How to Crate Train a German Shepherd
Crate training a German Shepherd is not as complicated as many people think. It’s pretty easy to do with the correct information and preparation. This article will discuss how to crate train a German Shepherd from start to finish so that your pup enjoys being in his crate and feels safe there.
Why it’s an Excellent Idea to Crate Train Your GSD
The statement that you just said is very true. But a crate isn’t the only way to train a puppy. We will not talk about those details because this article is not about that.
There are many other reasons to train your dog and use a crate. It can be good for them and help you out too.
Imagine this – When you bring a puppy home, he might do bad things. He might knock over plants and make clothes all over the floor. He might chew on an electrical cord. Such a young and small creature in your home is a bad idea because he can do these things.
It is too hard to watch your dog all the time, so it’s best to keep him in a crate while he learns what he can and cannot do. That way, you won’t have to worry about him getting into trouble.
A Den of His Own
Dogs like to find a place where they feel safe. They don’t need ample space, but not too small either. Dogs are happy in the space when they can escape when it is time for them to rest from the noise outside.
A dog running loose in your car can cause accidents to happen. You can put your dog in a box or something. If you are going to fly with your dog, you will also need him in a box. If you visit friends, the box will make the dog feel safer in new places.
Hindy’s dog Jack had surgery yesterday. He is recovering in his crate. You never know when an animal will become paralyzed and need spinal surgery.
He needs to be in a safe place for a long time, and the crate is perfect. It helps him get better when he has surgery, gets sick or injured. He loves it!
House Training Tool
When you train your dog, they will not want to do their business in their house because it is where they live. It is an excellent way to keep your home clean.
Dog Crate Sizes: How to Choose the Best for Your Dog
There are a lot of many types, sizes, and colors of dog crates. It might be hard to decide which one to get. But you can start by looking at this guideline. You can look at the different styles after that.
Your dog needs enough space no matter what you use the crate for. If it is too big, they will have trouble doing house training when they are older.
The Purpose will Serve
The crate size depends on what you want to use it for. If you only want to use it for house training, a smaller one will work. But if you’re planning to keep your dog in the crate all its life, then a larger one is better.
If your dog’s crate is too small, they will not want to go in it. It should be big enough for them. They should be able to stand and turn around inside the crate.
If your crate is too big, then your dog might be able to go to the back of the crate and pee or poop. This will make it more comfortable for him. If you need to train your dog, they might grow out of their crate. You will need to buy a new one. If you want to save money, you should buy a bigger one than before.
Long Term Use
If you wish to have your dog have a big crate, buy a big one. Some crates come with dividers. You can change the crate size depending on how large your dog is. If the crate doesn’t come with dividers, use something else to block off any extra space in the crate.
Measuring Your German Shepherd for a Crate
This part is for people who will use a crate. You measure from its nose to the end of its tail. Then you add 4-6 inches to get the size of your dog’s crate. You need to know how tall it is, so you should also measure its head and add 4-6″ more.
Time to do Some Legwork
If you have never seen a crate, look at pet stores. Bring your dog with you and try it out if you want to get a dog. Or buy one online if you wish.
6 Types of Dog Crates
Have you started to look for a crate for your dog? It can be hard to find the right one. There are many different crates, but not all are the same. I have listed some of them with their pros and cons so that you can choose one more easily.
Wire baskets are suitable for storing things like plastic bags. Soft-sided baskets can store fabric items like clothes, blankets, etc. They are stylish to blend with your décor.
Here are some things to think about before you decide.
It is good to have a crate that can be moved around because you might need it in different places. It is best to have one spot for it, so people don’t trip over it. Airline-approved crates are good because they are not too big and they are easy to clean. If you want the crate for a long time, make sure that the crate is sturdy. You might wish to use the crate to blend into your decor or serve multiple purposes like being a bed or providing a quiet place if you need to recover from surgery, illness, or injury.
