Reasons to Crate Train Your Puppy
House training (potty training) Relies on your puppy’s own instincts to keep his den clean Teaches him to “hold it”! Helps prevent destructive behavior Confined pups cannot chew the carpet or dig in the yard Teaches him to chew on appropriate toys (i.e. Kong, etc.) Teaches him to rest quietly and accept confinement Traveling will be easier-many hotels accept a “crated” dog Pup will be more comfortable in kennel or hospital Happy and safe when left unsupervised Decreases incidence of behavior problems Separation anxiety diminished in crate-trained dogs Controls excessive barking Playpen for puppy Keeps children safe from puppy and vice-versa Easier introduction of existing pets Gives cats, older dogs, children “break” from puppy Safe place for pup to “chill out”
A puppy in a crate cannot:
- Poop on the carpet
- Get into the garbage
- Chew your sofa or socks
- Eat your plants
- Lap up antifreeze or eat your Advil!
A crate should be just large enough for a puppy to stand up, turn around and lay down. For a large breed puppy, purchasing a crate big enough to accommodate him as an adult will require you to partition the crate when he is small. You can partition a crate using a cardboard box or crate divider from the pet store.
It is human nature to want to provide our puppies with soft, comfortable bedding. HOWEVER, we caution you against this. Bedding may encourage accidents, as it can absorb urine. Puppies have also been known to chew or ingest entire blankets provided for them lovingly by their owners!
If you observe your puppy, notice he will often choose cool, flat surfaces such as tile or linoleum to rest on. It is not cruel to crate your puppy without a blankie!
Once your puppy is an adult, it is safe to put bedding in his crate. If you choose to purchase him a bed, be sure to supervise him!
Choose a spot in your house such as the family room or kitchen/dining room where the puppy will not feel isolated. Let him investigate the crate with the door open. Praise the puppy for entering on his own; ignore him when he exits. Hide small, tasty treats inside for your puppy to discover. Feed him several meals in his crate (with the door open). He will begin to associate his crate with good things.
Next, try putting your puppy in his crate with an appropriate chew toy for short periods. After 5-10 minutes, if he is quiet, praise him, and open the crate door. Do not inadvertently reward him for exiting the crate by praising him as he walks out. Slowly increase the amount of time the puppy is left in the crate. To help ensure he will enjoy his crate, remember to provide him with something to chew on.