Dear VetBabble: My Puppy Resists the Crate and Seems Uneasy at Night – What Can I Do?
This question touches on a common concern amongst pet owners, especially those who recently welcomed a new puppy in their home. It’s always a challenge to help our furry friends feel comfortable and secure, especially at night. One might express, “My puppy won’t go in his crate and wanders around my room at night, creating the impression it can’t get comfortable. How can I help my puppy?” Indeed, guiding a pup to accept crate and separation, and feel at ease at night is mostly a slow and patient process. This process benefits from three main actions: starting small (crate training), reducing engagement (separation training), and creating manageable progress (gradual steps).
1. Starting Small: Crate Training
Crate training your puppy begins with enticing them into the crate using high-value treats such as white meat chicken, mozzarella cheese sticks, diced ham, turkey pepperoni, turkey bacon, cooked fish, all chopped into small pieces. Ensuring that this process is calm and silent is important. This is the first step towards familiarizing your puppy with the crate, making them more comfortable during the night. The aim is to make the crate a positive place where good things happen.
2. Reducing Engagement: Separation Training
Separation training is all about enabling your pet to be confident when alone. The more you engage with your puppy during this process, the less they’re learning about being comfortable in your absence. As such, try to minimize eye contact and communication during separation. This is vital for a pet dealing with separation anxiety. Disassociating from your pup in a methodical and gradual manner encourages him to become independent and comfortable even when you are not in sight.
3. Creating Manageable Progress: Gradual Increase in Separation
The whole process of crate and separation training should be done in small, manageable steps. Begin by tossing several treats inside the crate and stepping out of sight for a few seconds. Keep repeating this, gradually increasing the number of seconds you stay out of sight. This approach allows your puppy to comprehend that you’ll always return and there’s nothing to fear. Also, adjusting to their new environment during the first nights becomes less nerve-wracking for them.
Above all, remember that every puppy is unique and will adapt at their own pace. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcements are key to successful crate and separation training. And for those pet owners who may soon be returning to an office away from home, these steps are equally important in preparing your puppy for your return to work.
In offering these techniques, I hope to reach all pet parents who might also be grappling with similar concerns. At VetBabble, we are committed to help you make this journey with your canine companion an enjoyable and meaningful one.