CRATE TRAINING YOUR PUPPY
What is a crate?
A crate is a portable "kennel" that is used to train a young puppy or safely transport your dog in a plane or car. It can also be used as a "home" for your dog when you travel, making your dog a welcome visitor in a friend's home or motel.
A crate can be plastic or metal. The plastic crate is used a lot for air travel and is enclosed except for the door and a small grate on each side. The metal crates are more open, and some are made to fold down which makes them very easy to transport.
How does crating work?
Dogs are den animals who seek small, cave like enclosures to crawl into. Most puppies will look for a place to go to sleep that is a tight fit, like under the coffee table. With the crate, you are supplying a perfectly safe environment for your puppy. It is a safe haven away from underfoot and small children, and it is a private bedroom, which it will not soil if it can help it. Using a crate can alleviate numerous problems, can stop other problems from starting, and can housebreak a puppy with ease.
Where do I put the crate?
The crate should be in a "people" area, the kitchen or family room. The crate should be within easy reach during the day, so that when things get busy and you can't watch the puppy, the crate is handy, not in the basement or on another floor. If you need two crates in different parts of the house, get two. Dogs are social animals and if you lock a puppy away where they can't see what's going on, you will have a harder time getting the puppy to adjust to a crate.
What do I do now?
Set up a routine that works for you and the puppy. First thing in the morning let the puppy out to potty. If you want them to eliminate in a certain area, take them there and praise them when they go. Also, a catch phrase like "go now" or "hurry up," if said every time, will help your puppy learn faster. The puppy should take all naps in the crate it will make nighttimes easier as the puppy adjusts to being confined. When the puppy is loose in the house it should be confined to the room you are in with a baby gate. If you can't be with the puppy, use the crate. If the crate is properly introduced, the dog will grow to think of the crate as its den. Most dogs that are crate trained will use the open crate as a resting place.
The major use of the crate is to prevent the dog from doing something wrong. If you have small children the crate is a safe place to put your puppy away from the children, and to be used at times when you cannot watch the puppy (eg dinner time).
House manners are just as important as house breaking. It is useless to correct a dog for something it did 5 minutes ago; you must catch them in the act. If the dog is out of the crate unsupervised, it may do something wrong and not be corrected, or worse, corrected after the fact. If the dog is not corrected, it may develop problem behaviour as a habit or learn that it can get "away with it" when it is not supervised.
The dog will not associate a correction with behaviour unless given at the time of the misbehaviour. Corrections after the fact will only confuse the dog and lead to a lack of trust from your dog. If you find evidence of a misdeed after the fact, understand it is your fault, not the dogs. If you use your crate as you would a child's playpen, to keep the puppy safe when you cannot watch it closely, the results will be amazing.
How long do I use the crate?
The crate is a tool; it should be used for at least a year with a puppy. A very young dog should be placed in its crate whenever it cannot be supervised. As the dog gets older, more freedom can be allowed, but not hours at a time. If you leave the house, the dog should be in its crate (also when you are sleeping). Most people make the mistake of allowing the dog too much freedom too soon. This only leads to destructive behaviour in the teenage dog. When they are trustworthy while you are home but not within sight, then you can start leaving them alone for very short periods, while you run to the corner store or post office. If all is fine at home when you return, greet the dog normally. Some dogs have separation anxiety when left; coming and going should be no big deal, no big scenes, which will leave the dog confused. After the dog has proven himself to be trustworthy, leave the dog for longer periods of time. But the crate should be left for times you need the dog out of the way, or for the dog to go to when they want to rest.
Crating do's and don'ts
- Do remove all collars before putting the dog in the crate.
- Do place the crate in a people area.
- Do let the dog out often so that it is never forced to soil its crate.
- Do take the dog out if it whines or barks because it needs to eliminate. If they were just out and eliminated, correct it for whining or barking.
- Do clean the crate regularly, especially if you have added a floor.
- Do adjust your schedule so they get out every 4 hours during the day. When you are home and can supervise them, they should not be in the crate (except at night when you are sleeping).
- Do put safe toys and bedding in the crate. Most dogs will destroy foam bedding and need only a soft rug to sleep on.
- Do let the dog out of the crate to potty after eating or drinking a lot. (The dog will have to go to the toilet)
- Don't punish the dog if it soils the crate. Sitting with "it" is punishment enough.
- Don't use the crate as punishment.
- Don't rush to give the dog to much freedom out of the crate unsupervised. Start with very short periods and work your way up to longer periods.
- Don't give your crate away. Keep the crate handy even for older dogs; they are great for special situations that require the dog to be confined.
Crates are available from most good pet shops & suppliers, they can be found on ebay, XL size. The collapsible wire crates are best, the “soft” crates can be chewed.
www.ebay.com.au (type in dog crate)
(you need to buy one big enough for an adult dog)
XL for male ( 40”)
L for female (38”)