We all need a place to call our own—a sanctuary of sorts. Your puppy is no different. Part of raising a healthy pup is providing it with its own sanctuary; crates are a perfect solution. Both puppies and dogs can be easily trained to enjoy the retreat to their crate.

Crate training is not cruel, provided your puppy has sufficient exercise and an opportunity to eliminate before you place him in his crate. Keep in mind that your puppies’ bladder and bowel control is limited, so let your pup out of the crate at least every four hours. Allowing your puppy to wander through the house unsupervised to investigate, chew and eliminate is unwise and potentially dangerous.

There are numerous benefits to crate training your dog:

1. Security & safety for your dog

2.. Prevention of costly damage (due to chewing, investigation, elimination, etc.)

3. Help with training proper chewing and elimination

4. Easy traveling (helps your dog become accustomed to caging for traveling & boarding)

5. Improved dog/owner relationship (fewer problems mean less discipline for your puppy and less frustration for you)

A tip or two

The first step is purchasing a crate. The main thing to remember is to leave enough room for your dog to stand and turn around – even when it is full-grown. Two basic styles exist: the metal, collapsible crates with tray floors and the plastic traveling crates.

Because dogs are social animals, the ideal location for the crate is in the room where your family spends a lot of time. Never keep it in a room where your pup will feel isolated. For the crate to remain a positive enjoyable retreat never use it for punishment. A radio or television can help calm your dog and mask environmental noises that sometimes trigger barking.

Training Puppies

Introduce your puppy to the crate as early as possible. Place a few treats, toys, or food in the crate to motivate your puppy to enter voluntarily.

The first confinement session should be after a period of play, exercise, and elimination. Place your puppy in its crate with a toy and a treat, and close the door. Leave the room but remain close enough to hear your puppy. You can expect some degree of distress the first few times your puppy is separated from his family members. Never reward the pup by letting him out when he cries or whines. Ignore him until the crying stops, and then let him out. If the crying does not subside on it’s own; a light correction may be useful. When correcting try to avoid being seen by your puppy. A squirt from a water bottle or a sharp noise such as shaking a can of pennies can be used to interrupt barking.

Training Adult Dogs

Training an adult dog is similar to training a puppy, except for the initial introduction to the crate. Introduce your dog to the crate by setting it up in the feeding area with the door open for a few days. Place food, treats, and toys in the crate so that your dog enters on its own. Once he is entering the crate freely, it is time to close the door. Some dogs may adapt more quickly to crate training by placing the crate in your dog’s normal sleeping area, allowing your dog to sleep in the crate at night.

Traveling with Fluffy

Finally, the crate is an ideal way to house your dog when traveling. Try short trips first and gradually increase travel time. Let your dog accompany you to the store, the park or while you run an errand – anywhere that will adjust him to the crate and elicit positive feelings.

If you have problems with crate training call our office for an appointment. We will be happy to help you with any questions you may have.