Crate training for the goldendoodle pups

Hot Dogs

It has been HOT in Kansas this week! The Sugarbabies were pretty quiet mid day, mostly napping on frozen water bottles.  They were smart enough to schedule their playtimes for morning and evening when it wasn’t so blazing hot out.
This little guy really liked the cold bottles.  He draped himself completely over the bottle and didn’t want to share.


That’s okay, we had plenty, as well as ice cubes to play with.  They couldn’t get enough of that and wouldn’t leave it alone until every ice cube was dumped out of the dish.  
Aunt Molly liked the bottles too.  Her goal was to take every single one away from the puppies and leave them in the hot sun to quickly melt.

Luckily, I drink way too many Coke Zeros and had lots of empties to fill with water and freeze.


They have a shady yard to nap in, but preferred the breezeway.  I kept the concrete floor hosed out so it would stay cool, and they seemed to like that.


We also spent some time on crate training.  It was pretty boring, because they all just thought of it as nap time.  There were a couple of little whimpers, here and there, but with a couple of words from me about going nighty night, they curled up with their snuggle puppy and went right to sleep. 



My Steps of Crate Training


I feel like crate training should be gradual.  


When the pups are born, they live in a whelping box my husband built. Next, they move to a wading pool so they have more space.  When weaning time comes along and they get smellier, they head to the breezeway and right back into the whelping box nest.

But this time, it is upside down, so they can run in and out easier.


After a bit, a small kennel goes inside their nest. They consider it a part of their life, not something foreign, and climb in and out for naps.

As they get bigger, the potty production becomes more and more messy and frequent.  
Since I hose out the breezeway multiple times a day, the wooden box needs to go, and is replaced by a wire kennel.

Next to that are the smaller kennels, each with doors propped open and something inviting to lay on.


Coming up, I will introduce a Snuggle Puppy toy, it is a cuddly dog with a heartbeat.  Once they are used to it being their new litter mate, I’ll start shutting the doors on a few babies at a time with a Snuggle Puppy in with them.

As they are used it that, I’ll move a kennel away from their nest and shut one inside with the toy.   I sit nearby and offer treats if there is any fear.  

Because I never want my babies to be scared!  

Each dog has its own level of acceptance to the process, and some do better than others.  When you get your pup home, there will be an adjustment to new surroundings and you should try to make their crate as cozy as possible.  Treats, Snuggle Pup, soft pillow, and maybe sit next to them for a while if needed.

Do not use the crate only when you leave the house.  Many times throughout the day, happily call your pup, put it inside for a short period.  They should learn to have positive connections to the crate, it will become their safe place, their den.


Baxter and Bella is a training source that you can turn to 24 hours a day if you need more training tips.  I highly recommend their site.  



Crate Training has Begun

I promise, these guys really do have soft pillows!

But yesterday, they preferred rocks.BED94EFE-E8E5-44AA-90C4-27BBFFE598A3
It was their first, big day out and they were so into being outdoor dogs, they embraced every aspect of it.

Including using the upside down fire pit as a den.  They also discovered it makes a good slide while playing King of the Hill.

But the day wasn’t just about playtime.  We got some work done too.  Here they are working as hard as they can to master Crate Training.

I put a kennel in their sleeping area and propped the door open for them to crawl in and out.  By the time I am ready to shut one in with the door closed, they won’t even notice.

Health testing and breeding practices


Puppies bring me JOY.  I adore every snuggle, wriggle, and cuddle I get from them.  I love nurturing and teaching and just plain old laughing at their silly antics.

My mama dogs are part of our family and sleep next to our bed. When the babies come, they live indoors for the first part of their lives and I am with them continuously, including up and down during the night, just like with human newborns.

As the pups grow, they are moved to the breezeway or garage where they have space to run and play and slowly start to house break themselves by having access to the fenced yard.  As they grow, they potty a little further and further away from their bedding, til eventually it is on the far side of the yard.

This gives them a good start for you training them where you would like for them to go. (Please note that no matter how good of a start they get, it is only a start.  No dog is completely trained at 8 weeks, there is a lot of work ahead for you!)

At almost three weeks, they start edging out of the bed towards the potty pads, and I have pads out for their overnight needs as they get older too.  When we traveled across country to deliver pups to new families, I was very glad that they were also pad trained. That sure helped at 2am in a hotel.

At about the same time they start using the pads, they also get training in eye contact.  From the moment they are born, each has been snuggled, tickled, cuddled, and manipulated around enough to know that human touch is safe and pleasant.  Once their eyes open, I make a habit of gazing into those sweet, befuddled eyes each time the baby is picked up and make sure that everyone in the family knows to do that before cuddle time.


