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How to Crate Train Your Bernedoodle Puppy?

To crate train your Bernedoodle puppy is an essential aspect of raising a well-behaved dog. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of crate training step by step, providing valuable insights, tips, and techniques to make the experience as smooth as possible for both you and your furry friend.

To crate train your Bernedoodle puppy, start by choosing the right-sized crate, gradually introducing them to it with positive associations, and using positive reinforcement for good behavior inside the crate. Be patient, establish a consistent routine, and never use the crate for punishment. Gradually increase crate time, always ensuring your puppy has sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. Over time, your Bernedoodle will view the crate as a safe and comfortable space.

Understanding the Bernedoodle Breed and Why It is Important to Crate Train

Before diving into crate training, it’s essential to understand the Bernedoodle breed’s characteristics and needs. Bernedoodles are a crossbreed between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle, resulting in a friendly, intelligent, and playful dog with a charming personality. They come in various sizes, depending on the parentage, and are known for their wavy to curly coats, which require regular grooming.

Here are some key characteristics of Bernedoodles to keep in mind during crate training:

  • Sociable Nature: Bernedoodles are typically sociable dogs that love spending time with their families. They thrive on human interaction and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods.
  • Intelligence: These dogs are highly intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train.
  • Energy Levels: Bernedoodles are moderately active dogs. They need regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
  • Grooming: Their coats require regular brushing and grooming to prevent matting and maintain their appearance.

Understanding Why You Need to Crate Train Your Bernedoodle

Before we dive into the step-by-step process of crate training your Bernedoodle, it’s important to understand what crate training is and why it is beneficial for your puppy.

What is Crate Training?

Crate training is the process of teaching your puppy to view their crate as a safe and comfortable den. It involves using a crate, typically made of metal or plastic, as a designated space for your puppy to rest, sleep, and stay when you are not able to supervise them.

What are the Benefits if You Crate Train Your Bernedoodle?

Crate training offers several benefits for both you and your Bernedoodle puppy:

  • Housebreaking: Crates can help in housebreaking your puppy as dogs instinctively avoid soiling their sleeping area. This encourages them to hold their bladder and bowel movements until they are let outside.
  • Safety: Crates provide a safe and secure environment for your puppy when you can’t supervise them, preventing them from getting into potentially dangerous situations.
  • Reduced Separation Anxiety: When used correctly, a crate can help reduce separation anxiety by giving your puppy a sense of security and a familiar space to relax in when you’re not around.
  • Travel: Crate training can make travel with your Bernedoodle easier and less stressful, as your puppy will already be comfortable with the confinement of a crate.
  • Behavioral Management: It helps in preventing destructive behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or belongings, when you’re not around to redirect their attention.

Choosing the Right Crate

Selecting the right crate for your Bernedoodle puppy is the first step in crate training. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the perfect crate:

Size Matters

The crate should be just the right size for your Bernedoodle. It should be large enough for your puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably but not so spacious that they can use one end as a bathroom. Bernedoodle puppies come in various sizes, so make sure to choose a crate that accommodates your specific puppy’s growth potential.

Crate Type

There are different types of crates available, including wire crates, plastic crates, and soft-sided crates. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages:

  • Wire Crates: These crates offer good ventilation and visibility. They are collapsible for easy storage and are suitable for dogs who prefer to see their surroundings.
  • Plastic Crates: Plastic crates are often used for air travel and can create a cozy den-like atmosphere. They provide more privacy but have limited ventilation.
  • Soft-Sided Crates: Soft-sided crates are lightweight and portable but are best suited for well-behaved puppies who won’t chew or scratch their way out.

Consider your Bernedoodle’s needs and your specific situation when choosing the crate type.

Quality and Durability

Invest in a high-quality crate that will last throughout your Bernedoodle’s life. While it may be tempting to go for a cheaper option, a sturdy and durable crate is a long-term investment that ensures your puppy’s safety and comfort.

Safety Features

Ensure the crate has safety features such as secure latches and no sharp edges that could harm your puppy. Additionally, check for any small gaps or openings where your puppy’s paws or head could get stuck.

Crate Location

Decide where you will place the crate in your home. It should be in a quiet and low-traffic area where your puppy can have some privacy. Avoid placing the crate near heating vents, direct sunlight, or drafts, as extreme temperatures can make the crate uncomfortable.

Once you’ve chosen the right crate, it’s time to introduce your Bernedoodle puppy to it and start the crate training process.

