Crate Training Is the most talked about new method of training dogs is crate training. More and more dog owners and their pets are learning the benefits of starting puppies on crate training as soon as they arrive in their new home. Crate training is the use of a plastic airline crate or a wire cage to confine a puppy when the family is not home or is unable to supervise the puppy's activities. The crate in effect, becomes the puppy's bed. Other terms used interchangeably with crate training are den and kennel.
You may feel that it is cruel to confine a dog to a crate. It would be cruel to just close him in the crate and leave. But if you introduce him to the crate properly, you will find that your puppy will quickly come to prefer it for sleeping and quiet time. Too many dogs are surrendered to animal shelters because of the damage done while they are unattended it is NOT cruel, to crate train a puppy to prevent behavioural and housebreaking problems
Why Crate Train?
Dogs in the wild live in dens. The den provides wild dog’s protection from predators as well as the elements, and it allows for a feeling of security. That's why you often find dogs curling up under a table, chair, or bed. By giving dogs a secure place that is all their own, pet owners can take advantage of a dogs' natural instincts to help the dog feel safe, thus reducing isolation-induced stress.
Crate training, if done properly, is a wonderful training tool with many benefits. Apart from the obvious uses for transporting dogs, a crate can be used for short-term confinement -- to keep your puppy out of mischief so he does not develop bad habits when you cannot give him your undivided attention.
A crate can also be used to develop good habits --to housetrain your puppy, to establish a chew-toy habit, and to reduce inappropriate barking and digging. Also, if your dog ever injures himself or becomes ill, the crate will be invaluable during recovery. If you move, your dog's adjustment to a new home will be quicker and less stressful if he is crate trained. If you stay in motels or visit relatives, your dog will be "damage-proof" if he travels with his crate. If you travel by car, placing the dog in the crate will keep him out from under your feet, away from the driver, and safer in case of an accident.
Where Do You Put the Crate?
Dogs are pack animals and prefer to be with their family, so keep the crate in a lived-in part of the house. A kitchen or family room is good -- never a garage or shed.
When the puppy is young it is recommended to have the crate near the door he will be going out to use the bathroom. Having the crate close to the door will help prevent any elimination accidents as the puppy leaves his crate and heads for the door to go out.
Your dog should thoroughly enjoy spending time in his crate. This can be accomplished by making it comfortable and fun to go into the crate, and by giving him something entertaining to do in the crate. Below is a step-by-step outline of the recommended process:
1. Set up the crate with the puppy out of the room, so as not to startle him.
2. Use vet bedding or old blankets, towels or sheets that are washable.
3. DO NOT use housebreaking pads or newspaper in the crate because this will attract and encourage the puppy to eliminate in his crate.
4. DO use a bolt on water and food bowl so not to spill contents on bedding
5. DO put one or two safe chew toys in the crate with the puppy so he has something to occupy his time -- a Tuffy Kong toy is one of the best and safest toys to leave a puppy alone with. Stuffing a Kong toy with freeze-dried liver or a biscuit can keep the puppy entertained.
5. Do use a snuggle puppy with heated pad so the puppy has a friend to lay on.
6. If you are using a wire crate, place an old blanket or sheet over the top and sides in order to create a den-like atmosphere. Tuck the ends of the covering under the crate so that the puppy cannot pull them inside to chew on them.
REMOVE YOUR PUPPIES COLLAR BEFORE PUTTING HIM IN THE CRATE
Introduction and Use of the Crate
You can make going into the crate a game by tossing in treats or toys. Allow your puppy to come and go at will --do not force your puppy into the crate.
When the puppy gets in the crate on his own or because there is a treat inside, this is your cue to start associating a command with the action. You can use statements such as "bed." The most important thing to remember in giving commands is to be brief and consistent.
Always leave the crate door open when your puppy is out of the crate so he can get in it when he wants.