Pros and Cons of Wire Crates
The open view might stress some dogs, but you can cover the crate. Models that have one or two doors that swing outward or slide up are more space-friendly than ones with one door. You can quickly see your dog, and he can see what is going on. Some dogs pee or poop out of the crate. If your puppy is too busy, you can cover it with something. The crate can be heavy and make noise when your dog moves around. You can also buy a floor tray to help clean your dog’s paws if they pee or poop on the floor. The crate should also be sturdy and chew-proof in case your dog tries to break out. It is easy to fold flat for transport or storage if you need to move it somewhere else quickly, like storing it in your car when you go on vacation.
Although normally used for air travel, they can also be used for crate training.
Pros and Cons of Plastic Crates
Some people like metal crates better because they are lighter and easier to carry. They also have a good weight distribution. However, the plastic crates can be covered up with a top or turned into a bed. The metal crate is not as good at keeping out cold air, so it is not as insulated against the cold. The plastic crate does not have many openings for dogs to see through, making them feel stressed. Plastic crates also do not allow much air circulation, which could cause your puppy to overheat in it if it’s too hot outside or inside of the house. Harder for Houdini to escape from. Some people have thin plastic doors, which are dangerous for puppies to chew on. Wire doors are available so that your puppy cannot chew on them. If you own a large crate, it can be hard to prevent your dog from escaping over the edge of the floor, so you might buy more than one crate during his lifetime. The indentation around the edge of the floor allows pee to drain away from where he is lying (in theory). Some colors are available for this toy. It is easy to clean, and if you plan to replace the toy when your puppy gets bigger, it is a good idea to get a reasonably priced one that does not have to be approved by the airline.
Some people don’t like to keep their dogs in a cage, even though that’s not true. For these people, it might be easier to use a soft-sided crate.
Pros and Cons of Fabric/Soft-Sided Crates
Pros: It’s light and easy to carry. It takes up little room. There are many designs, colors, and fabrics for people who like fashion.
Cons: The material can be easily damaged, so it is not a good choice for those who want something that will last for a long time. Dogs can unzip the zipper if they try hard enough because puppies can chew through the fabric easily as well as other dogs in some situations. The material is challenging to clean as well – it catches dirt very quickly and does not stay clean very easily.
This includes wood, rattan, and wicker. These are nicer-looking units.
Pros and Cons of Stylish Crates
This type of carpet can be challenging to find a perfect match with your décor. People shouldn’t have a problem finding one that blends in well. However, this type of carpet is not suitable for destructive dogs because they can easily damage the fabric. The top of the carpet can be used as a table, so you do not need to buy an extra piece of furniture. This is not recommended for house training because the dog’s urine and feces will make the material stain and smell bad. It is suitable for use as a bed or hiding spot since it cannot be seen by other people walking around your home, but it might be expensive compared to other options like tile flooring or laminate wood flooring.
My Crate Recommendation for House Training
Your dog needs a crate. Anyone can make their own choice about the type of crate. But if you don’t mind, I will tell you my thoughts on the subject. The best, most sensible, and practical type of crate is a wire one.
Here’s why – Dog crates are easy to clean and have open doors. They are strong. They can be adjusted to fit your puppy’s size. It will not get wet when you put it on the outside because the crate has excellent airflow. You can cover the dog crate with a cloth if you want your pup inside but not part of what is going on outside. Dog crates fold up easily for transport or storage, and they are economical because you only need one.
The Best Place To Put a Crate For Puppy Training
The best place for a doghouse is a place where there are lots of people and where it is quiet.
For training, you can use a crate. You may want to use it when you are not home or for safety. Place the crate near where people are in the house, like the kitchen or living room. Your puppy wants to be seen and hear everything that is happening. It is not fair if he cannot see what is happening because he is in a crate somewhere else out of sight on his own.
It’s good to start your puppy by sleeping in the bedroom with you. It can be scary if they sleep alone.
If you let your puppy sleep in your room for a few days, he will feel safe and sound. If he is fussing or crying, you will hear him. That way, if he needs to go outside, but you don’t hear him, he won’t have to go in his crate and make a mess of things.
