Many of us have probably heard of crate training for puppies. It may sound daunting, but by taking the time to do sufficient research to determine what is best for your pup, crate training can be an incredibly useful tool. It is best to start crate training as soon as you get your new puppy home, with the cage and accessories ready to welcome your puppy home.
Cage SizeThe cage, or crate, should give your pup just enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. It should not be big enough to allow your dog to sleep on one end of the cage, as this encourages your pup to use the other end as a bathroom.
How to Crate TrainThe crate training method stems from a dog's natural inclination towards cosy, confined spaces. Dogs are den animals, so the crate is meant to simulate a den that they feel safe and comfortable in. If your puppy establishes the crate as its den, it will not soil the crate, and will wait to leave it before relieving itself. This allows you to immediately take the puppy out of the house to pee and poop, preventing any accidents inside and making housebreaking a breeze.
- To introduce your puppy to the crate, place a blanket and toys inside along with a treat. Once your pup enters the crate, praise and pat it. If your puppy doesn't enter the crate by itself, gently carry it into the crate and give it pats if it seems frightened. Do not close or lock the door. Repeat this several times till your puppy seems at ease with being in the crate. Once this has been achieved, close the door with your pup inside the crate for one minute, or as long as it will stay calm for. After a minute, open the crate and reward your dog with praise and treats.
- To get your pup to be comfortable in the crate for longer time periods, place a bowl of food inside the crate. Once your pup finds its way inside, quietly close the door and let your dog finish its food. Leave your dog inside until it starts to show signs of agitation. When this happens, wait five minutes or till your pup calms down before letting it out. Praise it when it comes out and bring it out to relieve itself immediately. Repeat this a few times a day.
- Once your dog starts to treat the crate as its den, you may lengthen the confinement time, but do not exceed more than three to four hours a time. The crate should not be used as an imprisonment or punishment. Once house trained, only use the crate at night or when you are out of the house. Remember to remove your dog's collar to prevent choking accidents.
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