When you are home, make sure the puppy spends time in the crate make going into the crate a game. Give your chosen command, such as “bed," and throw a treat or toy into the crate. Let your puppy walk in and out of the crate at will. Whenever your puppy goes into the crate on his own, lavish him with praise!
Each time the puppy enters his crate for confinement, give him a tasty treat such as cheese.
Expect your puppy to be very vocal in his crate for the first couple of weeks he will launch an objection to not being able to follow you around or sleep in your bed, you must ignore this vocal behaviour but verbally reassure your puppy he or she is ok.
putting the crate near your bed or sleeping near the crate for the first few days will assist with this at night.
ALWAYS use your chosen command when calling your dog to the crate for confinement. DO NOT simply call him to you.
NEVER USE THE CRATE AS PUNISHMENT! Your dog will pick up "vibes" from you if you put him in the crate when you are angry. The puppy's crate should be his secure place. It should not be associated with punishment, fear, or anything negative. If you treat the crate as a wonderful, gentle, lifesaving tool to prevent accidents, destruction, and behaviour problems, your puppy will feel positive about the crate too.
Every time you let the puppy out of his crate, even if he has only been confined 30 minutes, take him straight outside to his "wee wee" area Praise him when he eliminates outside. If the puppy does not eliminate within five minutes and you know it is time for him to do so, put him back in the crate. Wait approximately 30 minutes and then take him outside again. In the morning, be sure to take the puppy out the minute he starts to fuss, but not until that point at night a reasonable length of time without toileting would be from 11.00pm till 5 am, in the day time this is shortened to two hour periods.
If the puppy eliminates in his crate, clean it up immediately and thoroughly. After cleaning up the urine, wipe the bottom of the crate with a pet odour eliminating product or a solution of vinegar and water. It is necessary to clean up the odour completely so the puppy does not smell it later and urinate there again.
During all unsupervised times, the puppy should be in his crate with the door closed. Normal, healthy puppies will generally get into mischief if unattended. The tendency of puppies to "learn" about their surroundings is too strong for them to control --learning means chewing, scratching, and digging. If the puppy is unable to get into trouble, destructive habits will not be formed.
As your puppy gets older (probably close to 1-year-old), you can start leaving him out of the crate unattended for short periods of time. When you first leave him unattended and out of the crate, restrict him to one or two rooms in the house. If the puppy behaves in your absence, gradually increase his time out of the crate with the ultimate goal being never having to close him in his crate. However, he should continue to have access to his crate whenever he wants. If the puppy gets into mischief in your absence, begin to crate him again whenever he is unsupervised and try again.
When Problems arise.
Elimination in the Crate could be due to a number of causes:
Was the puppy crated longer than he was able to "hold it"?
Did the puppy drink an excessive amount of water before he was crated?
Did you take him outside and give him a chance to eliminate before he was crated?
Is the crate too big, enabling the puppy to get away from his mess?
Is the bedding material too absorbing his mess so he is not severely inconvenienced when he urinates in the crate?
Never rule out medical problems when your pet's habits seem to change. Some dogs and breeds are easier to crate train than others, so keep trying and do not get discouraged if there are occasional mess-ups.
Barking in the Crate: , Puppies may bark when they are first put in the crate.
All puppies will cry in their crate to start off with.
To reduce settling time in the crate you can try covering the crate with a sheet (ensure adequate ventilation).
You can also try leaving a radio playing to mask sounds and keep the puppy company when you are away.
Make sure the room is illuminated even at night.
If your puppy is being very vocal, try to get his/her attention and give the QUIET command then remain in sight quietly to reassure the puppy you are there but without offering any form of praise for the barking.
Resist the temptation to always remove the puppy from the crate as this will reinforce that crying leads to being picked up, however one or two cuddles in those early days will not damage a dog for life.
But do feel free to move closer or put your hand to the crate to reassure the puppy that he has not been abandoned
Overall remember you have a baby that needs love and companionship not constantly confining.