"Your puppy or dog's crate should be one of her favorite places to hang out...IF you introduce it to her properly."
Using a crate to confine your pup is extremely helpful in training your puppy proper behaviors. His crate keeps him safe when you can’t be watching him, prevents destructive chewing, helps with house training and provides a cozy rest area when he needs some much needed sleep! If you follow the directions below you will be able to use his crate to develop proper manners and much desired household behaviors.
Another way to keep your puppy safe and out of trouble is to create a play area with plenty of chew toys that includes his crate for sleeping. Here you can also include a toilet area in the farthest corner away from the crate and a water dish in the other corner. You can create this by enclosing the space with an exersize pen or putting this all in a small room, such as a laundry or mudroom. Your puppy should be here when you can’t supervise him to limit mistakes and accidents. It is your responsibility to teach your puppy what you want him to do and if he has unsupervised, free run of the house before he has proper indoor manners you will make your job MUCH harder.
Teaching your puppy to LOVE his crate is easy to do if you include lots of positive reinforcement in your training. You can use a chew toy stuffed with his favorite treats, such as a KONG, to help. Show your pup the stuffed toy and let him sniff and lick it so he knows what it is. Then place it in the crate about half way in and shut the door, keeping your pup outside of the crate so he can’t get it but can see it. When your pup is trying hard to get at the toy in the crate, open the door and let him in. You can do this with also by throwing in a few treats on the bottom of the crate for him to find and eat. Close the door and let him stay in there a few minutes at a time or until he has finished his treats. Increase time slowly and be sure NOT to open the door when he wants you to. Do NOT open the crate when he is whining or crying. Opening the door when he is acting fussy only reinforces the fussiness and teaches him that is what he needs to do to get you to open the door. Watch him closely while he his eating his teats and open the crate when he is close to finishing the treats and is still happy and quiet.
Constance Dwyer, CABC
Certified Animal Behavior Consultant
copyright 2013 - Constance Dwyer - all rights reserved