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Hi everyone,

I have a 10 week old Boston Terrier puppy. I am a teacher and was lucky enough to get her during the summer so I can spend a lot of time with her. We pretty much have our nighttime routine down which is great, and I am using the crate at night. She goes to the bathroom usually once a night, and for the rest of the time she's great in there.

My question is - can anyone suggest a good crate training schedule for when I'm home? I go back to work in a month and don't want the change to be huge for her. Currently she wakes up at 5:45, plays until 6:15, eats, walk and play, sleep around 7. At that point I can get her in the crate. For the rest of the day if I put her in the crate or the play pen, she loses her mind. I know that it is hard and at somepoint I have to let her "cry it out", but I think if I had a concrete schedule it would help both of us, I just don't know where to start. She is fed 3 times a day, food up when she's done, and she goes out as soon as she wakes up and before I put her in the pen or crate.

Thank you in advance, I would really love a schedule that will ease her into the crate during the day when I'm here!
 

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Have you tried playing crate games with your pup? You can look up "crate games" on this forum. These are just fun exercises that help teach your pup that the crate is a good place.

Make sure really awesome things happen in the crate. So, you might feed her in there for every meal. Give her really awesome treats in there, like frozen stuffed KONGs.

And yes, you will have to let her cry it out a bit. It's mostly her complaining because she's separated from you, but she has to learn. I would start with leaving her longer and longer periods of time until you've worked up to a full day. If you can't get back for lunch when you start school again, you may have to consider attaching a pen to her crate with puppy pads because even at 14 weeks she probably won't be able to hold it a full work day.
 

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Kikopup has a great, free video on YouTube called "How to train your dog to be left alone-clicker training". It's got some really good advice, and while it focuses mostly on leaving a dog in a playpen, the strategy can be used for crating as well.

I'd also consider feeding the puppy in the crate, and/or doing something like zip-tying a stuffed kong or other stuffed feeding toy to the back of the crate. Let her get used to doing these things with the door open, with you right there, before you start very briefly shutting the door (literally only for a second at first!). You can slowly work up from there with having the door shut a tiny bit longer, or you taking a step away, then two steps, etc., only making it more difficult if she seems happy and comfortable with the situation.

There's not going to be one sure-fire schedule, because each dog is going to progress in this kind of training (okay, any kind of training) at their own pace. Pay attention to her and try your best not to ask her to move forward if she can't handle it. I'm actually, personally, less and less a fan of the "cry it out" method, though plenty of people do use it and it turns out fine. It's just that I feel (and have read/listened to professionals supporting this) that letting a puppy become very distressed and worked up in a crate can set back training and lead to problems down the line. So, since you have the time and flexibility, I'd suggest working as much as possible at her own pace.
 

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Thank you both very much for the help! I played a couple of crate games with her last night and watched the video you suggested and worked with her in her play pen (she has that too). Ideally I'd love to leave her in the pen with her crate during the day, and I feel like you've set me on the path to getting there. Thanks again!
 
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