Golden Retriever Crate Training

Golden Retriever Crate Training

Golden Retrievers are great family pets who are loyal and respond wonderfully when crate trained. Learn how to crate train this beloved family dog here.

Developed in the highlands of Scotland in the 1800s, Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be hunting dogs. They are known for their loyalty, energy and pleasant disposition. With their distinct golden color, these active dogs are intelligent and respond well to training. To give your golden retriever a safe place that the dog can retreat to during the day or night and prevent any potential pet accidents, crate train your dog. In the wild, wolves live in a den and this denning instinct continues with today's domesticated dogs. Use positive teaching methods to encourage your dog to use the crate, making it as inviting as possible.

Step 1

Purchase a sturdy crate large enough for your Golden Retriever. These medium-sized dogs need room to sit up, stand, turn around and lay down comfortably, without touching the sides of the crate. If your dog is a puppy, purchase a crate that grows with him. These crates are large enough to accommodate a fully grown Golden but have panels to make the crate smaller for growing puppies.

Step 2

Line the crate with a blanket and your dog's favorite toys to make it inviting and comfortable. Place it in an area of your home close to other people to keep your golden retriever close by; these social dogs need human interaction and companionship.

Step 3

Introduce your Golden Retriever to the crate slowly. If they are reluctant, lure them in with a treat. Do not toss the treat into the crate; that will only teach them it's okay to eat flying food and that habit is hard to break. You don't want your dog going after dropped food and sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the tossed treat and dropped food. Verbally praise your dog when they enter the crate. Repeat this procedure several times in a row each day until your dog freely approaches the crate and enters it without provocation.

Feed your dog in the crate as well, closing the dog inside the crate during every meal, then letting the dog out when they are done. Increase the amount of time your Golden Retriever spends in the crate after a meal each day.

Step 4

Teach your Golden Retriever a verbal command to go into the crate, such as "Crate" or "Bedtime." Say the command, then give the treat when your dog enters the kennel. Close the door and give your dog verbal praise and another treat.

Step 5

Exercise your Golden Retriever prior to crating the dog overnight or for a longer period of time during the day. This will tire this energetic breed of dog and make crate training easier when the dog doesn't have excess pent-up energy.

Step 6

Ignore your dog's whines to leave the crate if your Golden Retriever seems upset with the confinement, unless the dog is a puppy and needs to go to the bathroom. If you are unsure, take your dog out, leash your dog and take them to their potty spot outdoors; should the dog show no signs of needing to eliminate, return the dog immediately to the kennel. Always take your dog out to eliminate after confinement in the crate for an extended period of time and prior to crating for the night.

Tips & Warnings

  • Golden Retrievers enjoy the company of people and family members so keep their crates in areas such as a living room during the day or bedroom at night.
  • Typically, Golden Retrievers won't soil where they sleep, which is why crate training can assist you in potty training them.
  • Keeping a Golden Retriever puppy in a crate, especially during the day, prevents the dog from chewing on wires and other potential hazards.
  • Don't use your Golden Retriever's crate to punish your dog; only use the crate for positive, fun activities.
  • Crates are not meant for extended periods of confinement, only shorter periods of time, for 4 to 5 hours at most during the day and 8 hours at night. Golden Retrievers require sufficient amounts of exercise and companionship during the day, and may require a pet walker to come and walk them in the afternoon.
  • A Golden Retriever suffering from separation anxiety can become injured from attempting to get out of the crate if left in it for long periods of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Golden Retrievers do well in crates?

Yes, they can do well in crates if properly trained and introduced to them in a positive way. Golden Retrievers are generally known to be very adaptable and easy-going dogs. When these dogs are left alone or need a quiet area to rest, crates can give them a sense of security and comfort. The crate must, however, be the proper size for your Golden Retriever in order to allow them to stand, turn around, and lie down without difficulty. Additionally, the dog's crate needs to be made of durable materials and have enough ventilation to prevent overheating. It is crucial to make the crate a positive and enjoyable space for your Golden Retriever by providing them with comfortable toys, bedding, and treats. Additionally, it's crucial to avoid using the crate as a form of punishment and to never keep your dog inside for long stretches of time, as this can make them feel uneasy or lead to behavioral issues. Overall, Golden Retrievers may function well in crates with the correct training, a cozy crate, and proper use.

How long do you crate train a Golden Retriever?

The temperament and background of each dog affect how long it takes to crate train a Golden Retriever. While some dogs might settle into the crate fast and effortlessly, others might need more time. In general, it is ideal to begin crate training your Golden Retriever while they are puppies because they are less set in their habits and more open to new experiences. For instance, an 8-week-old puppy shouldn't be kept in his crate for longer than 2 hours. However, a 12-week-old puppy can spend up to 3 hours there. But it's important to keep in mind that every dog is different and might have distinct demands and characteristics. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to the dog's behavior and adjust the crating schedule accordingly. Additionally, it's critical to provide the dog with enough outdoor exercise, cerebral stimulation, and socialization. As already mentioned, crating is capable of giving a feeling of security and comfort to dogs, especially when they are left alone or need a quiet place to rest. Therefore, it is an effective tool for home training, managing destructive behavior, and keeping the dog safe while traveling.

When should I start crate training my Golden Retriever puppy?

Crate training your Golden Retriever puppy is typically advised to start as soon as feasible. Puppies (between 8 and 16 weeks) are more receptive to new experiences and less set in their ways, making them more adaptable to crate training. Introducing the crate early on can also help with house training and preventing destructive behavior when the puppy is left alone. However, it's crucial to introduce the crate gradually and in an appropriate way. The puppy should have a lot of treats, toys, and bedding in the crate so that it feels cozy and friendly. Make sure the crate is the appropriate size so the puppy can stand, turn around, and sleep comfortably in it. The crate might need to be changed out for one that is larger as the puppy develops.

Is it OK to let a puppy cry in a crate at night?

No, it is often not advised to leave a puppy in a crate crying at night. Puppies are sociable animals and require a sense of safety and security, particularly in their early years. A puppy may experience stress if left alone in a crate overnight, which could result in future behavioral issues and challenges with crate training. Instead, it's advised to utilize positive reinforcement strategies to have the puppy associate the crate with pleasant memories, such as treats, toys, and attention. In order to make the puppy feel safe and secure, it can also be beneficial to put the crate in a peaceful and welcoming space, such as the owner's bedroom. However, if you are worried about the fact that your dog may use crying to get out of the crate, it should not still stop you from getting to your dog when it's crying.

Is it OK not to crate-train a puppy?

It is possible to raise a puppy without crate training, but it is advised by a lot of vets and trainers to crate-train your pup. This is because if you don’t, it may make some aspects of puppyhood more challenging. The usage of a crate can help with house training, controlling destructive activity, and giving the puppy a safe haven. It's not the only way to teach a puppy, though, and some owners can decide against doing so for personal or practical reasons.

References & Resources

American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Golden Retriever
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Weekend Crate Training
The Humane Society of the United States: Crate Training
Golden Retriever Club of America: Grooming, Exercise, and Training
Dog Channel: Golden Retriever Crate Training

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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