Crate Train Your Puppy
Crate training helps many dog owners to housetrain their new four legged addition to the household. But it’s not only useful for this. It can also be a very handy tool to teach your dog the house rules as well as to take her out and about traveling.
You need to go about it the right way, so here are some tips for beginners:
1. Purchase the right crate
Getting the right crate size will make a huge difference to your crate training.
To be comfortable for her, she should be able to sit without her head hitting the roof, turn around in comfortably, and lie on her side with her paws stretched out. Watch out, though - there should not be too much room, as she could use a corner to eliminate in.
If you’re choosing a wire crate, to avoid buying multiple sizes as she grows, you can purchase one to accommodate her adult size and simply use dividers to adjust the space available.
2. Make it a happy place
The idea of using a crate is that it mimics a wolf’s den. Dogs instinctively like to have this confined space, as it makes them feel safe and secure.
You will need to make it den-like for your puppy by placing some comfy bedding for her to lie on, as well as some toys to keep her occupied.
Both of these additions need to be durable, as you can’t trust your puppy with those sharp little teeth yet. She could easily chew up and swallow bits of bedding or toys, which can cause a serious intestinal blockage.
As well as what to put in your dog’s crate, you need to consider where to place it. Crate should be in a busy area of the house so that she doesn’t feel isolated or left out. Make sure it’s not too draughty or receiving direct sunlight. Usually the living room or the kitchen is a good place.
3. Introduce her slowly
Yes, dogs are den animals, but you will still need to familiarize your puppy with her crate and show her that it is a positive space, as she may be fearful of it at first.
Allow her to sniff around initially at her own pace, and then make a positive association for her by putting treats around the outside.
Once she’s more relaxed around it, you can try to coax her inside by having her retrieve a treat. As you do this, speak to her reassuringly and give her lots of praise.
When she is still getting used to the crate, keep the crate door open and always stay with her.
Never force her inside or close the door on her before she is ready. This will just cause instant fear and distrust of you and the crate, which is certainly not productive.
4. Don’t use it as a punishment
Never send your dog to the crate for misbehaving. It should be a place of comfort, not negativity.
If she starts to associate it with punishment, it will become like a prison, and she will feel anxious whenever inside. This is completely counterproductive, as you will no longer be able to use the crate as a training tool.
5. Don’t leave her crated for long periods
Remember that small puppies have less bladder and bowel control, so they need to eliminate more often. A puppy, once used to the crate, should never be left inside for more than 2 hours , or she may end up soiling her crate. And that certainly won’t help with housetraining! When you do let her out of the crate, take her straight outside to go potty.
>Puppies also have a lot of energy and need a lot of attention and playtime, so she will also simply become bored if you leave her in the crate for long periods. This means there is more risk of her chewing on her bedding or whining or barking.
Just use the crate for naps, quiet breaks to keep her calm, when you leave her alone to go on short trips, and overnight slumber.
So, you’re still a beginner in practice, but you’re certainly more equipped in theory! Now you can go and test out some of these moves on your pooch.
Remember, choose the crate size carefully. Once you’ve got it set up, make it a comfortable and inviting environment for her and introduce her slowly with lots of affection and treats.
Make sure you do not use the crate as a punishment. This is her den of safety, if it becomes a prison, she will not feel at ease there. Nor should you crate your puppy longer than 2 hours. If you do this, not only is she likely to soil her den, she will become bored and frustrated.
Once she’s used to the crate, you can use it for overnight sleep, naps, calming timeouts, and to keep her chilled and out of trouble while you’re out on short trips.