If you don’t want your puppy to sleep in your room for a long time, start moving the crate to its final spot. Move it a little bit each night until you get it to the location where the dog will sleep.
When choosing the location
Don’t let drafts come in if you want your house to be warm. Drafts can come in through doors or cracks. You should also keep it away from heaters or fireplaces so that the air doesn’t get too hot.
Second crate, or lots of moving?
Do you move your crate between the two places or get a second one? I don’t know what’s best for you. But I can tell you to think about these things.
Do you want your dog to sleep in your room? Or do you want him to sleep in a crate? You can get away with just one if it is for a short period, but if not, you will need two. If you decide on getting another crate, think about what other things it can be used for. For example, it might be suitable for flying with your dog if the airline says they are approved.
Other things to Put in a Dog Crate: Besides Your Dog
So you have decided on a crate. Now we need to determine what will be inside the crate. You should not put your dog in a bear cage, so think about adding pillows and blankets for the dog to lie on and other things that make it feel nice and cozy.
Puppies can destroy things. Some puppies chew more than others, but for now, we are going to assume that your puppy is one of the big chewers until we learn otherwise. You may want to put a soft bed in there, but it would be a mistake.
Puppies can chew on things, and maybe they will choke. There are two options: the Kuranda pet bed or Amazon’s pet bolster bed. Durable and comfortable for your puppy, but not 100% chew proof.
Once you see that your dog does not chew up his bedding, you can put any type of bedding in there.
Leave a few toys for your puppy. Soft and squeaky toys can be destroyed easily. They should only be left when the puppy is supervised.
Why not get a toy that is tough and long-lasting? You can put food and treats inside for your dog. It will keep them busy.
Put it in the freezer to make it last longer. Toys also help keep your dog entertained.
When you put your dog inside a crate, he will know it means “fun time” because he gets cool stuff.
Metal crates are see-through. You may want to buy a cover if you use one. Plastic crates are not very see-through, so you’re probably okay without one.
Is your child nervous or afraid of people? Does he want to get out of the house and join in the fun? If you answered yes to either question, putting a cover on may help him feel more secure. You might only use it at night but try experimenting.
The next step is to find something you can use as a cover. Many people use sheets or blankets, which would be fine, but sometimes they are not enough.
Your dog does not need anything else to play with because he can get something through the bars and have a lot of fun. But if there are small pieces, there is a chance that they will go into his nose or mouth and cause problems.
It’s best to get a cover that fits snugly around the crate.
5 Easy Steps on How to Crate Train a German Shepherd?
Slow is good; very slow is better.
Don’t move on to the next step with training your dog unless he is relaxed and comfortable. The sessions should only last about 5 minutes. Do not let them get bored or lose focus.
If he is showing signs of stress, fear, or anxiety at any point, stop what you are doing.
Think about the good things that happened to you when you were training. If you start thinking about that, then it will be easier to train later when bad things are happening.
The Duration for Crate Training Depends on Your Dog
It can vary in duration for a dog to get used to its crate. Some dogs will walk right in and make themselves at home, but other dogs will take a long time. You need patience, and you need to be committed when this happens because sometimes it can take a long time for your dog to get used to the crate.
You want to have a lot of treats for your dog. Those are things that they love that you usually do not give them. When training, it is important to have a lot of treats. Make sure those treats are small and healthy so you can train your dog well. If your dog is motivated by toys, start with a favorite toy for now.
Sit next to the crate and put a treat in it. Watch him eat it. Do this until he is ready to go into the crate for the treat.
Your dog’s fine going all the way into the crate to get his treat or toy -Now, you have to serve him a meal in there.
Put the bowl of food in the back, open the door(s) and let him eat. Praise him like crazy when he’s done.
You can now close the door and start by closing it a little bit. Open the door, then close the door a little more. Keep doing this until you can’t open the door at all.
You will do this until the door is closed (don’t lock it). Then open it. Close the door again, but only for 2 seconds. Do this until your dog is eating his meal in his crate with the door closed and locked.
