When and how to start crate training?
So you’ve heard about dog crate training, and you seem interested. “Should I crate train my Samoyed?”, “Is it worth it?” , “Is it cruel to do so?”, these questions and more may be running through your mind. Whether you are an experienced dog owner or a new one, crate training your dog for the first time can seem an intimidating idea for both you and your dog. But fret not for we have you covered. Here’s a simple yet comprehensive guide on dog crate training.
What is a Samoyed dog crate training?
Before you go further, you should understand the concept of Samoyed dog crate training and why it has come to be. Here are several points to clear up some confusion first. If you are serious about this process, you must have gone through a list of articles on the subject. You may have seen some contradiction in terms of the reasons that justify dog crate training- that reason mainly being that dogs are “den animals” (animals that spend most of their lifetime under private often roofed spaces or caves).
This claim is partially incorrect. Technically, dogs do not spend most of their lives indoors, as they were known to be ferocious hunters in the forest. However, on pregnancy, dogs do seek out a “den” for birthing and rearing their puppies. Hence a Samoyed puppy spends a good amount of time indoors under the care of its mother and the company of its littermates. This safe and secure den-like space makes the puppy associate such spaces with comfort, and they can grow to love such confinements. Owing to this, a dog instinctively seeks out safe den-like confinements when it is injured or sad. Thus a den feels like a safe space for your Samoyed.
Now that the confusion is all cleared up, your attention can be directed to the main point. Samoyed dog crate training is the process of teaching your dog to relearn this feeling of finding safety in confinement. A dog cage or crate is used to replicate the den here. Initially, the limited space can cause stress and anxiety to your dog whether it is still a pup or is fully grown. With patience and adhering to the proper guidelines, your Samoyed can get used to the crate and even come to love it.
Step by step instructions for Samoyed crate training
Samoyed crate training duration can vary depending on your dog’s age and temperament. For some, crate training can take just a few weeks, while some Samoyeds need even a year to get used to a crate. It is essential to understand that this is not a fast process, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if your Samoyed takes time to adjust.
Crate training for Samoyed puppies
Puppies are generally easier to crate train owing to their small size and more manageable temperament. So, when should puppies start crate training? Puppies should remain free for at least the first six months of their lives. After this brief period, a puppy can start following some instructions, and you can start training it from the sixth month itself. Once you start, you should remain consistent with the training program so that your Samoyed puppy can properly learn to adjust to the confinement even into its older years. Here is a simple 4-step guide on how to crate train a Samoyed puppy:
- Step 1: Introduce your Samoyed puppy to the crate
Put the crate in a familiar living space, preferably one where you and your family spend a lot of leisure time. Place a comfortable blanket in the crate and make sure your little Sammy sees it. Additionally, throw in a familiar toy. Leave the crate door open. If your pup is naturally curious, it will get into the crate by itself and start playing or sleep in it. If this isn’t the case:
Pick a Samoyed puppy up gently and bring it near the crate. Play around it.
Encourage your Sammy to enter the crate by throwing some treats near the door. If it responds, throw another treat into the crate.
If treats don’t interest your Samoyed pup, play with the toy inside and make sure your puppy sees it. This may take some extra time, but it is necessary to make your puppy comfortable.
Despite how long it may take, this first step will decide your puppy’s crate training process. So make sure to encourage your Samoyed to get familiar with the crate.
- Step 2: Feed inside the crate
Put food in the crate! Feeding is one of the most sought-after activities for a puppy. Most Samoyed puppies usually associate feeding with a happy time. It is the best way to get your puppy’s attention.
After your Samoyed puppy has become properly acquainted with the crate, place its daily meals near or inside the crate. Make sure that your puppy enjoys its meals. In any case, you should never force feed your puppy, especially inside the crate, as this will only create unnecessary trauma. Henceforth, it may become impossible for your Samoyed to be crate trained. If your pup is still timid around the cage, only put its food bowl beside the crate’s opening. Gradually push the food bowl further into the crate each day.
Once your pup is standing and feeding comfortably inside the crate, close the crate. For at least the first 2 days, open the crate as soon as your pup finishes its meal and turns around. With each day, increase the period of closed crate slightly.
