In fact, it will save you a lot of grief in the long run.
Many new puppy parents have anxiety about crate training. They often ask - is it cruel to crate train my puppy? Am I mean for putting my puppy in a crate? My puppy is crying and screaming when he/she goes in the crate, what should I do? How do I prevent crying when crate training?
These are all valid questions and it's understandable that you would feel guilty putting your puppy into a crate. It doesn't make it easier when the puppy screams, wails, and cries because it is seemingly dying inside, said crate. However, if you look at it like parenting, there comes a point where children have to learn to cry it out and also learn how to sleep in their own rooms without mommy and daddy. It's the same for our puppies with their crates. We have to teach them that their crate is a safe place, that they will be let out, and that there's nothing bad about it. Most puppies sleep all day anyway, so whether they are sleeping in the middle of the floor ( and then chewing up your cupboard and couch) or sleeping in their crate, there's not much difference.
Is crate training natural? No. But neither is teaching a dog to sit, stay, lay down, not bite, not jump, and domesticating them in general. Is it natural to take the dog from its mother and pack at puppyhood? No. So in that vein, why do we question or feel so guilty about the tedious cries at the beginning stages of crate training?
We love our puppies. That's why! It is natural to feel that sense of guilt or desire to immediately let the puppy out of the crate to alleviate their crying. However, if you are letting them out when they whine and cry, what you are teaching them is that whining and crying will get them out of the crate.
If you want to truly train your dog/puppy to understand that the crate is their safe place and that they will be let out, that they are okay, then follow these quick tips/guidelines for beginning crate training methods. You will be so happy you did so that well into adulthood, your dog loves going into their crate and you can easily and happily put your pup in their crate when having guests over for dinner parties, or if grandma is afraid of dogs etc.
1. Make sure the crate is only used as a positive space, never for punishment
2. Leave the crate door open when at home and toss treats in there throughout the day to let your puppy associate the crate with delicious treats.
3. Crate train for short increments at first. try 20 minutes while home. an hour away from home and so forth.
4. Do not let the puppy out until they have become completely calm and relaxed/are laying down in their crate. This is the perfect time to give them a treat and let them out of their crate to show them that when they are calm and relaxed, that is the behaviour you are looking for and rewarding them for.
5. Never push or force your puppy or dog into their crate
6. Try a kong filled with frozen peanut butter inside the crate when you are going to leave for an extended period.
7. When leaving your dog/puppy in their crate always be sure to close the latches and then walk away silently and neutrally- no over excited tones or guilty coos or "bye bye puppy I will miss you!" - When you do that, this actually creates and teaches your dog separation anxiety/gives them an anxiety complex because you are teaching them that they should be worried and anxious every time you leave them in their crate since YOU are worried and anxious.
8. Over time and if you let them learn to cry it out, your puppy/dog will become accustomed to their crate and recognize that it is actually their own safe little haven. They will look forward to going inside their crate to get treats, and will see it as their nap time-space