We just got a new addition, and I thought what better time to write about this then while I am doing it, again.
A crate is a phenomenal management tool for your pups. An artificial “den” for your dog, done right it should be a good & safe place for your furbaby. Make sure to establish a positive routine with your training. Being placed in the dog crate should not be perceived by the puppy as a punishment and should not be used as such. The crate will make house training much easier. Your puppy’s crate will keep themselves out of trouble during times you just can’t supervise them. Most dogs love their crates and will enter them willingly when asked, even sleep in them even with the door open. So just how do you make sure that your doing things right and properly crate training your pup? First, a few basic rules on proper crate usage are in order.
A crate needs only to be large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around and lie down in. This gives you two options. Buy several crates as your pup grows or you will need to buy one large enough for your puppy once it’s full grown. If you opt to buy a large crate you will need to block off the back of it so it is the appropriate size during housetraining (if you give your puppy too much room they may start to use part of the crate as a potty).
Make sure that you don’t use the crate for long term ‘storage’. It’s fine to use it when you can’t keep an eye on your puppy or dog, but actively training and socializing your dog is always a necessity. Gradually increase the time in the crate until your puppy can spend an hour or more relaxed in the crate. Understand that there are limits to the amount of time that you can crate a dog, based in large part on how long they are able to hold their urine. This can vary by age and by individual dog. Just because you crate your dog for 12 hours doesn’t mean they will be able to hold it for 12 hours.
When placed in a crate at night the first few times, your puppy may whine and bark loudly. Please do not open the crate. Do not let the dog out of the crate, if your goal is to have a good night’s sleep sometime soon. Letting a whining barking dog out of the crate thereby rewarding them for whining and barking is not going to create the quiet crate-able dog you would like.
During the night, put the crate beside your bed, so that you will hear if your puppy wakes up and needs to go out during the night (if this happens be sure to go potty then right back in to the crate). Be sure you let them out right before you go to bed and as soon as you get up in the morning. If your dog whines, barks or acts up in the crate, Please ignore them(or at least appear to, make sure they are not hurting themselves). Never let your dog out of the crate unless it is calm and quiet. As hard as it may be looking at that cute face the ½ second pause between barks doesn’t count as calm and quiet no matter how much you want it to.
Crate training can be very taxing on both the puppy and parent. But with patience and perseverance it can be rewarding for everyone in the long run.