How to Crate Train a Rottweiler Puppy

Medium
3-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

Far too many dog owners seem to believe crating a Rottweiler is cruel and inhumane. Yet, the reality is that this is simply not the case if you take the proper approach to crate training your Rottie. Bear in mind that crate training a puppy tends to be significantly easier than training an older dog, but no matter what age your dog is, you can still crate train him, it might just take a little longer. However, if you are going to train your pup, remember that his tiny bladder cannot hold much, so he needs to be taken outside frequently.

Although one of the main reasons many people choose to crate train their Rotties is as a part of potty training, we are concentrating on training your pup to see his crate as his den. There is a big difference in some ways, yet most dogs will avoid soiling their bed or den, so in a way, crate training can help with potty training as an incidental side benefit. 

Defining Tasks

The task at hand is to train your pup to go into his crate on command and to remain there without fussing for long periods of time such as when are at work or when you are trying to sleep at night. The idea is to teach your dog that the crate is his "den" and that it is perfectly okay if he spends time in it. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

In some cases, dogs will enter out of curiosity, like what they find, and stay in there on their own. But in most cases, you will need to work with your Rottie until he is ready to accept the fact he must spend hours in his crate. Crate training a Rottweiler accomplishes a number of things, like teaching him to chew on the toys you give him instead of inappropriate items. It can save him from injury or death that could result from getting into chemicals or electric wires. 

Getting Started

Of course, you are going to need a crate to work with. At first, you need a smaller crate, but by the time your pup reaches full size, you will need a much bigger crate. You can buy or borrow a smaller one for use while he is a pup. This is important, as a crate that is too big for your pup will make him nervous and could lead to his using one corner as a potty since there plenty of space. One that is too small will not give him enough room to move around in.

Be sure you set up the crate with a pad or carpeting, a bed, a water bottle and, of course, a selection of your pup's favorite chew toys. The idea is to turn the crate from a bare wire cage into a comfortable den your pup will enjoy spending time in. 

The Love My Crate Method

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Step
1
Show the treat
Show your puppy one of his favorite treats and let him get a good whiff of it. Then toss the treat all the way to the very back of the crate. When your pup goes in to retrieve the treat, make sure you praise him heavily. Repeat this over the course of several days without closing the door.
Step
2
Dinner and a movie
Well, maybe no movie, but you can start feeding your Rottie inside his crate. Place his food bowl inside the crate towards the back and step back. Leave the door open for now. Do this for several meals and then start closing the door. As soon as he is done eating, open the door and take him outside.
Step
3
While you are busy
Put your pup in the crate in 30-minute intervals while you go about your chores around the house. Be sure he has toys to keep him busy. It might also help if you take him out and exercise him a little at first to tire him out.
Step
4
Add more time
Continue leaving your pup in his crate for longer periods of time until he can stay in it for as long as you need him to without fussing.
Step
5
And the rest
The rest is all about practice, practice, and more practice. Just always make sure that his crate is an inviting place your Rottie won't mind spending time in.
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The Quieting Down Method

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Step
1
Establish your pup's new home
Set up your Rottie's crate in a part of the house where he will be with the family, but not in the main flow of traffic. Make sure your pup sees you setting it up. Place a few toys in it and bury a treat under them.
Step
2
Give the cue
Give your pup the cue word "kennel" or "crate" and then place him in the crate near the toys.
Step
3
Let him stay
Let your pup stay in the crate, which he will do while he searches for the treat he can smell. Repeat over several days until he gets used to being in the crate.
Step
4
Close the door
Time to start closing the door. At first, it won't bother him, but once his treats are gone, he may start barking and fussing. When he does, go on about your daily routine.
Step
5
When he calms down
Your Rottie will only make a fuss for so long--when he finally calms down, go ahead and let him out using your cue "come out." When he does, praise him and give him a treat before taking him outside to pee.
Step
6
Finish up
The only thing left to do is extend the amount of time he spends in his crate before you take him out. In time, he will come to see his crate as a den and will be happy to spend time in it.
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The Create a Den Method

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Step
1
Find a home for the crate
Find a permanent spot in your home for the crate. One where your pup can still interact with everyone, but that is not in the way. Using soft carpeting, a comfortable puppy bed, a few toys, and either a crate cover or a blanket make a nice den for your pup.
Step
2
Add one Rottie
Go ahead and pick up your pup and put him in his new den, show him his toys, then close the door and let him explore. He might be done in a few seconds, it might take several minutes. Let him set the pace to a point.
Step
3
Al that noise
At some point, your pup is going to let you know just how upset he is at being locked in the crate. It’s only natural as no dog likes being locked up. Let him have his say, it won't last long. When he stops fussing and calms down, praise him and give him a tasty treat.
Step
4
Let him out
Let your pup out of his crate and take him out to go potty and get some exercise.
Step
5
Keep working at it
Keep working with your pup to extend the time he spends in his crate until he goes in willingly with no fuss. In time you may even find your Rottie napping in there all by himself. When he does this, you know you have done a good job.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Harley
Rottweiler
4 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Harley
Rottweiler
4 Months

Her cage i feel like my husband isnt giving her much room and i dont want her to hate the cage as we wirk 8 hours a day. I have posted a pic as well as a pic of her

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kristine, For potty training the crate should be just big enough that pup can lie down (without having to be super curled up), turn around, and stand up. If the crate is big enough that pup can go potty in one end and stand in the other end to avoid it, the crate is too big and the the crate won't encourage a pup's natural desire to hold their bladder in the crate. Without seeing a picture of puppy inside the crate I can't tell you for sure whether the crate is the correct size. I hope that helps you determine whether to leave it or change the size. Once puppy is fully potty trained in a few months, pup can have more space in the crate without risking an accident. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Reggie
Rottweiler
5 Months
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Question
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Reggie
Rottweiler
5 Months

Hey what are some things I should watch for when it comes to crate training. Rottweilers have a tendency to have separation anxiety. Is there any risk of him hurting himself when left in for long periods of time.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Very cute! First, try to ensure that Reggie likes his crate. This is a good guide on crate training: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate. It is never ideal for any dog to have to be in a crate for a long time - I assume you mean while you are at work? An exercise pen area is a great alternative. Reggie would be safe but have more room to move around as no doubt he'll grow quickly! Here is an excellent article on setting up an area where Reggie will be safe when you are out. Provide him with toys (interactive feeders to keep him mentally challenged and busy). https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. Good luck and enjoy!

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Question
Bowie
Rottweiler
8 Weeks
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Question
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Bowie
Rottweiler
8 Weeks

My family and I have done research aplenty but have never trained a dog.
We want to do right by our boy, Bo!
Just having someone tell us we’re doing right or wrong would be awesome.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
90 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! I am sending you a fair amount of info. Some of it, you may know already, and some of it may sound remedial. But the key with crate training at a young age, is patience. First off, the crate should be large enough that your pup can stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. You don’t want one that’s too big, however, because the cozy size helps create a safe feeling for your dog as they are natural den animals. Also remember that until a dog is around 4 months of age, they can only hold their bladders for 1 hour per month old. So expect roughly 2 hours right now. That is after the last potty break, and no new intake of water. Also, dogs usually have to eliminate their bowels about 20 minutes after eating solid food. Those tips will help you figure out a schedule to begin the crate training. Below are some tips to get started: 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 doesn't associate crating with being left alone. All of these tips can be modified to fit your dynamic. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

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