Introducing Your Bernedoodle to the Crate

Before diving into crate training, allow your Bernedoodle puppy to become familiar with the crate gradually. Follow these steps:

  • Make the Crate Appealing: Place a soft blanket, towel, or a comfortable dog bed inside the crate to make it inviting and cozy. You can also include some of your puppy’s favorite toys or treats.
  • Let Your Puppy Explore: Allow your puppy to explore the crate at their own pace. Keep the crate door open and let them go in and out freely. Do not force or rush this process.
  • Positive Associations: Whenever your puppy voluntarily enters the crate, offer praise and treats to create positive associations. You want your puppy to view the crate as a pleasant place.
  • Mealtime in the Crate: Gradually introduce meals in the crate. Start by placing your puppy’s food bowl near the crate and progressively move it inside. This encourages your puppy to associate the crate with positive experiences.
  • Close the Door Briefly: Once your puppy seems comfortable entering the crate for meals, gently close the door for a short period while they eat. Stay nearby to ensure your puppy remains calm. Gradually extend the time the door is closed after mealtime.
  • Extend Crate Time Gradually: As your puppy becomes more comfortable with the crate, gradually increase the amount of time they spend inside with the door closed. Start with just a few minutes and gradually work up to longer periods.

Establishing a Crate Training Schedule

Consistency is key to successful crate training. Establishing a routine helps your Bernedoodle puppy understand when it’s time to go in the crate and when it’s time to come out. Here’s a sample crate training schedule:

Morning

  • Wake up and immediately take your puppy outside to eliminate.
  • Bring your puppy inside and place them in the crate with a favorite toy or treat while you prepare their breakfast.
  • After breakfast, take your puppy outside again for a bathroom break.

Mid-Morning

  • Spend some playtime with your puppy.
  • If you need to leave the house, place your puppy in the crate for a short period with a toy or puzzle feeder.

Lunchtime

  • Take your puppy outside for a bathroom break.
  • Return your puppy to the crate with a toy or chew treat while you eat lunch or attend to other tasks.

Afternoon

  • More playtime and outdoor exercise for your puppy.
  • Crate your puppy during periods when you can’t supervise them.

Evening

  • Dinner time for your puppy, followed by an outdoor bathroom break.
  • Spend quality time with your puppy, providing mental and physical stimulation.
  • Place your puppy in the crate for short periods as needed.

Bedtime

  • Take your puppy outside for a final bathroom break.
  • Place your puppy in the crate for the night, ensuring they have a comfortable bed and a favorite toy.

Remember that puppies have limited bladder control, so you’ll need to take them outside frequently, especially during the initial stages of crate training.

Do’s and Don’ts When Your Crate Train Your Bernedoodle

Crate training can be a delicate process, and it’s important to follow some do’s and don’ts to ensure success and avoid common pitfalls.

Do’s:

  • Make the crate comfortable: Ensure your puppy’s crate is a cozy and inviting space with soft bedding and familiar toys.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your puppy with treats and praise when they enter the crate willingly or behave well inside.
  • Start with short periods: Initially, keep crate time short and gradually extend it to prevent your puppy from feeling trapped or anxious.
  • Stick to a schedule: Consistency is key, so maintain a routine for feeding, bathroom breaks, and crate time.
  • Exercise and play: Ensure your Bernedoodle gets plenty of exercise and playtime outside the crate to expend energy.

Don’ts:

  • Punishment: Never use the crate as a form of punishment. Your puppy should associate it with positive experiences.
  • Forceful confinement: Avoid forcing your puppy into the crate or slamming the door shut. This can create a negative association with the crate.
  • Ignoring distress: If your puppy is distressed or anxious in the crate, don’t ignore their cries. Address their needs and comfort them, then try again later.
  • Leaving your puppy too long: Puppies can’t hold their bladder for extended periods. Avoid leaving your puppy in the crate for too long, and be prepared to take them outside frequently.

How to Handle Whining and Crying When You Crate Train Your Bernedoodle

It’s common for puppies to whine or cry when first introduced to the crate, especially if they are not used to confinement. Here’s how to handle it:

  • Be Patient: Remember that it’s natural for puppies to protest initially. Be patient and avoid giving in to their cries by letting them out immediately.
  • Gradual Adjustment Continue with the crate training schedule, gradually increasing the time your puppy spends inside. Over time, most puppies become more comfortable with the crate and stop whining.
  • Avoid Punishment: Never scold or punish your puppy for whining or crying in the crate. This can create a negative association with the crate and increase anxiety.
  • Comfort and Calmness: If your puppy whines, wait for a brief moment of silence before opening the crate. When you do open it, do so calmly and avoid making a big fuss. This teaches your puppy that quiet behavior is rewarded with freedom.
  • Check for Needs: Ensure your puppy’s basic needs are met before crating them. Make sure they have been fed, have had a bathroom break, and have received some exercise and attention.

