After a productive day of play, even the most energetic puppies need rest. Your small dog will need a safe and comfortable environment where they can rest and recharge their batteries. That's why many dog handlers and pet parents rely on night cage training to keep puppies safe when they can't be actively supervised. Smaller puppies cannot stay in a cage for 8 hours.
Physically, puppies can't hold their bladder long enough, and it's not fair to ask for it. A good rule of thumb to follow is one hour at the checkout for each month of age. A three-month-old puppy should be fine in the box for three hours. Puppies should sleep in their cages at night, as this helps them learn to sleep through the night.
Place the crate directly next to your bed at the beginning of training so your puppy doesn't feel lonely or scared, and can easily wake you up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. It may be helpful to use a puppy pen for part of the night while working in cage training. If your puppy is not yet old enough to “hold it through the night” (usually not until seven or eight months) and you are not willing or unable to take them to the bathroom, use a large crate or puppy pen that allows room for a urination pad. Keep in mind that if you want your dog to go to the bathroom exclusively outside, this can affect your training efforts at home.
Do not cage the puppy during the day for more than 3 hours. Start training your puppy in cages on his first night. Your puppy probably hasn't finished crate training yet (see the sidebar for how to teach your pup to love the crate) and therefore isn't ready to spend the whole night in the crate. As the workout progresses, you can practice how to close the door and put a treat or kibble inside, and then let them out immediately.
It is better for a dog to be introduced into a cage gradually, rather than simply dropping it at night or for long periods. Cage training helps older dogs deal with health problems by providing them with a resting place to rest their joints or taking frequent naps, avoiding wandering at night, and facilitating transportation to vet appointments. Even if your puppy does well eating or taking naps during the day in his crate, sometimes sleeping in his crate at night seems like a whole new game. When your new dog or puppy arrives home for the first time, acclimate him to the box by throwing a treat at him, leaving the door open so that the dog can enter and leave freely.
Other experts recommend giving your puppy a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or placing a watch in the box. Puppies often need to go out to eliminate during the night, and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy whining to be let out. If simple and consistent changes in the potty training process don't solve the problems, or if they happen frequently, it's definitely time to have an exam with your veterinarian to see if there are any medical problems. But if your puppy doesn't wake up alone, your furry baby may be able to stay in his kennel for a longer period of time at night.
If a dog is taught to love the cage through positive reinforcement, the cage becomes its own private and safe place, such as a bedroom for a child. If you have problems with your puppy barking in their kennel, leave us a comment or, better yet, contact a local certified professional dog trainer. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the box in your room or near a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. While accidents during potty training may simply be the result of a breakdown in the training process, they may also be an indication of an underlying medical problem.