Welcoming a new Golden Retriever to the family can be a fun and exciting time.
Many new pet parents of Goldens wonder if this sweet family dog needs to be crate trained.
After all, sticking your little crying puppy into a cage can seem like a harsh thing to do. Is it really necessary?
Should Golden Retrievers be Crate Trained?
Golden Retrievers should be crate trained as early as 8 weeks old and should continue to be used to being in a crate for their whole lives. Not only does crate training your Golden give them a safe, welcoming place that is all their own, it can also be helpful in case you must contain your Golden, such as at the vet or while traveling.
Golden Retrievers are easy to crate train when they’re curious puppies absorbing the world around them.
With proper training and patience, your dog will view their crate as a safe place to sleep and relax during the day.
They’ll be less likely to make accidents in the crate and won’t mind being alone for a couple of hours while you’re at work or out of the house.
It’s important to keep in mind a Golden Retriever’s natural social behavior and their desire to be close to their family as often as possible.
Training an adult Golden Retriever can also often be harder than training a puppy due to their history and stubbornness.
You can easily train your Golden Retriever if you take the time and energy to learn more about your animal companion.
Here’s everything you need to know about crate training Golden Retrievers.
Are Golden Retrievers hard to crate train?
When they’re puppies, Golden Retrievers can easily adapt to their circumstances and the situations around them.
They may be upset at first when presented with a crate and encouraged to get inside, but they’ll quickly become curious or want to explore.
You’ll have a harder time training an adult Golden Retriever who is already set in their ways and knows what they like and dislike.
Puppies can be encouraged with encouraging words, pats and treats to enter and explore a crate while an adult Golden Retriever will often put up a fight.
If you have an older dog from a shelter, you might need a professional trainer to find the best way to healthily interest them in their crate.
You should never force your dog to stay somewhere they don’t want to be.
When training puppies, it’s natural for them to whine when first put in a crate, but they’ll calm down as they adjust to their surroundings.
Adult dogs may have a bad history with crates or with being separated from their owner.
Stress and anxiety can cause the Golden Retriever to act out or flee away from the situation.
With enough time, patience and healthy interactions with a crate, most dogs will feel safe entering one and sleeping inside.
Is it bad to not crate train your dog?
Every dog owner has to make decisions for the benefit of their unique animal.
While crate training can be a convenient way to assist with potty training and in getting a new animal companion used to the home, you won’t irreparably harm your dog by skipping out on crate training.
Crates can actually be utilized in many ways that aren’t healthy for the animal and will lead to lasting behavioral problems in their lives.
Crates should never be used as a form of punishment or for extended periods of time.
Dogs shouldn’t be confined for hours while barking, whining or scratching to get out.
Negative interactions with crates can create lasting fears in animals that cause them to be wary or outright afraid of small spaces or being confined.
Previous dog owners are fully aware that adopted animals come with their own host of quirks and sensitivities that affect their ability to be trained.
Listening to your animal and providing them with a safe space where they trust you and are happy is much more important than training them to do a certain trick or to enjoy a crate.
As long as you’re supplying your dog with other places where they can sleep and you’re not struggling with potty training or territory guarding, there is no harm in not crate training your dog.
How long can a Golden Retriever stay in a crate?
Crates can be the ideal safe space for your Golden Retriever.
They can spend as much time in their crate as they want by napping or playing near the family.
Golden Retrievers can be left in their crate for a few hours a day as long as they’re supplied with a constant source of water and are let out for bathroom breaks.
They typically shouldn’t be alone for more than three to four hours at a time.
In emergency situations, you can leave your dog alone for up to eight hours if absolutely necessary.
However, this shouldn’t be the standard and can eventually cause behavioral issues.
Golden Retrievers are social animals who enjoy being around their families.
Their crate should be in a social area of the home so they feel more comfortable using it during the day.
Golden Retrievers are more likely to spend their free time near their loved ones than in a different room.
They need a lot of exercise and attention to stay happy and healthy.
Prolonged periods of time alone or trapped in a crate can lead to separation anxiety.
If they’re not being let out enough, they can develop urinary tract infections or begin having accidents in the home.
Your Golden Retriever is a loved pet companion who should be treated just like a family member.
Just as you don’t leave your child alone for several hours in their room, you should also refrain from leaving your Golden Retriever alone for too long during the day.
Hiring a pet sitter, dog walker or taking them to daycare can be a healthier alternative to prolonged time in the crate.
Do I really need to crate train my dog?
Training your dog appropriately is a huge part of creating a safe and welcoming environment for them in the home.
Crate training provides your dog with an area that is completely theirs and can’t be taken away.
They’ll feel more comfortable and secure when you’re gone and can hide their toys or treats inside for later.
They’ll also be less likely to develop behavioral issues in the future.
Crate training can even mean life or death in an emergency situation.
Knowing that your animal will get into their crate on command eases the uncertainty of getting them out of the house during an unforeseeable emergency.
Your Golden Retriever will feel less stress during and after vet visits because their crate will be a safe place where they feel entirely secure.
By placing your dog’s crate in a living room or social area, they’ll be less likely to suffer from stressful separation anxiety.
Crate training should absolutely be on your list of commands to teach your beloved pet companion.
This command serves many practical functions such as easing potty training and the stress of emergencies while making your Golden Retriever feel overall happier.
What should I do when my puppy whines in the crate?
Puppies are more likely than adult dogs to voice their many emotions.
Your puppy may be feeling sad or lonely, bored or even just thirsty or hungry.
Young dogs may need to be walked during the night or given a little extra attention to calm down.
Don’t punish them for being awake when you don’t want them to be.
Provide comfort when they cry and treats when they calm down.
Keep the crate near your bedroom so you can hear when they need anything, and so they’ll know where you are when they can’t see you.
Puppies often struggle to sleep through the night but will slowly ease into the home’s schedule as they grow older.
Should my dog be in the crate at night?
A crate is a great way to keep track of your dog and keep them out of trouble.
Crate training also encourages your pet companion to sleep when you’re sleeping.
When first getting used to a crate, your dog may need to be taken outside for walks during the night or given some extra love to assure them you’re still nearby.
Teaching your dog a command for crate will help if you need them to get inside for any reason during the day.
As long as your dog is happy and comfortable with their crate and still has access to plenty of exercise, potty breaks and water, you can feel confident keeping your dog in their crate while you’re sleeping.
How big should my dog’s crate be?
Your crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up in and turn around easily.
You can line the bottom with pee pads if necessary or blankets if they’re older.
Puppies are likely to pee in the crate at first.
They’ll also store toys and other comfort items inside when they sleep during the day.
As your puppy ages, you’ll have to buy bigger crates until they’re fully grown.
Avoid buying a crate that is too large as they may hurt themselves if they get too rowdy inside or try to chew through the walls.