Crate training your Mastiff will give him a safe place to call his home, give you peace of mind that he won't destroy the house, and help with safe car travel in his new surroundings. Crate training is a sensitive issue and you need to approach it with patience and consistency. You can't expect to stick your dog in a crate, leave for several hours, and have him want to ever be in there again. You have to slowly let him take ownership of the space and learn to love it. Crate training your Mastiff puppy the right way will pay off for the rest of his life.
Make sure you get the proper crate for your needs. A wire crate is good for home and allows your puppy to see everything that's going on in the world. A hardshell crate is safer for travel because they can't collapse down, but make sure they have proper ventilation. Another consideration for you is size. Your puppy is tiny, cute, and cuddly now, but in six months he is going to be huge! If you purchase a crate your puppy will grow into, make sure you purchase a divider so he can grow with the crate. Too much room in the crate can be less effective in potty training since the puppy can go the bathroom without messing up his bedding. You can often find second-hand crates and upgrade them as he grows.
There are several ways to crate train your Mastiff puppy depending on his personality and your daily routines. Check out the three methods listed below and pick the best one for you and your buddy. If you take your time and listen to your dog, he'll learn to love the crate.
I am just looking to start my pup off right. he is only 8 days old. I'm researching to provide the best care for my little man. I pick him up November 15th.
Hi there! The best thing you can do for your new puppy is to start off with positive reinforcement based training techniques. And as much socialization as possible! THAT is more important than commands. You can always teach commands. But a properly socialized dog will give you nearly zero behavioral issues. Get him used to being handles for the times he may need a groomer or to go to the vet. Touch his paws, rub his ears, brush his teeth, brush his fur. Expose him to water, loud noises, different environments. And while doing all of this, provide him with treats and make it fun. As he gets his vaccines, expose him to people of all ages, and as many dogs as you can.
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We are struggling to introduce his crate to him, he’s happy to go inside and wander in and stay in there for up to 10-15 minutes especially with his Kong but overnight is not working, any suggestions?
Hello! Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.
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Hi there! My new puppy is such a good boy, but he cries every time he goes in the crate. We have been trying to ignore him but it’s hard to differentiate if he’s crying because he needs to go potty or if he’s crying because he just wants to have fun outside the crate. How can I fix this? Last time, he went in his crate after we took him outside and he was crying so we ignored him and did not realize that he was crying because he needed to potty so badly. He sadly ended up going in the crate. Do you have any advice? We need it badly!
Hi there. It sounds like you have dual issues. So let's start with some potty training. That will coincide with crate training. Puppies can typically hold their bladders for one hour per month of age, and they typically have to go #2 about 20 minutes after eating or consuming a bone or a fair amount of treats. So starting him on a regimented schedule of sorts will really help. Morning: Potty time, reward him for going potty outside. This can be done with lots of treats and/or praise. Breakfast, then out to potty again after about 20 minutes. Do some form of exercise with him whether it's a walk or fetch (although he probably doesn't know it yet) or just running around. Kennel time. Give him something exciting that he only gets in the kennel. Right now because we are working on potty training also, any treat based toy isn't a great idea. So some other form of chewy toy would work just fine. You know his bladder and bowels are empty, he has been exercised a bit, so you can knowingly leave him in there for at least an hour and a half while you're getting this schedule going. Try your best to ignore him completely. He is safe. He is fed, and had lots of attention. When the time is up, take him outside immediately and praise him if he goes potty. He will likely go, but if not, don't go back in until he has if this is feasible. You will want to repeat this schedule and slowly increase the amount of time he is left in the kennel until he gets it. It may seem a little hopeless or like a lot of work right now. But relief is in sight! He WILL get the associations. It may take until he is 4 months old, but he will get it. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.
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I just got a puppy and he is constantly whining and barking in the evening when he is crated. We were advised not to comfort him during this time if not he will relate comforting when he whines as a norm. Any suggestions to make him more relaxed in the crate?
Thank you for the question about Murphy. I assume you mean in the evening when it is bedtime? Is he okay in the crate when you are out (as far as you know?). I would try the Food Association Method shown on this page; it is a gradual way to get Murphy to accept the crate without it being a drastic thing for him. If Murphy is crated in another room at bedtime, you can try having his crate in your room. Sometimes the closeness settles a dog down. Then, once he is used to the routine, you can gradually move the crate out of the room (only move the crate inches per night) until it is back where you want it. This guide also has excellent tips such as hiding treats in the crate so that Murphy ventures in on his own now and then and finds out it is a fun place to be: https://wagwalking.com/training/crate-train-a-beagle-puppy. As for calming him at night, remember that his bladder is not yet mature and he may need to go outside for a pee in the middle of the night. If he is desperate to pee in the morning, that may be part of the problem and a middle of the night pee break could solve the issue. There are more tips here: https://wagwalking.com/training/crate-train-golden-retriever-at-night and here:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-puppy-to-not-cry-at-night. You can also try dog appeasing pheromones. These are released into the room via an infuser and work well to calm dogs. Good luck!
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My puppy English Mastiff I have to leave at home during the day and she stays in her kennel for at least 7 hours a time I know I don't like to leave her that long but I have to work. she'll go in her kennel and sleep most of the time I guess this would be considered her safe place am I doing this right?
Hello Emily, The main issue with what you are doing is that a 7 week old puppy can only hold their bladder for a maximum of 2-3 hours, which means that pup will be forced to go potty in her crate - which will teach her to use the crate as a toilet and will make it impossible to crate train and use the crate for potty training - which is the easiest way to potty train. Do what you need to do for work, but until she is older you will need to confine her in an exercise pen with a real grass pad for potty training so that she isn't forced to potty in her crate. When she is old enough to hold it the entire time you are gone (generally 6-7 months if you don't come home for lunch), then you will have to transition her to crate training at that point. I still suggest getting her used to the crate while you are home for shorter periods though so that the transition to crate training later will be easier. Check out the article linked below and follow the Exercise Pen method. Set up an exercise pen in an area of the house you can close off from the rest of the house later - since she will be learning to go potty in that room so you don't want her continuing to potty in there as an adult. A guest bathroom is one example. Since you will transition her to crate training and pottying outside later, you will not phase out the exercise pen like the method mentions. Instead, keep using the exercise pen until she is ready for crate training, then go straight from the exercise pen to crate training. Exercise pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Use real grass pads in the exercise pen and don't put anything else absorbent in there to ensure she pees only on the grass pads. Use real grass not astroturf, such as the ones below: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com If you want to give pup a bed that's not absorbent, check out cot type beds or www.primopads.com Finally, when you get ready to crate train, switch to a crate training method for potty training and close off the entrance to the room where the exercise pen used to be so that she won't potty in there anymore. Since she will be home alone a lot, I suggest feeding her her breakfast and lunch in dog food stuffed hollow chew toys like Kongs, to give her something to do. Leaving pup home alone all day makes training harder and isn't ideal, but unfortunately not everyone has the option to stay home while raising a puppy. The most important things you can do to ensure she does well is to tackle potty training well like I outlined above (If you come home 1-2 times during the day and aren't gone the entire 7 hours straight, you can go right into crate training), to be intentional about socializing pup a lot in the evenings and weekends, and to give pup what she needs mentally and physically when you are at home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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