Ultimate Guide to Crate Train Your German Shepherd Puppy

Dog Training

You have your German Shepherd puppy, now where is she going to sleep and how are you going to train her. Do you want a dog crate for your German Shepherd puppy? The answer is yes you do!

A crate for your puppy will not only aid in helping to train your puppy, it will also give your house and your puppy a place of safety, but no clothes strewn throughout your house and your puppy also doesn’t have access to cords for chewing. The crate will give the pup a place of her own, where she can go if the house becomes too busy for her and she wants to escape.

If your German Shepherd puppy should need to recover after being spayed or neutered, the crate is an ideal place for them to do just that, and when you travel with her, you will need a dog crate that fits easily into your car.

Crate Sizing Tips

If you haven’t done research into dog crates you are going to find that they come in many different sizes. Your German Shepherd dog’s crate size is going to depend on if you plan on just to use the crate for potty training purposes or if it will be for them to sleep in up to adult and be their den. Either way, you are going to find that there are many different kinds from wire crates to stylish crates that can look and be used as end tables.

You are going to want a crate that will allow your puppy to stand and move around, lay down and stretch out, yet, not to big that it will be able to potty in the crate, thus putting a damper on the potty training. To figure out how big of a dog crate you need, have the puppy stand and measure from the tip of her nose to where her tail starts and then add 4-6 inches. Then with your puppy sitting measure from the floor to the top of her head and again add 4-6 inches, this will, in turn, give you an idea as to how big of dog crate you will need for your German Shepherd.

Keep in mind that if the crate is only going to be used for potty training then most likely you will get by with just the one crate, but if not, you will purchase larger crates as your puppy grows using the same method for measuring.

Guide to Crate Training

Age and Crating Time

How much time your puppy can spend in the crate is dependent on her age. If she is under 10 weeks no more than 60 minutes, if 11-12 weeks you could go from 1 to 3 hours, up to 4 months she could be crated for 4 hours, after that she can handle up to 5 hours.

Crate Location

For crate training your puppy, you are going to want to place the dog crate in an area of your house where there is a lot of traffic such as your living room or your kitchen. At night you will want to place her near you so that she feels safe and if she is scared and fusses you can hear her.

The type of crate you purchase will depend on whether you move her daytime crate or have two on hand, do not place the crates near where she will be exposed to direct sunlight or drafts, or places where it is very cold or hot.

What you will want to put in her crate

You will want to put some type of bedding in the crate, something that she can’t shred and choke on. Then a water bowl preferably one that will attach to the door so she can’t spill it and get her bed wet. Your puppy is going to want to chew on something to get a toy that is made with heavy rubber and will last. Depending on the type of crate you have, if it is open on all sides you may want to consider getting a cover for the crate should your puppy need it to help to settle down.

Patience and determination are key

To start the training, you are going to be very patient with your German Shepherd puppy keeping the training to about 5-minute sessions. This will keep them from losing interest in the task, and should they act nervous or fuss stop the training for a few minutes.  When your puppy has settled down start up the training again from the point at which the training was going well.

Using Treats

You will want to have good quality treats on hand that won’t always be given as treats and that you can break into small pieces. Sit by the cage with the door open. While your puppy is watching you, place a small piece of the treat at the front of the cage after she has eaten her treat praise and play with her, moving the treat farther back into the crate while playing and praising her each time.

When she has gone all the way into the crate to get her treat. You will feed her a meal at the back of the crate and lavishing her with praise and play when done.

Closing the Door

Now the step of getting her used to having the door closed. You will want to start this training after she has played and is tired. Once she has gone all the way into the crate to eat her treat you can close the door a little and open it, closing it further each time but do not lock the door. Then leave the door closed for a few seconds and extend the time little by little, then repeat the process only this time lock the door. When you have completed this step, the door will be closed and locked and your puppy will have eaten a meal in her crate.

Managing separation

During this training you have been at the side of the crate within eyesight of your puppy. Now to get her used to you being gone. This is going to be similar to the crate training. Your puppy will be in her crate, you will walk away without looking or talking to her, for a couple seconds, return and then walk away for a few seconds longer and longer until she is used to you being gone for several minutes, should she start to whine or bark wait until she is quiet otherwise you may create a bigger issue. Leaving the house will be done in a similar fashion, but please play with your puppy before you lock her in her crate. When she is tired and has relieved herself, she is ready to rest in her crate. Don’t look or say anything to her to create anxiousness over being separated from you.

Night Time Training 

You will want to crate train your puppy at night, to help her feel secure till she gets used to her new surroundings and until she is potty trained. This isn’t an all bad thing. Don’t feed your puppy just before bedtime. Feed her and water her 3 hours before bedtime. Getting some good play time will wear her out and she will be tired and ready to go to bed. Make sure she has also pooped and peed so she can sleep all night.

A Whining Puppy

So now you have completed the crate training process and your puppy won’t stop whining. Run through your checklist. Did your puppy have an active day so that she is tired? Was she toileted before bed? Is this an unfamiliar environment?

Think thru your training process again. Did you rush things?

When you do check on her wait for when there has been a moment of silence so that she doesn’t know that whining will bring you to her, could create a problem.

Other things to check is the crate big enough, how’s her bedding, does she have a toy. If everything checks out. Restart the training to get her used to the crate again.

Enjoy Your Efforts

Patience, Discipline, and Grit are the main ingredients in creating happy crate training.

The time and effort you and your puppy spend crate training will create that lifelong bond of trust and friendship that every German Shepherd Dog owner desire.