How to Crate Train a Goldendoodle
Fun Ways to Crate Train a Goldendoodle Puppy
Puppies are just furry babies that love to play — so what better way to crate train a Goldendoodle puppy than by playing a game? Not only will it make training easier, but it can be delightfully useful in teaching a puppy how to go to their crate and stay there without making a fuss.
This guide is designed to help you teach your puppy to appreciate their own safe and personal space — their crate! Most pups aren't crazy about the idea of being confined at first, but with patience and commitment, you can turn your puppy's crate into its very own clubhouse!
Preparing for Puppy Crate Training
Before getting started, let's go over some basics that will make learning how to crate train a Goldendoodle easier on both you and your pup!
No puppy wants to be stuck in a tiny crate where they can barely move around. You can save yourself the trouble of having to buy a bigger crate as your dog ages by simply buying a crate for their adult size when they're a pup. If you want to limit the amount of space in the crate at any time, you can make a partition using a cardboard box and adjusting the crate interior size as the puppy grows. But keep in mind that if the crate size is too big, it may lead to more potty accidents inside. The ideal puppy crate size should give them plenty of room to stand, turn, and stretch out.
Puppy Crate Training Do's:
- Just like training puppy tricks, crate training sessions should be short, fun and gentle on your puppy's limited attention span
- Let your puppy learn one game at a time over the course of several days
- Train your puppy when you're in a good mood and able to show enthusiasm. Puppies love good vibes
- Leaving treats and feeding your puppy meals inside the crate is an important part of puppy crate training
- Take your puppy to the bathroom outdoors before putting them in the crate
- Leave the door open when first giving your puppy meals inside the crate
- Put the crate somewhere the puppy won't feel alone, such as in the living room or kitchen
Puppy Crate Training Do Not's:
- Don't put your puppy in their crate as a punishment
- Don't push or force your puppy into the crate. Your puppy should always be willing to go in on their own or with the help of a treat or toy
- For your puppy's protection and to prevent choking, don't leave any toys or objects that can break or be chewed to pieces inside of the crate
- Don't let anybody tease your puppy when he/she is inside of the crate (e.g., kids, visitors, etc.)
How to Crate Train a Goldendoodle With Games
Game 1: We Love the Crate!
The reason you should never use the crate as a form of punishment is because your puppy needs to grow fond of their crate and feel safe and comfortable inside. To teach your puppy the wonderful qualities of their crate, start by leaving a few treats and toys inside the crate when they're not around. When your puppy's in the room, let them sniff around on their own until they discover some goodies waiting for them inside the crate.
When your puppy goes inside the crate to eat their treats, give them praise and leave the door open for the first few sessions. After several successful explorations inside the crate, you can start gently closing the door while they're eating or playing and then opening it again to let them out.
While inside the crate, try to toss some treats to your puppy towards the back so they venture all the way inside. If your puppy seems reluctant to go all the way inside, avoid closing the door until they feel comfortable with exploring all four corners of their crate.
Game 2: Go to the Crate!
Sooner or later, learning how to crate train a Goldendoodle will involve commands! After your puppy starts getting comfortable with their crate and associates treats with crate time, you can begin sneaking in a command word along with some hand signals to teach your puppy to go inside. Make sure your puppy is watching your hand as you're throwing a treat inside, and turn it into a handle signal (such as a finger pointing in the direction) as you release the treat. The idea is to make your puppy associate this hand signal with going into the crate (which it will do to get the treat that comes out of your hand!).
Now, right before you toss a treat, use a command word such as “crate” (or any word you want your puppy to understand as crate time) to teach your puppy that they're about to go inside the crate when they hear that word. Continue giving your puppy treats while saying the command word and showing them the hand signal for crate. Over time, they will learn to associate this signal and command with going inside of the crate. Just don't expect your puppy to respond to your hand or verbal commands immediately — they're just a baby after all!
Game 3: Let's Stay in the Crate
In this game, you'll focus on praising your puppy when they are sitting inside of the crate and waiting for a treat. After learning games 1 and 2, wait for your puppy to be sitting patiently inside of the crate and waiting for a treat. When you see your puppy sitting in the crate on their own, give them praise and call them out of the crate using a release word of your choosing (such as “okay!” or “come out!”).
Make sure to say the release word with enthusiasm and lots of praise. This will teach your puppy to wait inside of the crate until you give them permission to come out. Because the goal is to teach your puppy to stay inside the crate on their own, make sure to leave the door open while playing this game.