If it starts whining to be let out, you may have shut the crate for a little too long, so open it immediately. However, on the next feeding, shut the crate for the same amount of time and see if your pup whines or howls. If it does, make sure not to open the crate this time. Instead, let your Samoyed puppy cry until it stops its whining and only then open the crate. Otherwise, your Samoyed pup will learn that whining is the way to freedom.
- Step 3: Practice leaving for longer durations
Once your Samoyed pup can stay in a crate for at least 10 minutes after feeding, you can start trying to leave your pup in it without your attendance. Try not to overwhelm your pup with loneliness. As your Samoyed pup stays inside the shut crate, try doing some other chores making sure you are in sight.
Focusing your attention on other things while still keeping an eye on the puppy will help it feel that there isn’t any harm coming. Repeat the activity for several days, increasing the distance and duration of confinement each time. Frequently move in and out of the room where your Samoyed is crated to help it understand that you have not abandoned it and will come back every time.
Making your Samoyed puppy feel safe and secure is very important for successful training. Do not neglect your puppy for too long, or it will start feeling scared and may start howling or whining. Once your Samoyed puppy starts staying in a crate for 30 minutes without you in sight, you can leave it or make short trips to the market or running small errands. Always stick to the pattern of slow increase in crating duration. Do not suddenly leave your Samoyed crated for too long because this may reverse the whole training process, and you will have to start all over again. Gradually over the days, you will be able to leave your Samoyed crated for even a few hours without its howling and whining.
- Step 4: Keep the goodbyes brief
Do not engage in over emotional goodbyes every time you leave the puppy alone. It is benefitial to neither you or your puppy. Instead, keep it brief and, if possible, avoid goodbyes altogether. You wouldn’t bid an emotional goodbye if you were just leaving the puppy to go to the next room. So you shouldn’t bid one when you leave the house. It makes your puppy feel that you are still somewhere close. Bidding goodbyes can lead your puppy to realize that you are going far away, and it might make Samoyed whine and resist the crate.
Crate training for adult Samoyed
Crate training your adult Samoyed is pretty much the same as crate training a puppy. All you need are some of these extra tips that you need to follow for a happy crate-trained Samoyed.
Follow the three basic steps of crate training:
- Step 1: Introduce your Samoyed to a crate
- Step 2: Feed inside the crate
- Step 3: Practice leaving for a longer duration
- Step 4: keep “Goodbyes” brief
In addition to this, you must choose a sturdier crate/catch that will not tumble over when your dog becomes restless. Be very patient with your Samoyed and encourage it always. Crate training can take a little longer for adult dogs since they are not used to it.
If your Samoyed is not used to much affection, do not suddenly show excessive sympathy as your Samoyed may become weary of the confinement. If your Samoyed cries in the crate, it is most likely because it is scared. Since it is an adult dog, it is unlikely to feign emotions for attention, so you should not just ignore it. Do not immediately open the crate and instead stay by its side and comfort it from outside the crate. Your Samoyed will eventually calm down once it realizes that the crate is safe. After your Samoyed stops crying, praise it and give it a treat but do not open the crate yet.
Let the dog stay in the crate a little longer as you stand up and slowly walk away. If the Samoyed is still whimpering, encourage it from a distance and slowly go out of the room. If it starts crying sharply, go back to sitting beside it and comforting. Always open the crate only after your Samoyed stops crying.
Crate training Samoyed for a night
Once your puppy or dog has completed the basic four steps of crate training, you can proceed to the next step, which is crating at night. It is very crucial as night crating can be the longest crating period. There are many questions regarding crating at night such as “Should you crate a puppy on the first night?” “When is the perfect time to start crate training my dog at night?” “What if the puppy starts howling?” and so on.
To answer all these questions, you need to understand once more that this process is slow and should not be rushed. This being said, you shouldn’t crate your Samoyed puppy on the first night of crate training. It will only cause the puppy to become agitated and start whining all night. The perfect time instead is to start crate training them at night only after they are comfortable staying in the crate during daylight. If your dog still howls at night even after getting used to the crate, you should gently call its name and encourage it verbally.
Initially, you should keep the crate in your bedroom or at least in a place where you can easily hear and access your dog. You should especially do this in a case with Samoyed puppy because, as mentioned earlier, puppies have a low bladder capacity. You will want to hear your Samoyed’s whines so you can release it immediately. A Samoyed’s first night in the crate can be scary for the young pup, so you should give it proper attention. Once your Samoyed stops crying in a crate at night and sleeps without a problem, you can gradually move the crate to another place.
