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Crate Training


Dogs are by nature den-dwellers, they love to have a space to call their own.  It is natural for them to settle down into a small area, it gives them a sense of security.  The use of a dog crate or dog kennel provides the dog with a space that is in harmony with the dogs need for a den.  It also provides you with a natural way to protect your dog and home during the adjustment phase of teaching your dog the behavioral expectations for your home.
 
Once accustomed to the crate, your dog will go there on it's own. How you introduce your dog/pup to the crate is important.  You want the experience to be comfortable making the pup feel good.  In the beginning plan to spend some time getting the pup used to the crate.  It's okay to go slow.  But remember most will take to the crate without a problem.

The size of the crate is important.  The space needs to be big enough for the dog/pup to stand up, turn around and lie down.  If you adopted a pup that will grow into a large dog you can avoid the expense of purchasing multiple crates as the pup grows by purchasing the large size.  You make the space smaller to fit the present size of your pup by simply putting a cardboard box in the crate to take up the extra space.  As your pup grows you change the box to the size needed.

Some people use a wire cage type crate, others purchase the type that is airline approved for future travel plans.  Either one is good.  Some put a sheet or blanket over the crate to provide an sense of it is now quiet time.  Covering the crate stops  visual stimulation but not sound or smell.

Putting a blanket, towel, small rug in the bottom adds comfort and something for the pups scent.  You may also want to put a piece of your clothing in it too.  Maybe a tee-shirt.  So now the crate has the real making of the perfect little den.

Now to get the pup inside the crate.  Let's say you brought your pup home in the morning and plan to spend the day together. 

Spending time near the crate will give you an opportunity to make it a pleasant experience.  With extra attention, praise, affection and treats you will make this the pups favorite place.
 
Throughout the day simply repeat sitting next to the crate allowing the pup to enter and exit on its own.  When the pup settles in you can close the door for a few minutes getting the pup used to the sound.  Don't feel like you have to force-feed the situation, just keep it simple and comfortable and your pup will adjust fine.  You can gradually increase the time in the crate and if you leave the room - at first return in a few minutes.  Remember this is adjustment time and you will repeat this until your pup can handle longer periods of time in the crate.

*Some adventurous pups will walk into the crate and settle in with no problem.  if you leave the door open you'll see if yours does.  If your pup hesitates or resists you can put a treat in the back of the crate and let the pup go get it.  The treat helps make it a good experience.  Possibly you can pet the pup while it's in the crate eating the treat.  Definite time to praise the pup while in the crate.  If your pup runs right out, that's okay, because he/she is excited and needs to go slow.  Right now you are just introducing the crate and any contact with the crate is good.  After the pup tires out a bit try putting him/her inside, taking to and petting until he lies down.

One really easy way to put the whole thing together, is to sit down on the floor near the crate, but not necessarily right next to it.  Play with your pup, maybe roll a ball across the room coaxing the pup back to you and then repeat repeat repeat.  This not only tires the pup out, but begins the process of teaching the pup to come back to you.  Usually referred as re-call.  Really tire the pup out, he/she will let you know when it's enough by coming on your lap to rest.  When the pup falls asleep then pup him/her in the crate.   Close the crate door and lesson learned.

After a night or two of repeating this, the pup will probably just walk into the crate bypassing the falling asleep on your lap part.  You've made this a wonderful sleep space that your pup will love.  Later when you need to confine the pup to go to work or the store, he/she will have a good association so the adjustment will be easy. 
 
If for any reason you are resistant to using a crate or if you think its cruel consider this:  Puppies are babies, they don't know the electrical cords are not for chewing.  They don't know your favorite rug is not for eating.  They don't know your couch is not for urinating on.  They're just little guys.  If they have the opportunity to behave badly,  you will have the problem of un-doing bad behavior.  It is much easier to start off teaching them what they can do versus allowing them to do the bad and then you having to figure out how to fix the bad behavior.  Confining the pup in the crate prevents bad behaviors from developing.  You protect your pup from hurting itself and your belonging from being destroyed.  Lesson learned and you can build from here.

*Few dogs will soil their crate, it's their den and they like it clean.  Knowing your dogs elimination schedule will help with successful crate training and eventual house training.  Pups under 3 months probably can not hold themselves throughout the night. Expect to wake up at least once to let the pup out.  Even with that you may find a mess in the morning.  One tip is to stop all food and water a few hours before YOUR bedtime.  Take the pup out as the last thing you do before your bedtime.   More in house training

Pet Supplies Needed

  • Pet Crate or Pet Kennel
  • Towels, small rug
  • Newspaper
  • Protective pet crate liner
  • Blanket or pet crate cover
  • enzymatic odor neutralizer to clean pet odors
  • pet toys
  • pet chew toys

Good for inside the house


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