Game 4: Back and Forth
Your efforts in learning how to crate train a Goldendoodle are paying off! When your puppy gets good at playing game 3 and begins responding to the release word, call them out and toss another treat inside of the crate so they can re-enter. Then, call them out and do it again. Try doing this for a few minutes so that your puppy gets comfortable with going back in their crate and responding to the release word. If they get bored of playing, just wait until later and play again.
Game 5: Closing the Door
Once your puppy shows no hesitation when going to their crate and staying inside, you can begin closing the door for a brief moment and slowly increasing closed-door time as your puppy gets used to it.
Don't close the door for longer than a few seconds at first to keep your puppy from feeling trapped. Once your puppy is okay with the idea, you can start closing the door and saying the release word at the same time you open the door to let them out (see game 3). When you see your puppy sitting patiently inside with the door closed, give them some gentle praise but don't get too excited (you don't want your puppy thinking it's time to leave the crate already by making them too excited!) and hand them a treat through the door to let them know you're happy.
Sometimes a puppy may not like it when the door is closed and whine when you close it. For this reason, it's important to take this step slowly and not keep the door closed for longer than a few seconds when you first begin to play. This will make it easier to reinforce good behavior later when your puppy has to learn that whining won't get them out of the crate. You should never reinforce bad behavior by letting your puppy out the moment it starts to whine. If your puppy starts whining when the door is closed, ignore your puppy until it stops and then give it praise, a treat, and let it out as soon as it calms down.
Over time, you can begin closing the door and stepping away from the crate while your puppy is inside. If you see your puppy taking it well, say the release word, open the door and call your puppy out — followed by treats and lots of hugs!
How to Crate Train a Goldendoodle With Even More Games
Great job, you've just learned 5 fun games to play with your pup to teach them about the wonderful benefits of being in their crate (and how much you appreciate their cooperation!). By now, you should:
- Be able to get your puppy into the crate without much work
- Have a command word and hand signal for sending your pup to the crate
- Have a release word for letting them out of the crate
And your puppy should:
- Be able to enter the crate without hesitation
- Be okay with being inside of the crate
- Come out of the crate with the release word
- Be okay if the crate door is closed for short periods of time
Now we're going to build on the first 5 games with some additional games that teach your Goldendoodle puppy to better understand your commands along with some puppy crate manners. As your dog grows, you'll want them to be accustomed to spending plenty of time in their crate (like when you're sleeping or away) and be able to go to their crate and come out on command. With your patience and persistence, your pup will learn that the crate is its very own comfort zone and they're always safe and comfortable while inside. Over time, you should see your puppy hanging out or sleeping in the crate all on their own!
Game 6: Go to the Crate on Command
Now that your puppy knows how to follow its nose into the crate for a treat and has made themselves at home there, let's try putting that command word and hand signal to the test. With your puppy near the crate, say the crate command (such as “crate”) but don't toss any treats, yet. If your puppy goes in the crate, act very happy and drop treats inside the crate while giving them pets.
If your puppy doesn't respond to the crate command, go back to Game 2. Once your puppy starts responding to the crate command and going inside without a treat, make sure to practice this game over and over until it really sticks. You're really learning how to crate train a Goldendoodle now!
It's time to try the same thing with the crate hand signal (such as pointing in the direction of the crate), but this time without treats. When your puppy follows your hand motion towards the crate, drop lots of treats inside and give them lots of praise. Just like with the verbal command, capitalize on any progress and make sure to play this game over and over when they get it.
Game 7: It's Chow Time!
This will be one of your puppy's favorite crate games and it can be played anytime during crate training — just put their meal inside the crate! Depending on which stage of crate training you've reached, you can leave the door open at first but gradually begin to close the door while your puppy is munching away inside the crate. When you close the door, be sure to stand nearby as they're eating so you can open the door before they're done eating. This will let your puppy know that mealtime is just mealtime — and NOT a trick to get them inside the crate!
Game 8: Bolting Bad!
If you've ever come home to an excited dog, you know just how easy it is to get tripped up and lost in that furry blur of happiness. Now take all of that pent-up excitement, put it in a crate and let it all out at once — and you've got a bolting puppy!