As they learn to wobble around their nest, I start getting their attention, and having them meet my gaze before lifting and petting.  Along with that, I will coax them to me with “come, puppy!” in a sing song tone.  Training has begun very early, but all they know is that someone loves them and wants to give them attention.

At this time, I concentrate on the ones who do not enjoy being held as much as the others. There are always a couple who would rather be left in the nest.  Those get put into a soft, cross body sling I wear as I vacuum or fix dinner. This has worked to turn their attitude around and makes them as comfortable with humans as they are with their siblings.

During weaning, which starts with formula at 3 to 3-1/2 weeks and progresses to soft foods, I set aside some of the meal to hand feed.  This is when I begin working on getting them to sit and look at me for a bite of food. I do this one on one to start with, but by about 7 weeks, the whole litter knows to look in my eyes and sit politely to get their bite. 

A crate is set up with bedding for them, so they are used to it from about 4 weeks old.  Daily, I will shut them all in it together while I mop up. At six weeks, I start putting a couple in with the door shut at random times.  At 7 weeks, they go into crates alone for short periods.  

As an artist, I work from a home studio with a concrete floor. The door opens into the puppies’ yard and in nice weather is left open for them to wander in and out.  In the evenings, every family member scoops up a puppy or two for holding while watching TV or reading a book.  We switch them out so everyone gets turns getting used to being a beloved house dog.

Toys are washed daily and switched out, so there is always a variety.  The little guys are so excited over new toys and run to see what I bring them.  I add bright colored step stools and other large items for them to explore, but do not leave them out all of the time.   The pups seem to thrive by having their play area changed and updated.  

Raising puppies takes months of commitment, running on little sleep, and lots of determination to give those babies a taste of care and devotion so that they grow up to be confident and loving pets.


A dog is a long term commitment, that does not end when the cuteness fades and old age sets in.  This is 14 year old Twinkle, who is now blind and kind of off in her own world but who still loves a scratch behind her ear, hearing her name repeated, and getting a good treat.

My goal is to raise happy, healthy dogs that will be so loved that their families will be there for them til the end, like we are with Twinkle.

Honey, our golden retriever is from Health Tested lines, both her parents were clear. The poodle stud that she was bred with is fully tested.

Sugar has had a DNA panel, and is OFA certified in hips, eyes, and heart.  The stud we use for her is also fully tested.  

I do not do DNA tests on each puppy when born, but can tell you that their parents were studied before the breeding to be a good match up of traits and to produce healthy dogs.  We can do an educated guess of the size of the dog as an adult, but cannot promise a certain weight.  

All pups will be vet checked, treated for parasites, have all required shots up to 8 weeks, and be microchipped.  You will need to register the chip yourself and consult your own vet for continuing vaccines.

I have often given away a puppy to family and friends so I can watch it grow up.  If you decide to get a dog from me, please send me updates and photos, I love to hear how my grand dogs are doing. 






DD546E0E-3945-4D98-8AE4-43854502B19AThe mama dogs have decided to pitch in and help each other.

With that many babies running around, it seems like a good idea.

The only issue is that the Sugar Babies are a week younger and seem to be smaller pups over all.

Honey is starting to wean her Butterballs, so feeds them less often.  I need to be sure that the itty bitty ones get plenty of milk before Sugar is drained by the big guys.  
Also the older ones play a little rougher and since they weigh more, the teensie ones get overwhelmed.  Although, they are becoming wrestlers too and pretty much hold their own.

So far, it has been a lovely fall, and the pups have been outside a bit. Not as much as I’d like. Summer puppies sure are easier to care for.  
But we have a system for cleaning them up, and they are getting used to being in crates and watching me as I spray out their areas.  I have even had a chance, although not much of a one, to do some crafting.  I gathered the vines and dried flowers to make this wreath.

But 16 babies in chilly weather takes up most of my time.  I won’t know what to do with myself when they are gone!

(Videos of the litters can be found on Instagram at Cottage Doodles)

Crating the goldendoodles


The first step in getting a dog to be comfortable spending time in a craft, is to put their bed in it and leave the door open.

The babies have been sleeping in the crate for about a week now.  Soon, I will be shutting the door on them for a few minutes at a time and giving them treats while they wait for me to open it again.

Dogs are naturally den dwellers, so a crate can be a cozy, comforting spot for them to feel safe, if it is introduced to them correctly.  This is how Sugar was trained, and she loves her crate.  Both she and her momma will curl up in it together, or separately whenever they feel like it.  The door stays open so they can wander in and out, unless they are muddy and I need to use it for a drying off spot for them.