Samoyed crate training while at work
Since the whole purpose of crate training your Samoyed dog is to provide safe confinement while you go to work, it’s only logical to start leaving your dog in a crate once it receives full training. If you have successfully executed the instructions for the training, your Samoyed can stay in a crate for at least a few hours during the day and sleep in it through the night.
Though it may look like your dog is very comfortable with the crate now, you still have to take precautions and not take harsh decisions like leaving it for the whole day.
It should be noted that a Samoyed being able to sleep in a crate through the night doesn’t mean it will be able to handle the confinement during the day. Especially if your dog is active by nature, it can be really hard to crate train the Samoyed while you are at work.
Keep at least one toy in the crate and give your Sammy some treats before leaving to make crate training easier for the dog. A dog can only stay crated for so long, and you shouldn’t jail it for a long time. A Samoyed should not be crated for long hours in one sitting. If you have a long day at work, it would be best of you can call somebody to check up on your dog and give it a treat or two.
How long does crate training last?
Crate training is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of patience from both the owner and the dog. So how long does crate training take?
Depending on the type of dog, age, and temperament, the crate training process for Samoyeds varies in duration. If all conditions are met, a Samoyed puppy or an older dog can be thoroughly crate trained within six months. However, in some cases, young puppies have been known to be successfully crate trained within 4-5 weeks. On the other side, some Samoyed dogs, especially adult ones, take at least a year or even two to become crate trained.
Regardless, this process is indeed a long one, and the best advice anyone can give you is to be patient.
Howling and Whining while crate training
A very frequent problem that arises is Samoyed howling in the crate, or whining and whimpering. So how do you stop a Samoyed puppy from crying in the crate? Firstly, do not panic if you encounter such a situation and try to approach it calmly. Remember that your dog is as nervous as you and even more scared as this is also its first time.
Most times it may be hard to distinguish whether it’s a cry to be let out or to eliminate. You can recognize it from how you have trained your Samoyed. If you have followed the guidelines to crate training strictly, then you haven’t allowed your dog to whine itself put of the crate. In this case, you can be sure that your dog needs to attend to nature’s calls and open the crate. However, if you have succumbed to your dog’s whines, it may be trying to whine its way out again. In this case, try to ignore the whine as the dog will stop soon if it’s just a hoax. If it continues and grows even more agitated, you definitely should let it out. Keep calm and take the dog out to let it do whatever it needs to do. Once it’s over, bring the dog back and carefully lure it back to the crate.
How long can a Samoyed be in a crate? How many hours per day?
A Samoyed dog should not be crated for more than 7 hours a day, however, it is only for adult dogs. A Samoyed puppy, on the other hand, should only be crated 5 hours at best in one sitting. With small breaks in between, however, your dogs can last some extra hours in the crate.
Where to put a crate?
Now that you are all set to crate train your Samoyed, another question may pop up in your head. If you’re wondering about where to put the dog crate, we have you covered.
The best place for a dog crate is a place free from obstruction yet visible to people around. Select a calm spot in your house that is frequented but not in the way. Place the crate in an optimal place, depending on the weather. If it is summer, place away from direct sunlight. Most importantly, make sure the crate is placed next to a cooling device since Samoyeds hate hot temperatures. Do not put in an electrically hazardous area or beside a poisonous houseplant as your dog may reach it.
Why should you crate train your Samoyed?
Crate training plays a significant role in house training dogs. If you are a busy person often tied down to work, it can be stressful, worrying about your work and your Samoyed at home. Crate training solves this problem as it teaches your dog to stay alone for long hours without feeling lonely or threatened. But isn’t crate training cruel? This question keeps many dog owners away from experiencing the immense benefits of crate training, including the following:
1. A house-trained Samoyed that can stay home when you are at work.
2. Easy transportation, especially when traveling by air.
3. A refuge for your dog to retreat to when tired or injured.
4. Damage control (literally saves all the mess).
It would take a while to name the endless benefits of crate training, but these four main benefits are enough to consider for now. So if the question of whether crate training is cruel or not comes up, remember, it is not a cruel practice.
