Now you have got yourself a new puppy, GREAT! What’s next? Is your puppy creating havoc in your home after few days – chewing your furniture, soiling everywhere? If that’s your current situation, it’s CRATING time. Read on to learn what is the best way to crate train your puppy?
First of all, you would need to get a crate that suits your puppy’s size. It should be large enough for him to stand up and turn around in a comfortable posture but not too big where he can relieve himself in one corner and sleep in another.
The idea is that your puppy should feel comfortable in the crate and will hesitate to eliminate inside. If your puppy is crated for too long, he may soil the crate and develop a preference for eliminating in that location.
Initially your dog may be curious about the crate. Place it in a corner of the living room and let him explore it at his leisure. Give him some treats while he is there. You can move the crate to your living room during the day to give him more interaction. When you’re out of the house, place the crate in your bedroom. Be sure to place the crate in the corner of the room, away from window so as not to attract his attention.
When your dog is alone in the crate, he may feel as if he is missing your attention and feel lonely. This can cause separation anxiety. To overcome this, make sure that you place some of his favorite toys in the crate so that he can play with it when you are not around. This will make him “busy” and occupied.
If your puppy responds well during the crate training, you can acclimate him to the crate by playing with him while he is inside. Allow him to come out once he is almost done with his snack. Begin to lengthen the amount of time that he will be inside the crate using treats and his favorite toys as a “lure” to keep him busy in the crate. Put toys in the crate that will withstand chewing.
If you’re home but your dog is barking a lot in the crate, you may need to do more. Many people confine their dog to a crate because they fear they will become destructive. But if you are performing crate training, you should make your dog “love” the crate. Provide a selection of toys and activities for him to interact with while in the crate will make him “forget” that he is in the crate and behave himself. You should not use the crate as a punishment.
You may wish to crate your dog for short periods of time while you are away from home. Even though it may sound cruel, it is easier for your dog to adjust to a crate if he knows it’s a safe place for him to rest.
If you have a puppy, you may wish to place him in a crate at night while he sleeps. Prepare a snug blanket and place it in the crate. This will ensures that your puppy has a comfortable place to sleep. The crate can also be useful to dog owners who work long hours and have trouble getting home.
If you introduce the crate in a way that makes it more like a den for your dog, he will soon view it as a place of safety for him. Just be sure to never force him into the crate, otherwise he may become afraid of it.
Instead, toss a few treats in the crate and allow your puppy to “visit” the treats on his own. Once he is comfortable with the crate, close the door. You can increase the time you leave the door closed gradually. Repeat this until you can close the door without your puppy whining.
You may also like to start training him to move in and out of the crate using commands such as “out crate”, “in crate” etc. Remember to keep the commands short and simple so that your puppy is able to “pick” up them easily.
The process of getting your dog used to the crate can take a couple of days or weeks, depending on his adaptability. Crates set boundaries and instill discipline in him. Don’t worry if he becomes upset during this time as it is part of the learning process. You can treat this as natural behavior in your dog and he won’t see it as a problem.
Remember not to keep your dog in the crate for too long and to let him out of the crate when he becomes quiet. You should never crate him for more than 4 hours in a row. Also keep the crate in a place where it is easily accessible for cleaning.
Eventually your dog will be comfortable with the crate. As this happens, you can begin using it for potty training. This is fairly simple. Once your dog is used to going potty outside, you can begin using the crate at night while you sleep. If you hear your dog whining during the night, let him out of the crate. You can also place the crate in an area of your home where your family can spend time assist you with the potty training.
By following this process, you should never have more than one month of crate training. If you have an older dog that has never been crated before, it may take longer. During this time, you will have to continue rewarding your dog for going potty outside. If you are consistent with this process, your dog will learn to go potty outside in no time!