Crate Training

One of the first things owners teach their puppies is not to potty in the house. One very effective method, one used by most breeders and trainers, is crate training. Not only can you house train a puppy using a crate, but when it is used correctly, the puppy/dog naturally learns to look upon it as a den. The puppy/dog will search out the crate when it wishes to rest undisturbed. The crates success as a house training tool is simple: puppies will not soil their sleeping area if they can possibly avoid it. But remember a puppy needs time to play. Use the crate when you can’t watch your puppy, but don’t over use it.

Crates come in different sizes and styles. Choose one that will be large enough for an adult dog of your puppy’s breed to lie down, stand up and turn around easily. Many breeders use fiberglass airline approved carriers. Avoid crates with zinc nuts and bolts, they can be very poisonous if swallowed. Wire crates work well and fairly portable.

Put the crate in a location close to other family members to lesson the puppy’s anxiety. Move the crate from the kitchen or family too, to the bedroom at night, so your puppy will feel like part of its new family. Remove the puppy’s collar before it goes in the crate. Then be prepared for the pup’s first experience with crate training: it will probably cry or whine. Offer a treat and close the door. Leave the room, but remain nearby. At first sign of separation response, such as barking, whining, or howling, intervene with a sharp NO. Your pup should associate the reprimand with its actions and stop. It may take for or five times but it will eventually settle down. Once the pup is quiet, keep in in the crate for 10 to 45 minutes. If it begins to cry, take it outside to relieve itself. Once that’s accomplished, praise the pup, take it back inside and allow it free time outside the crate. If it starts chewing on something other than its toys, respond with a sharp No, take the object away and replace it with a toy. After 15-20 minutes of play time, put the pup back in the crate for a nap, correcting it if it cries. Your pup learns through association, so consistency should help it accept being in the crate after a few tries. When it has been quiet for an hour or so, repeat the process. Be aware that your puppy will need to eliminate directly upon waking or shortly after eating or playing. Also a very young puppy will not be able to hold its urine all night, so be prepared to take it out during the night. Put your puppy on its leash immediately after letting it out of the crate. Rush the pup to the door or carry it if its small, so it can avoid an accident. Be sure it relieves itself once outside. Never place newspaper on the bottom of the crate this will encourage the pup to eliminate there. After you’re sure your puppy isn’t wetting it bed you can give it a towel or blanket, though it may be more comfortable without one. Gradually lengthen the amount of time your puppy is allowed to play. When its 5-6 months old it should be able to control itself for an hour or so between trips outside.

The crate also aids in curbing destructive behavior, such as uncontrollable chewing. As your puppy matures and shows it can be left loose in the house, give it that privilege. The crate cannot stop your puppy’s need to chew when its teething, so provide it with safe chewable toys and nylon bones. If it continues to chew beyond the teething stage (about 8 months), its probably bored, so try to spend more time with it. By the time it is 8 months old, it should be able to walk around the house for most of the day once it has been taken outside relieve itself. By 1 year, it should be mature enough to be trusted all night in the house. But keep the crate set up with the door open, your pup will become attached to its own private “den” and will look for it.

Crate training is the best possible thing you can do for your puppy. While transporting in your vehicle, putting your dog/puppy in a crate is the safest way to travel with your pet. If an accident should occur, your pet will be safest inside the crate. In case of being thrown from the vehicle or when your car door is opened, your pet will not run down the road. The paramedics are there to save you not chase your pet down the street. But is crated, the the emergency service people will see to it your pet is cared for and taken to a safe place. The same holds true for leaving your pet home alone. If your home should catch fire, the firemen will try to save your pet if it is confined. They will not take the time to search under beds or the sofa to find and rescue your pet. There are stickers available in pet retail stores that will be a notice to emergency service staff that your have a pet in a crate in a specific area of your home.

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