Kennel vs Crate
Like humans, Samoyed dogs also find solace in personal spaces where they can retreat. All this while, we’ve been talking about crates, but the thought of a dog kennel may have popped up in your mind. So how are these two distinct from one another, and which one would be better? More importantly, what is the difference between a dog kennel and crate? Well, here is an explanation to answer all your doubts.
A kennel is a sturdy structure that is built to last. It is usually bigger than a crate and also more expensive. A good kennel is built to last through the years. Unlike a crate, a kennel does not usually come in travel sizes. So, sadly, you can’t travel the world with a kennel.
Kennels can be better than crates because they are more durable and made of steel or chew-safe materials, unlike crates, which are usually made of plastic materials. Although, this benefit is balanced by the fact that crates are more lightweight and can be easier for Samoyed transportation. The other big difference is that a kennel is not gated like a crate. It provides more freedom to the dog while still giving personal space.
A kennel is a permanent housing option for your dog, much like your own house where you can leave and enter whenever you want. Its position is usually stable and is seen as your dog’s room. Whereas a crate is more like a training ground that is useful for transportation as well as necessary confinement. If your dog has successfully passed the training, you can buy a kennel as part of the next step.
What to put in the kennel?
Outdoor kennels are a great gift to your dogs as these are more like their natural homes than the metallic box crates. One area to pay attention to is the ground around the kennel. Most outdoor kennels are set up on concrete grounds for good reason. While dogs love dirt and mud, it is more comfortable and cleaner to surround the outside of the kennel with concrete. If concrete is not your thing, you can put pebbles and gravel around the kennel too. Samoyeds love playing around with them, and this could be a fun time for them when you aren’t around.
Inside the kennel, you can put a waterproof dog bed and some toys with which your dog can play.
How to make crate training easier for your Samoyed?
Crate training can be a tough process that exhausts both you and your dog at times. Here are just two tips you need to keep in mind to make things easier:
If you have often asked how to make a Samoyed get used to a crate, this is it. Play crate games, feed in the crate, and just do anything you can around or in the crate. Adding a favorite Samoyed blanket or toy also helps a lot. It will help your Samoyed realize that the crate is a fun safe place that will bring no harm. These positive associations with the crate will not only make the training process so much more fun but will also help your Samoyed get used to the crate.
This phrase has been repeated an unholy amount of times throughout this article but it isn’t without a good reason. The best and easiest way to successfully crate train your Samoyed is to be patient with it. Prepare yourself for some intense 6-7 months of training and do not yield no matter what may come. Think about the trouble you are saving your future self and let that be motivation to keep you going.
Q: When to start crate training?
If you have a newly born puppy, you may be wondering when puppies should start crate training. Experts advise that you can start crate training your puppy from as little as six months. However, it shouldn’t be put in a crate for more than four hours at a time. Since the puppy is still very young, it cannot properly control its bowel movements for a long period and may get anxious if it remains crated for a longer time.
If your Samoyed is already an adult dog and still not crate trained, you can start as early as today. Follow the guidelines thoroughly and your dog can be crate trained in no time.
Q: When to stop Samoyed crate training?
You can stop crate training when your Samoyed can stay in a crate without your attendance for at least 6 hours. This answer may seem obvious, but that’s not the only requirement that needs to be met. You need to ask yourself these following questions:
1. Does your Samoyed voluntarily enter the crate?
2. Does it spend its time inside a crate even when you are home?
3. Does it seem to not care much about your arrival (does not get super excited, bark frantically, etc.)?
So if you’re asking yourself “When can I stop crating my Samoyed?”, you should ask yourself these three questions as well. If the answer to all those three is a resounding “yes”, you have the green light. If you’re still struggling with the answers, maybe you should continue the crate training for a little more time.
Q: What to put in a crate?
What should be/not be kept in a crate is one of the most common questions any beginner crate trainer has. Fortunately, experienced dog trainers do not keep secrets and would like every dog to have the best crating experience. They suggest that the safest toy would be something familiar for your Samoyed. Bombarding your dog with new toys can be overwhelming and remove a sense of safety from your pet. So sticking with old toys is the best way to go. For their beds, consider keeping a waterproof and chew-proof one that is also washable. It is especially useful for Samoyed puppies who have less control over their bladders.