At this point, he can be in his crate when you leave. You need to stop giving him attention every time you leave and come back. Start with 1 second, then try 2 seconds, and so on until the dog can be alone for a longer amount of time without whining or barking.
He loves his crate, and you will lock the door. You go away for a little while and then come back. Do this again and again, and he will be happy.
Before you go to work, take him for a walk. Play with him and make sure he has peed and pooped before you leave. If you make a big deal about coming or going (including when he is not using the dog crate), this will scare your pet and make them worried. But if you do not make a big deal, they will not be concerned either!
Going into the Crate on Cue
Rather than placing him in, you want a signal that says that he knows what to do when he hears it.
For example, when you use the words “in your crate,” he’ll start walking into the crate to get his food or toy.
Eventually, he will think of those words as meaning the action. He will know what to do anywhere he is.
Crate Training a German Shepherd Pup at Night
If you are crate training a German Shepherd puppy at night, it is okay to feel a little anxious. But these steps will help. These easy steps include:
- Put the crate somewhere that is quiet and away from where people spend time.
- Use a blanket that smells like the dog’s favorite person or animal.
- Leave the door open, so your dog can go in and out as he pleases, but only leave him in there for about 10 minutes at first before going back to check on him.
You have a puppy, and you have decided to keep the crate in your bedroom. You will keep it there until the puppy can sleep through the night.
Reasons for Your Decision
A puppy will feel safer in new places if you give him a place to be. If he barks or cries, you will know that he needs to go out. If not, the pup might pee or poop in the crate. This could make it hard for the puppy to get used to being home again.
Getting Your Pup Ready for a Good Night’s Sleep
Your child needs to exercise during the day. If they are too tired, they might not sleep well.
Regularly Take Him Out to Pee and Poop Right Before Bed
Don’t serve food or water to your pet 3 hours before bedtime. If they have a problem, ask your vet.
Whining/Barking in the crate
Ignore this person! I mean it, ignore this person! You have done everything right. You have made the puppy tired, taken him to pee or poop, and made his crate nice and comfy. Now you close the door and wait; what is that sound you are hearing?
Poor little guy! You want to check on him but don’t. He is in a new place and away from his friends. He must be scared. If he just wants attention, do not give it to him.
The second the dog sees you respond to his cries, even if you just poke your head through the door without saying anything to him, he has learned that when he whines or barks at you, you will come.
He’ll learn to bark louder next time.
Do not go down that road; your dog will bark all the time.
If you missed a step in night prep, and he likely has to go outside, wait for quiet before opening the crate door.
Handling late-night pee/poop breaks
Accept that accidents happen. Puppies cannot hold their pee very well. It is hard to see at night, and you might trip over things if you don’t have a flashlight. Put all the things you need together in one place, like a sweater, jacket, shoes, flashlight, leash, and poop bags. Take the dog out when he has to go pee or poop, and then bring him back in when he is done.
Middle of the night potty schedule
One way to help reduce or even stop the barking is to tell your dog when it’s time to go out. Start with an alarm that goes off every 2-4 hours, and if you’re not sure how long he can wait, choose a shorter interval.
If it is working well, extend the time in between alarms by 30 minutes. Do this for a few nights and then every few days. Eventually, he will sleep through the night.
This is a schedule of what to do when training your puppy. You can do it at different times if you want.
A schedule is essential because it helps people feel safe and confident. A puppy might need a schedule to help her go to the bathroom in the house or outside.
If you want your pup to be successful, then you need to make sure that they have accidents less often. The more often a puppy goes out, the more likely it is that they will be able to control when they have an accident. You should not leave a pup in their crate past when they can prevent themselves.
How long can you keep your dog crated?
8-10 weeks of age: 30-60 minutes
11-14 weeks of age: 1-3 hours
15-16 weeks of age: 3-4 hours
17+ weeks of age: 4-5 hours
Crate Training Schedule
You can swap between supervised playtime and crate time whenever you want.
You can wake up your puppy at 7:30 or 8:00. It is okay if the puppy won’t wake up until then.
