Properly crate training puppies will have many long term benefits so taking the time to create a positive experience for your puppy is well worth the effort.
Dogs have a natural instinct as den animals to seek out a place that provides safety, comfort and peace. Correctly introducing the crate will provide that welcoming den experience for your puppy.
To start crate training puppies, make sure that the crate is always associated with a positive event. Place a treat inside the crate have the puppy enter and get the treat, praise them and have them come right back out. Repeat this allowing them to come back out. Once the puppy is comfortable with that procedure place their food in the crate, close the door and let them come out when they have finished their meal. You can now begin to close the door and leave the puppy in the crate for short periods of time. Don't make the association of being in the crate with isolation and being left alone so make the first few times brief. Do not make your departure a big event. Make it matter of fact, repeat the earlier procedure a treat, praise and leave.
This is one of the biggest mistakes when crate training a puppy. The puppy cries and you take him out of the crate to comfort them. Now the puppy has you wrapped around their little paw. You have just taught your puppy that if I cry I’ll get the attention. If you leave the puppy alone in a quiet place they will stop crying. Don’t give in! It’s also possible that your puppy may be indicating that they have to go to the bathroom. If so wait until they stop winning and immediately take them out to go potty and praise them and return them to the crate.
When first bringing a new puppy home it’s comforting for some puppy's to be close to you and not feel isolated. You can put the crate near your bedroom and as the puppy become more comfortable with their new home you can gradually move the crate to another location. On the other hand some puppy's that hear the slightest rustling noise, that will initiate crying. If that's the case place the puppy's crate in a location where they can't be disturbed by any noise.
There are several things that you can do to make your puppy’s time in the crate more soothing. Putting a sheet/blanket that covers the crate can be comforting for the puppy. Lights out! Also, keep any bed, towels or toys the puppy may have had previously had and put them in the crate. A familiar item can be reassuring.
One of the key factors in crate training puppies is keeping the training positive and changes gradual which will help associate the crate as a positive and welcomed experience for your puppy. Crate training a puppy effectively will also be valuable as an adult dog. Take the time to do it right. Keep in mind that each lesson you and your puppy work on is an opportunity to build trust and deepen the bond with that special fur ball.