Crate Training Your Puppy
You've probably heard about crate or kennel training your dog before. If you have been wondering if that is the right decision for your dog, then stay tuned. Crate training your puppy will provide your furry friend a safe place to go; dogs feel secure in their kennel when they learn to associate it with positive things. That said, not all dogs take to this training. If you've tried for several weeks, then this might not be for your puppy. Follow these few tips, and crate training should come easy to you and your best friend!
The Right Crate
First, you need to have the right supplies. Your crate should not be too big or too small. If your kennel is for your puppy's adult size, you can use dividers to keep it an appropriate size while they grow. If you give your puppy too much space, they may decide to designate a portion for going potty in. Your dog only needs enough room to get up and turn around. When it comes to the difference between plastic and wire, that is up to your dog. If they prefer sleeping in the dark, consider getting one of the sided crates that block more light. If you are not sure, start with a wire kennel and drape a blanket over it to control the light!
The Right Vibe
Make sure that their crate is a place of fun and relaxation, not one of fear. Never use crating as punishment, or your puppy will see their kennel in a negative light. Instead, play simple games with them in and out of the crate. Hold a treat in the far back corner of the kennel, and when they go in and eat the treat, praise them. Keep the door to the crate open during the games. Feed them their meals inside the kennel, too. They’ll connect crate time with treats and food and look forward to it. Here is a video of crate games to play with your puppy so they can get used to the crate and see it in a positive light! It is long but helpful.
The Right Accessories
Just as the right bedding and toys make your home a more comfortable place to live, your dog needs the same consideration. Figure out what kind of bedding they like and make sure that it’s in there. But, if your dog is destructive or prefers a hard surface to sleep on, that’s okay too. Make sure that they also have toys. You may even want to give them a toy they can chew on, or one stuffed with treats, like a Kong. More importantly, make sure the toys are crate safe toys, so they don't ingest something they shouldn't and do not put the dog in the crate with tags or collars on. Those harmless accessories can get caught, and your puppy could seriously hurt itself!
The Right Time
Don’t jump right into shutting your puppy in their crate for hours at a time. Once they are comfortable with being in the kennel for meals and treats, you can start leaving them for a little longer. Start with ten minutes and work your way up from there. If you rush to leave your dog in the crate for too many hours at a time, your puppy will come to dread crate time. They are also more likely to have accidents. Puppies shouldn’t be in their crate for more than 3-4 hours at a time when they’re still learning.
Crate training your puppy will take a lot of time. You’ll need to be patient throughout the whole process. Some experts suggest preparing to spend at least six months on crate training. It can be very stressful, like potty training a child.
However, just like potty training a child, it’s more than worth it. Some dogs may not need to be crate trained, but a properly crate-trained dog is actually one of the best ways you can protect your home from damages and your dog from hazards in your home. It isn’t the only solution, but it’s a great idea. You should begin crate training as soon as you bring your puppy home. You can do it!