housetraining articles in the puppy care section and do consider joining the forum for support. Pippa

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Ann Marie Black May 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm

After reading all the problems people have had with their puppies this almost put me off getting mine! However, I am happy to report that it’s not all bad! I got Poppy, black lab 9 weeks old, a week ago tomorrow. I set up her crate toys etc inside her play pen and decided to use the clicker method of rewards. I threw a couple of treats inside her crate and she went inside no problem. 5 minutes later she lay down inside it and went to sleep. She loves her crate which is always open during the day. I started by leaving the pen open for her to come and go and then closing it for a minute then opening it again, gradually extending this throughout the day. She has picked up really quickly that when she goes outside that she has to do the toilet and looks to me for the click and a treat, although she still has little bladder control, accidents only happen when I don’t take her out often enough( thankfully just urination). She will get a play out in the kitchen diner for half an hour when she has just been to the toilet and when she voluntarily goes to her crate for a play with her toys or sleep, I close the play pen door. She wasn’t that keen on me leaving the room to do stuff around the house and howled and yelped for a bit before settling in her crate but I just I ignored her and never give her attention when she is crying for it. She howled and yelped for about 20 mins the first night and 5 the second night but I didn’t go down to her and she only needed out once at 5.30am. Since then she goes to bed at 11.30 and that is her until whatever time I get up at in the morning 8 or even 9. She is dry all night and doesn’t even cry to get out when she hears you upstairs. Not bad for a 9 week old! She sits on command and is learning the down command, clicker is a great help. All in all, she has done really well in her first week and I’m glad to say that you shouldn’t automatically think the worst case scenario! On and she is happy to lie in the footwell of the car sleeping whilst I’m driving on my own.

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Kirsten Sinclair May 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Hello, really helpful article thank you! My question is with regards to what is the best thing to do with my puppy during the day? I have to leave him for a max of 1 1/2hrs 4 times this week whilst I go to work. He is crated at night, he cried for 1/2 an hour 1 st night, 15mins second night (we’ve only had him 2 days). I don’t want to put him off the crate by shutting him in there during the day while I am at work. Would a play pen be an idea? Any help would be very much appreciated.

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Kirsten Sinclair June 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Just to update, pup is now 12 weeks and quiet at night. We get up in the morning when he wakes up. However he still doesn’t like being crated during the day whether we are home or not. It seems to be the confinement he doesn’t like as opposed to the being alone which doesn’t bother him.

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stacy May 27, 2014 at 1:11 am

have a 10 week puppy that still howls 10 to 15 min and then every 2 to 3 hours. He hates being in hi s crate. I have done what you say and if we are in the room she is good. It is just at night.

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Jodie July 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

Hi
Myself and my partner are thinking about getting a black labrador puppy. We are both very keen but are worried about the fact that we both work full time and so after the initial settling in (I will be taking a few weeks holiday from work) it will be alone for the most part of the day.. We are a little worried about the puppy needing the toilet etc during this time, is it advisable/okay to leave a puppy/dog alone for such a long time during the day.
Thanks.

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Pippa July 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Hi Jodie, this is the article you need Should you get a labrador if you work full time

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