An important part of crate training a dog is teaching them not to bolt out when that door opens — not only for their own safety, but for everyone else's too! Crate-bolting puppies can make your heart skip a beat when traveling, getting out of the car, going to the vet, or having small children in the house and around the puppy crate. With a little bit of work, you can teach your puppy to exit their crate without running everybody over in the process.
Now that your puppy has gotten used to the crate door being closed, you can teach them the correct way to exit when it opens. Start by getting your puppy inside the crate with the door closed. Open the door, and if your puppy tries to get out right away, close it again. Wait for your puppy to settle down and then try to open it again, and close it again when the puppy automatically tries to leave.
Repeat this exercise until your puppy remains still when you've opened the door. When they do, reach in and give them a treat and some happy praise. Now, leave the door open, and if your puppy tries to leave, close it again. Every time your puppy stays still after you've opened the door, reward them. After a few successful repetitions, say the release word (see Game 3) to call your puppy out of the crate as they are patiently waiting with the door open. When that works, keep playing until your puppy understands you will close the door if it tries to exit without the release word. As you are learning how to crate train a Goldendoodle puppy, you'll soon know exactly what to expect from your pup — and will be thrilled when it's working!
As with all other puppy crate training games, play this game in short sessions (about 10 minutes at a time) on a regular basis to keep your puppy engaged and their memory focused.
How to Crate Train a Goldendoodle: Now You're Getting the Hang of It!
Game 9: Rest and Relaxation
The purpose of this game is to show your puppy that relaxing and sleeping in the crate is a “good” thing. If you've already taught your puppy how to lie down, it can really come in handy when teaching your puppy how to relax in their crate. Start by getting your puppy in the crate and tell them to lie down (or wait for them to lie down if you haven't taught the command yet).
When your puppy is lying down, give them some calm praise and a treat. It's important not to make your puppy too excited or stand up. You want your puppy to make a connection between being relaxed and being rewarded, so praise the little things like lying down, yawning, stretching out and rolling on the side with a gentle pet, a “good dog” and a treat. When your puppy is relaxing in their crate, stick around for a little while and then call them out with the release word. If it works, you're really getting somewhere!
Game 10: Can I Come Out Yet?
This is a fun little game to play with your puppy to teach them the boundaries of their crate and to stay seated or lying down until released. As a follow-up to games 8 & 9, we'll be using a conditioning method that gives you insight into your puppy's intelligence and how quickly they learn — and it's very simple!
If you've already taught your puppy how to sit or lie down, great! You can use these commands to help you play this game, or you can also wait for your puppy to lie down or sit on its own. Once your puppy is in the crate, close the door and have them sit or lie down inside. Now, start slowly moving your hand towards the door latch as if you're about to open it. If your puppy gets up, remove your hand and stand up.
Now, tell your puppy to lie down or sit (or wait for them to do it), and then put your hand slowly back on the door latch. If the puppy doesn't move, give them a treat through the crate along with some calm praise. Repeat this until your puppy stops getting up when you put your hand on the door latch.
When it works, slowly open the door. If your puppy gets up, close the door, remove your hand, and repeat until your puppy stays down as you open the door. Once your puppy stays down even as you're opening the door, call them out and make them feel like a special dog.
As with all other puppy crate training games, don't expect your puppy to get this on the very first try. It may take days—or even weeks!—of practice until your puppy is responding to all of your commands and is remaining still until being released from the crate. But once they do, you've successfully learned how to crate train a Goldendoodle — and it's time to reap the fruits of your labor! Short and consistent training sessions are the trick to success. Puppies will be puppies, and your patience and persistence will be rewarded!
How to Crate Train a Goldendoodle Key Takeaways
Puppy crates are an essential tool for raising an obedient pet as well as making the dog owner's life easier. Good crate manners mean less unpleasant surprises at home, simplified pet travel and invaluable pet safety. Just like people, animals also like their own personal space where they can feel safe, comfortable and at ease. Eventually, all puppies can learn to love their crates — you just need to teach them about its value!
Probably the most important thing to remember when learning how to crate train a Goldendoodle—besides being patient!—is to never force your puppy into their crate or use it as a form of punishment. The last thing you want your puppy to feel is an aversion towards their crate, as this will teach them to avoid it and make it harder to trust you when the crate can really come in handy. When you have a fully-grown adult dog with excellent crate manners, it also extends to their personality traits and will make you the proud owner of an obedient, intelligent and well-behaved dog.