The first night at their new home will be stressful and they will most likely cry when left in the crate alone. It is best to not reassure them or take them out of the crate; doing so will reward the crying and teach the puppy that crying will get them out of the crate. If you believe they need to eliminate, take them outside with no talking, petting, or praise, and give them only a couple of minutes to eliminate before putting them back in. If your puppy does not settle, you can try bringing the crate into your room and putting it beside your bed so they reel reassured by your presence. As your puppy gets more accustomed to sleeping in the crate, you can start moving it farther and farther away from your bedside.
To help you puppy go to sleep without a fuss, try tiring them out with a walk or quiet playtime before bed (high-energy play may put them into a hyper state). Have a special chew toy that they only get to have when in their crate to help keep their attention if they are not tired enough. Covering the crate with a blanket can help decrease auditory and visual stimulation.
One of the most important things you can do is help the puppy love the crate by building its value. Keep the crate in the main room of the house and remove all other dog beds to encourage the puppy to choose the crate to sleep in. Keep all the puppy’s toys there when they are not playing with them and periodically give them treats when they are inside the crate. If the puppy learns that going into the crate has value, they are more likely to be calm and happy when they are shut in there. We highly recommend Susan Garrett Crate Games series to teach you dog to love being in their crate! Check out the videos below for examples of Crate Games in action.
Start shutting the door when your puppy is going down for a nap, as they will be less likely to become upset if they are already sleepy. When they are awake and you need to put them in their crate while you are unable to watch them, give them a food-filled toy or chew toy to keep them occupied and calm.
A puppy’s crate should be large enough so that the puppy can comfortably stand up and turn around but small enough so that they do not have room to eliminate at one end and sleep at the other. If the crate you have is sized for their adult size, you may have to block off one end while they are growing to make sure it is not too big.
Most of our poodles end up fitting a 24” crate at their full adult size.