Petiquette 101: How to Crate Train a Puppy

Feb 26, 2018

Crate training is an excellent way to welcome a new puppy and start its education and adjustment right away. A crate is a puppy’s dedicated place. A safe, secure nest that’s all his/her own. It has a number of uses beyond this from potty training, to time outs and resting, as well as discipline. To help you navigate the big job of training a new puppy, Timbercreek brings you this list of ways to crate train your furry friend.

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Bars Aren’t Bad

On first look, the bars on a dog crate seem awfully cage-like. But your pup doesn’t see it that way. He/She sees a warm, cozy cave where he/she feels comfortable to sleep in safety. It’s also a puppy’s own private spot. While dogs do well carving out their own nooks and territory, they generally have to share a house or apartment with their owners. A crate comes in handy in this regard to give them a place that no one else can use.

Prep for Your New Pup

Before bringing a new puppy home, make some preparations. Start with the right sized crate. Ideally the puppy should have room for a bed and water bowl, and be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If possible, also get a blanket that smells of the mother dog, and place it inside the crate. The familiar smell will be a huge source of comfort.

Where to Put the Crate

Crate location is important. Your dog wants to feel connected and included, but also have a  place where it’s quiet enough to rest. A great spot is the corner of a living room or den, where he/she can see the family but have space of his/her own. A laundry room or basement isn’t ideal for this reason as he/she may feel isolated and act out.

Not Too Long

Keep your pup’s crate time short and sweet. Start with a few minutes, gradually building up the time. Once he’s/she’s happy and settled down, be careful not to leave him/her in it too long. Avoid leaving even older dogs unattended in a crate for more than four hours at a time. It isn’t fair to your best buddy, who may start to resent the crate rather than love it.

Don’t let it be for discipline only

Most would-be pet owners assume a crate is used for sleep, and discipline. And while it can be used to good effect to this end, it foremost should be a place your dog enjoys. Using it to positively reinforce behaviour is a better tactic to take.

Dos and Don’ts

DO: Encourage the pup to explore the crate. This means hiding tasty treats and special toys inside for him/her to discover.
DON’T: Force the puppy inside.
DO: Praise him/her when he/she sits inside without crying.
DON’T: Let him/her out when he’s/she’s crying, as this rewards the noise and makes him/her more likely to cry in future.
DO: Very slowly extend the amount of time pup is left inside the crate.
DON’T: Use the crate as a place of punishment or leave him/her in for hours on end. Check out more here.

Timbercreek hopes that this list helps you welcome home your new puppy and start off his/her training the right way. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

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