Tips on Crate Training your Puppy
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So you’re travelling along nicely; puppy knows its name, is recognising your call – even at the park (sometimes). Is eating properly and even Dad’s on-hold with the extras (under the table at dinner time)!
But puppies will be puppies and your patience has been tested on a number of occasions.
How is it possible that a puppy can be in so many places at once?
Living on the farm in the early days, all dogs were treated the same.
Whether they were working dogs, the cute fluffy type, or even those of the scrounging type, they ALL slept together.
Nothing like a nice warm stable for all our canine furiends to bunker down.
But as time went on and those farm days morphed into city days, we had to re-think how the household would work.
Funnily enough, dogs are rather adaptable, so it wasn’t hard to teach them new tricks.
I only wish I had known more about crate training when our
puppiesdogs became inside dogs.
Here’s how we can help you avoid some of those accidentalnightmares, often found on return home from work.
Let’s get started.
There’s just something about dogs that makes you feel good. You come home, they’re thrilled to see you. They’re good for the ego.”– Janet Schnellman
Some of the lesser known joys of puppy parenting include coming home to a destroyed kitchen, finding “presents” in your favourite pairs of shoes, and having the puppy taking it upon herself to redecorate the bedroom by ripping apart/re-fluffing all the pillows.
Fortunately, there is a tool that pet parents can use when training their puppies to help keep both pet and property safe:
Crates come in all sizes and types, they may even become part of the furniture.
Crates for small and large dogs, crates for commercial travel and even the car.
It will be up to you, and how you feel about the aesthetics of a crate, but we believe there are many merits of introducing such a tool to both your dog, and home.
Is Crating a Dog Cruel?
Many pet owners shy away from using a kennel as a training aid because they fear that confining their pet to a small space may be cruel to the dog.
On the contrary, many dogs find crates comforting, and the RSPCAeven has the following to say about kenneling an animal:
A crate is intended to be a ‘safe haven’ or ‘security blanket’ for the dog. By nature, dogs like small, enclosed spaces, especially when they are feeling a little bit unsure.
By providing your dog with an area where it can ‘escape’ and know it won’t be bothered, it can readily seek out this area when it needs a bit of a break or time-out.
Pet owners can think of crates as the canine version of tiny houses… minus the hipster mustaches.
Benefits of Crate Training your Dog
There are numerous benefits to crate training your puppy, besides helping your dog stay out of trouble when you are gone.
A crate is indispensible for potty training, as dogs naturally know not to soil themselves in confined spaces (can we teach that to children, too?).
Handle every situation like a dog. If you can’t eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away.
In addition, crates help keep dogs safe in the car, are used by rescue workers during emergencies, and can keep dogs protected during chaotic times at home.
Even if you do not intend to regularly use a crate, teaching your puppy to be comfortable in one from an early age can save a lot of hassle down the road, especially if you ever intend to travel with your pet.
How to Crate Train your Dog
Purchase the Proper Size Crate
The first step to crate training is to purchase the appropriately sized crate for your pet.
A crate should be just large enough to stand up and turn around in, similar to your first studio apartment.
While it may be tempting to purchase the luxury condo-size crate for your puppy, avoid the temptation to do so, as your dog may use one side of the kennel for pottying and the other for sleeping, if not already potty trained.
The goal is to teach your dog that the crate is a safe spot, so it is very important to make positive associations near the kennel.
Begin with simply giving your puppy a treat anytime she walks near the crate.
Next, place a toy or treat inside the crate and give profuse positive praise if they takes a step inside.
Once they have mastered this step, provide your dog with meals inside the kennel.
Gradually Increase Time in the Crate
Once your dog is comfortable with crated meal time, you can begin to close the door to the kennel and leave your dog crated for short durations of time, starting with 5 minutes.
In the beginning, it is recommended that you stay in the same room with your dog in order to avoid her feeling immediately isolated.
However, after a few rounds you should begin to leave the room to help your pup grow accustomed to your absence.
If necessary, give your puppy a treat or toy to keep her occupied during training, such as a peanut butter filled KONG.
What not to do
Occasionally, puppies will whine when they are left alone, which is a natural response to ensure their mothers do not leave them vulnerable to predators.
If your puppy cries in the crate, avoid soothing her as she will learn that crying equals attention.
Only let your puppy out of the crate if she is calm and quiet. Additionally, never use the crate as punishment for your puppy otherwise she will want to avoid the kennel at all costs.
The crate should always be a positive space of comfort.
Overall, there are many benefits to crate training your pup, for both your sanity and the puppy’s safety.
Teaching your puppy to enjoy the crate is relatively easy (as far as training a puppy goes…) and can often be completed in as little as a week.
And, whatever your crate looks like, it’s all about making your puppy feel safe, warm and totally at home within his environment.
Pup-Update – Eight Months
“At eight months, Jerry’s looking more like a ‘real’ Cocker Spaniel than ever before. His nose is longer now, (kinda grew out over night) and it definitely makes him look more regal. Markings are all deepening in colour and becoming more pronounced – I am in love with his golden freckles. So pretty (there, I’ve said it)! We now have a mobile groomer who comes to visit and Jerry loves the guys at Hills Professional. So glad we introduced Jerry to a professional groomer when he was young, he’s been so well behaved for both Daniel & Emma and I’m very grateful for the care they take, and for the great job they do. We’ve also fallen in love with Underwater Dogs. I’ve never felt a dog so soft, nor smell so good EVER, and believe me when I say… I am so particular when it comes to the products I use and UWDOGS has to be one of the best products on the market. Meeting Gayle from Underwater Dogs was meant to be.
Ash Sukhwani a.k.a. Mother of Jerry
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
Once your puppy has become more comfortable in their crate, the next skill to learn is how to Potty Train – as the crate can play an important role!
Watch this space – Chapter Thirteen – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Lily @lilylashes_cavoodle, Lewis @lewis_cavoodle, Benji @benji_the_cockerspaniel, Coco @coco_the_peekapoo, Boris, Summer, Milo, Bear @littlebrownbearlab, Molly @molly_poppoodle, Jerry @jerrythe cockerspan