Gradually Increasing Crate Time When You Crate Train Your Bernedoodle

As your Bernedoodle puppy becomes more comfortable with the crate, you can gradually increase the amount of time they spend inside. Here’s a step-by-step process:

  • Short Intervals: Start by crating your puppy for short intervals, such as 10 to 15 minutes. Stay nearby, so your puppy doesn’t feel abandoned.
  • Extend the Time: Gradually increase the time your puppy spends in the crate, both when you’re at home and when you need to leave the house. Aim for increments of 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Practice Departures: Practice leaving your puppy in the crate and returning several times a day, even when you don’t need to go anywhere. This helps your puppy become accustomed to your departures and arrivals without anxiety.
  • Provide Entertainment: Give your puppy appropriate toys or puzzle feeders to keep them occupied during crate time. This can help alleviate boredom and anxiety.
  • Avoid Prolonged Confinement: While it’s essential to gradually increase crate time, avoid leaving your puppy crated for excessively long periods, especially during the day. Puppies need frequent bathroom breaks and social interaction.

How to Crate Train Your Bernedoodle at Night

Crate training at night is crucial for your puppy’s sleep routine and your own. Here’s how to make the nighttime crate training process smoother:

  • Bedtime Routine: Establish a consistent bedtime routine for your puppy. This can include a final bathroom break, some quiet playtime, and a soothing bedtime phrase like “goodnight.”
  • Crate Placement: Place your puppy’s crate in your bedroom at night. This allows them to feel close to you and can provide comfort during the night.
  • Gradual Separation: Initially, you may need to sleep near the crate to reassure your puppy. Gradually move farther away from the crate each night until your puppy is comfortable sleeping alone.
  • Midnight Potty Break: During the first few weeks, be prepared for a midnight potty break. Puppies have smaller bladders and may need to go out during the night.
  • Be Patient: Nighttime crate training can be challenging, especially in the beginning. Be patient and consistent, and your puppy will eventually adjust to the routine.

What are the Common Challenges When You Crate Train Your Bernedoodle

While crate training is generally effective, you may encounter some challenges along the way. Here are common issues and how to address them:

  • Accidents in the Crate: If your puppy has accidents in the crate, it may be because the crate is too large, or they were left inside for too long. Ensure the crate size is appropriate, and adjust the schedule accordingly.
  • Destructive Behavior: Some puppies may exhibit destructive behavior when crated, such as chewing or scratching the crate. This can be a sign of anxiety or boredom. Provide appropriate toys and ensure your puppy gets enough exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Fear of the Crate: If your puppy shows fear or anxiety when near the crate, go back to the basics and reintroduce the crate slowly. Use positive reinforcement to create a positive association with the crate.
  • Excessive Whining: Persistent whining or crying can be challenging. Stick to the training process, and avoid giving in to your puppy’s demands. Be patient and consistent, and the whining should decrease over time.

When to Gradually Phase Out the Crate

Crate training doesn’t last forever. Once your Bernedoodle puppy matures and demonstrates reliability in terms of housebreaking and behavior, you can gradually phase out the crate:

  • Monitor Behavior: Keep a close eye on your puppy’s behavior both inside and outside the crate. If they consistently exhibit good behavior and have no accidents, it may be a sign that they are ready for more freedom.
  • Gradual Freedom: Start by allowing your puppy limited freedom in a puppy-proofed area of your home while you are present. Be prepared to intervene if needed.
  • Supervised Freedom: As your puppy demonstrates responsibility, gradually extend the periods of supervised freedom. Continue to monitor their behavior and provide guidance.
  • Complete Freedom: Once your Bernedoodle is fully house-trained and consistently well-behaved, you can consider giving them complete freedom in your home when you are away.

Remember that the timeline for phasing out the crate varies from puppy to puppy, and some may need longer crate training than others.

Crate training your Bernedoodle puppy is a valuable investment in their overall well-being and your peace of mind. It provides a safe and comfortable space for your puppy, helps with housebreaking, reduces separation anxiety, and contributes to better behavior. By choosing the right crate, introducing it gradually, establishing a consistent schedule, and following the do’s and don’ts of crate training, you can ensure a positive and successful crate training experience for your Bernedoodle.

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