Setting Up For Crate Training Your Puppy

crate trainingWhen properly introduced, the crate becomes a private safe place for your dog.  Just like in nature where wolves, fox and dingos use dens for sleeping, birthing and protection, your dog will quickly accept the same security with his crate.  You will quickly see that it is also a win/win situation as it will make house breaking easier on both parties as well as travel.  Older dogs will seek their crate as a place of refuge when they become tired, upset or overwhelmed.

There are some rules that must be followed while introducing the crate to your puppy as proper procedures to make the transition smooth and as stress free for your puppy as possible.  Everyone in the home having interactions with the puppy must understand that the crate is NOT to be used for punishment.  This does not include putting the puppy on a “time out” when they become over stimulated.  We are talking about making the experience with the crate a negative one such as scolding the dog and putting them in the crate angry.

And while you will want to start crate training within a few days of bringing your puppy home, you should never leave a puppy under 6 months locked in their crate for longer than three hours.  You are using the crate to help with house breaking by using the dog’s natural aversion to soiling it’s bed.  If you leave a young dog too long they will become stressed not wanting to soil their bed and then stressed if they are forced to do so.  If you need to be gone longer than 3 hours then you need to have alternate solutions such as an exercise pen big enough for the crate and some puppy pads, a small room/enclosed yard that the dog can access for eliminations or a friend that can come let your puppy out.

Style of crate isn’t as important as the size.  The crate must not be so big that the puppy is comfortable with eliminating in it and not so small that it cannot get comfortable.  You want it just large enough for your puppy to be able to stand up, turn around and lay down easily.  This doesn’t mean you have to buy twenty crates to accommodate your puppy as it grows.  What you can do is buy one that fits the size you expect your puppy to mature at and then block off the excess crate space.  Some manufacturers make dividers for their wire crates.

The wire crate is really popular because people really like the light and open feel about them and they work really well in hot climates.  There are also the mostly solid plastic crates which are not as appealing to the human eye, but dogs actual tend to like better because these crates provide even more privacy.  You can create this kind of feel for your dog with the wire crate by placing a towel or floor mat over the crate.

Once you have your crate set up for your puppy you are ready to begin the crate training process.  We will cover the actual training in our next article so be sure to follow along to learn how to keep this process positive and fun for you and your puppy.