How to Stop Your GSD Pup Whining in the Crate
You need to buy a crate that is the right size for your dog. Put a bed inside, and put it in an area where there are lots of people around. You should also provide water and toys for your dog so they can be happy. Make sure that you let them out during the night so they don’t mess up their crate. And cover the crate if there are too many distractions so they can calm down.
Review Your Crate Training Routine
If you have time, it might be a good idea to review your routine for when you are training your dog.
Here are some points to think about that may help:
Did you leave the door closed too soon? Could your puppy be comfortable in the crate if he was scared of being alone? Do you have a lot of family members around your house who can help take care of your puppy so he is not alone too much? Does your puppy get enough exercise and mental stimulation? Did you give him food, water or go to the bathroom before putting him in the crate, so he does not get mad at being left alone? It is hard when a dog cries. You want to take care of them. Maybe making sure that they do not need anything when they are in their crate will make them feel better.
I am guessing here, but maybe this will help you remember your process.
Start by getting him used to the crate again.
Go through the steps of getting him to love the crate again.
Spending Time Alone
You need to teach your puppy how to be alone. If you don’t, they will get unfortunate. To do this, you need to block off a small space where the puppy can go when you are not home.
Leave your puppy a toy that he doesn’t usually get. Put a treat in the Kong to keep him distracted. Spend some time with him, then leave. Don’t look at him, don’t say goodbye, and walk away from your puppy’s sight. Then come back quickly – maybe just for one second – and reward him! Do it again now for two seconds this time. You want to be able to increase how long you are gone each time so that he can learn that you will always return.
Make sure the puppy is outside. If he barks, ignore him. Only go to him when he’s quiet. Giving your puppy attention when it barks teaches it that doing this makes you come over to them. That’s not a good thing for a young pup like him, so be firm and say “no” as needed to teach them that whining and barking are not allowed.
When the dog is quiet, award it. Once your pup has gotten used to being in a room alone, try getting him back to using his crate. Not all dogs can handle crate training right away. Other dogs need more time than that.
Your puppy may have needed time to get used to you being out of his sight. That is why you should do this in a less confining environment first.
If your dog has been doing well for a while and then starts barking or whining, take him to the vet. It could be that there is a health issue.
Do’s and Don’ts
Introduce your puppy to the crate gradually. Give them safe toys. Put food in it sometimes. Put it in the corner of a room that you use all the time when you are home, like your kitchen or living room. Crate him when you are home and not use the crate for something else.
You should place your puppy in a crate when you go to bed. Make sure he has peed and pooped before going in the crate. Accidents can happen while you are sleeping, so this is important. Give him a lot of exercise during the day, especially before putting him into the crate for a long time. Take him outside right after you come home from work or school.
Don’t Do This
Crates are suitable for dogs. They like to sleep in them and use them as a substitute for supervision. You can put your dog in a crate if you’re going to be away from the house for longer than he can handle or if it is punishment. You don’t want him to get used to being home alone when he will be created, so only use crates when you leave the house. Don’t put a crate in a room with a lot of people. Put the crate in a quiet place. Let anyone bother or tease your pup while he’s in the crate because it will be bad for him. Teach him not to bark and whine by letting him out when he does that.
Anything new takes a while to understand. Read this through a few times to get an idea of what the crate is about, and then read each section, and you will understand it all.
I tried to answer as many questions as I could and make this guide for crate training.
Frequently Asked Questions about Crate Training a German Shepherd
If you have purchased a puppy, it will be easier to crate train it rather than adult GSDs. Below are practical tips to make your GSD learn to live peacefully in a crate.
If you try to train your dog in a crate that is not big enough or comfortable, you won’t get the results you want. You need to know that the crate needs to be soft and fit its size. Your dog will spend lots of time in the crate, so it needs to be perfect.
Crate training should start as soon as you bring your dog home. You will need to teach the dog about the crate if it is not already housetrained. If you don’t trust your pup to behave in the house, use a crate. If it hasn’t learned all of its rules, keep it in a crate at night. When there are small children in the house, make sure that you teach your GSD about living in a crate so that everyone can be safe during the day and night time.