At Sugar Lane White Labs we encourage our new white lab puppy families to crate train their puppies when they arrive home. Crate training helps give the puppies a safe environment, can help reduce anxiety if used properly from an early age and is a very useful tool in aiding potty training.
Unfortunatel,y we can’t keep eyes on our puppies 24/7. Crates can be excellent tools in helping, keeping your white labrador puppy safe from chewing or getting into dangerous items, being destructive or going to the bathroom in the wrong place.
Below are a few tips we use at Sugar Lane White Labs to aid in the process of helping make this process go smoothly.
There are many forms of crates available - we love the Midwest Life Stages crate with double doors for our labrador puppies. This crate has two doors for ease of access, is collapsible for travel or storage and comes with a pan to help protect your floors and for easy cleaning in the case of an accident. This crate also comes with a divider, so that you can purchase a larger crate that will accommodate your white lab puppy when full grown, yet be able to be made into a small space for a puppy to help with training.
We place our crates in our bedroom or a quiet place in the living room with a suitable sized rug under the crate to prevent scratches on flooring and also add some cozy blankets or bedding inside for the puppy to snuggle up in. Having the crate close, especially during the night helps ensure that you’ll notice your labrador puppy when they awake and need a bathroom break during the night, as young puppies need to go more often.
At first to aid in potty training do not give your lab puppy too much space, as the puppy may begin going to the bathroom at one end and sleeping at the other. We place the divider close enough that the puppy has ample room to lay and turn around, however not too much as puppies and dogs generally do not like to mess their sleeping area and this should help them to hold it until let out. Keep in mind that small puppies do have to potty approximately every 3-4 hours at first. We use the AKC guideline: Take the age of your puppy in months and add one, and that is the maximum number of hours that your puppy should be able to comfortably hold it between potty breaks. A three-month-old puppy plus one equals 4 hours that they should be able to stay in the crate without a mess.
When first introducing the crate you want to let your lab puppy explore it. Leave the doors open and let the puppy walk in and out of it. We always make sure the puppy has been exercised throughly and are ready to wind-down, as a rambunctious puppy will have want to still play and have more anxiety when being confined.
We play games with our white lab puppy, tossing treats and toys into the open crate to help make the it a fun environment. We then begin closing the doors for just a few minutes while the puppy plays with a toy or chews on a treat - we love to use Life’s Abundance 6 inch bully sticks to give them something to occupy themselves. Slowly we extend the time the puppy is in the crate.
It isn’t uncommon for a new young puppy to cry a bit the first few nights, as this may be their first time sleeping all alone without their littermates. This is why here at Sugar Lane we keep the crate next to our bed so we can calmly shush the puppy down reassuring them they are not all alone. Remember very young puppies may need to potty around every 4 hours. Puppies almost always have to potty immediately after napping or sleeping.
One common mistake people make that can hamper the process is running to the puppy every time they whimper or bark. These puppies are very smart and by doing so they learn quickly that when they cry, bark or whimper it is rewarded with attention. Instead of taking the puppy out we gently talk to the puppy to calm them down. If you know the puppy has been pottied, exercised and it is time to wind down it doesn’t hurt to let a puppy cry a bit. Instead for the first while we only reward the puppy with treats or being allowed to come out after they have been quiet for a few minutes when we know they don’t need to go to the bathroom. The amount of time a puppy spends in the crate needs to slowly be built up. The crate should be used as a tool for training and the amount of time spent in the crate should also be limited. When used properly having a crate trained puppy makes life easier when you cannot keep an eye on your puppy while cooking, cleaning, running errands, working or sleeping.
If used properly a crate can become your white labrador puppies safe spot, that eventually they will seek out on their own when they want to rest. Think of it as your Sugar Lane lab puppies personal bedroom. Consistency is key in successful training. We hope the above tips will help and as always feel free to contact us anytime if needing more assistance with help in training your Sugar Lane White Lab.