Sunday, October 18, 2009

Crate Training Your Puppy

Crate Size:
A crate should always be large enough to permit the dog to stretch out flat on his side without being cramped and to sit up without hitting his head on top. It is always better to use a crate a little too large rather than one a little too small. Measure the dog from the tip of the nose to the base (not tip) of the tail. Allow for growth by adding about 12 inches. A crate too large can be made smaller by adding a partition of wire, wood or masonite. Remember, a crate too large for a young puppy defeats its purpose of providing security and promoting bowel control.

Location:
Since one of the main reasons for using a crate is to confine a dog without making him feel isolated or banished, it should be placed in, or as close to, a “people” area—kitchen, family room, etc. To provide even a greater sense of security and privacy, it should be put back in a corner. Admittedly, a crate is not a “thing of beauty,” but it can be forgiven for not being a welcome addition to the household d├ęcor as it proves how much it can help the dog to remain a welcome addition to the household.

Crating a Puppy:
A young puppy (8-16 weeks) should normally have no problem accepting a crate as his “own place.” Any complaining he might do at first is not caused by the crate, but by his learning to accept the controls of his new environment. Actually the crate will help him to adapt more easily and quickly to his new world.

Place the crate in a people area and, if possible, in a spot free from drafts and not too near a direct heat source. For bedding, use an old towel or piece of blanket that can be easily washed. You may also want to include some freshly worn, unlaundered clothing such as a tee shirt, old shirt, etc. Avoid putting newspaper in or under the crate, since its odor may encourage elimination. A puppy should not be fed in the crate and will only spill a bowl of water.

Make it clear to all family members that the crate is not a playhouse. It is meant to be a “special room” for the puppy, whose rights should be recognized and respected. You should, however, accustom the puppy from the start to letting you reach into the crate at any time, lest he become overprotective of it.

Establish a “crate routine” immediately, closing the puppy in it at regular intervals during the day (his own chosen nap times can guide you) and whenever he must be left alone for up to 3-4 hours. Give him a chew toy for distraction and be sure to remove collar and tags which could get caught in an opening.

The puppy should be shown no attention while in the crate. Dogs tend to be much better psychologists than their owners—often training the owner, rather than the owner training the puppy. Any attention shown to the puppy will simply cause the puppy to believe that whining, crying, etc., is all that is needed for him to get more attention.

The puppy should be taken outside last thing every night before being put into the crate. Once he goes into the crate, he should stay there until first thing in the morning. IMMEDIATELY when the puppy is removed from the crate, he should be taken to the chosen area for his bowel eliminations.

Always feed the puppy early enough to allow ample time for bowel elimination after eating before placing the puppy in the crate. This can be up to one hour, depending on the dog. Simply clock the time after eating until the bowel movement occurs to determine this time interval for your particular puppy.

After the puppy is fully housetrained (usually 8-12 weeks of cage use), you simply can leave the door open (or take it off) and allow the puppy to come and go as he chooses. If the puppy becomes destructive during his growing phases, it is a simple matter again of confining him in the crate when he is not under your supervision.

Even if things do not go too smoothly at first- DON’T WEAKEN and DON’T WORRY! Be consistent, firm, and be very aware that you are doing your pet a real favor by preventing him from getting into trouble.

2 comments:

  1. wow. i am just loving it. Really outstanding work. love it.
    Crate Training

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  2. My 2 year old Pomeranian, loves her crate, when im away she goes to her crate or under my bed kind of like a den. Problem is recently she has recently been marking my bedside carpet! What should I do??? Why is she doing it??? HELP

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