The first month of having a new puppy is such an exciting time. It’s among the more enjoyable experiences over the span of owning a dog. However, it’s probably one of the hardest periods of owning a dog. Before puppies know any better they think that tearing up any shoe they can get a paw on is all in good fun and you’re left with a closet full of left-footed shoes. Or maybe they’re just so excited they leave smelly presents in hidden places for you to find.
If you’re familiar with these experiences, you’ve probably decided to look into crate training your new puppy in order to curb these common puppy behavior problems. While this can be a difficult process it is often a great choice for both you and your new canine family member. We are here to walk you through the process of crate training from making the decision to begin and finally having your puppy comfortable spending time in the crate.
Why Choose Crate Training?
Crate training is a common choice many dog owners choose to ease the process of training a puppy. It requires some patience, but there are several benefits for taking the task on that will pay off for you and your puppy. When deploying crate training, you won’t have to worry about your puppy getting into mischief at home. Also, spending time in their crate at an early age will allow them to develop a calm and peaceful response to the crate and they’ll learn to enjoy it. It can even aid in the potty training process.
Selecting the Right Crate
Your first step in this process, after taking puppy home, is to pick the right crate for your dog. The two most common types of crates are made out of wire/mesh material and a hard plastic crate with a mesh metal door. The wire/mesh crate is best for people who want a crate that is easy to assemble and disassemble, and the hard plastic crate can be a good choice for owners who want a sturdier option with more privacy for their puppy. Hard plastic crates work well during car trips.
When choosing your dog’s crate, you should consider both their current and potential size. The crate should be large enough that your pup can stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. You don’t want one that’s too big, however, because the cozy size helps create a safe feeling for your dog as they are natural den animals.
Common Mistakes When Crate Training
- Mistake #1: Using the crate as punishment. If you use the crate to punish your puppy they will learn to fear it and begin to refuse to enter. You want your puppy to love his crate.
- Mistake #2: Crating your dog without easing into it and getting your puppy comfortable with it.
- Mistake #3: Leaving your puppy in the crate for too long. Dogs can do well in crates if trained properly but they need time to stretch and run around too.
Best Practices for Crate Training
- Practice #1: Before leaping in, begin by introducing your dog to the crate for short periods of time and make it a good experience for them by using positive reinforcement for spending time in it. Treats are a great reward.
- Practice #2: Feed your dog their meals in the crate. This will force them to spend time in it and it will further their positive feelings toward it.
- Practice #3: Put a comfy blanket or old towel in the bottom of the crate. This is supposed to be a safe retreat for your puppy and they’ll be spending a lot of time in it eventually so you’ll want them to be comfortable.
- Practice #4: Place an old piece of clothing of yours into the crate. An old sweater or shirt works great. This allows your puppy to get a whiff of your scent in their crate, which gives them a peaceful feeling.
- Practice #5: Adhere to a specific schedule. If you’re crating your puppy at night, try to put them in the crate at the same time each night. Putting them in the morning before work, do the same and try and keep the time consistent.
- Practice #6: Puppys will play a lot, but they also take a lot of naps. It’s a good idea to try and schedule some naps in the crate for them during the day.
- Practice#7: Be patient with your new puppy. This is a new experience for the both of you and he’ll need time to adjust.
If you follow all of these tips and avoid common mistakes people make you’re sure to successfully create a safe place for your puppy to enjoy and save all your shoes in the process. Crate training certainly can be a win-win!