Crate Training - The Essential Lesson for Every PuppyThere is more to the crate than meets the eye. It provides a safe haven for your puppy and frees up time for you to go about your daily chores without worrying for the security of your new pup. Those who are not aware of the usefulness of a crate will see it as a form of torture for dogs, however, if crate training is carried out properly, it can be a fun and rewarding for both you and your puppy. It's effectiveness cannot be denied, as shown by the number of professional dog trainers who swear by it when potty training.
Getting the Right Crate Size - An ideal dog training crate should be large enough to allow your dog to stretch out without hitting his head and allow him to be able to turn around easily. The size of the crate is consider too large if you find your dog relieving himself in one corner and playing and sleeping in another. If your puppy is still young and not fully grown, try to block off certain section of the crate with cardboard or wooden boards.
Critical Crate Training Rules - You must introduce the crate slowly to your dog when you begin crate training. Crate him in short intervals, about 10 minutes, and gradually increase the duration over time. Your dog needs time to get used to being crated. Never crate him for more than 30 minutes or longer the first time you put him into the crate.
It is not advisable to crate a young puppy for long periods of time. Your puppy should have the chance to exercise and urinate before being crated. Dogs are clean creatures and do not wish to dirty the space near their personal sleeping areas. However, he might be forced to relieve himself if you cruelly lock him in for longer than he can hold it in.
A good way to remember the maximum length of time a puppy should be crate is to add 1 hour to his age in months. For example, a 2 month old puppy should not be crated for more than 3 hours without any bathroom breaks.
It's normal for dogs to kick up a fuss, bark and moan while in the crate. If these things happen during crate training, do not give him any attention! Yes! Do not even look in his direction.
Dogs are intelligent animals. Do not let on that he will be able to get your attention and change your mind when he is upset. Simply ignore him. Reward your dog with a little treat or praises only when you find him behaving well in the crate.
Offer a treat or toy to distract and calm your pup down if necessary. No matter what you do, you must not let your pup out of the crate, this is a very critical moment where you must not give in.
If you notice that your dog displays hyper active behavior as compared to before, you might be crating him for too long. If your dog starts to chew on himself, let him out immediately and consult a trainer or behaviorist.
Here are some tips to help introduce the crate to your dog:
1. To make it easier for your pup to accept his crate, play with him there, or spent time near the crate doing whatever you like, reading or playing video games while he is busy playing with his new toy. If he is there all by himself, he begins to associate the area with isolation and may resist being there at all.
2. Start crate training at the start of dinner. Give him his food, one piece at a time, by throwing bits of kibble in to the crate and making him search for it. This is one way of making it fun during his training.
3. You can place his favorite toy, or even surprise him with treats hidden in the crate for him. To surprise him, you can even hide a biscuit in the crate – that's fun!
4. It is not advisable to keep him in the crate for long periods until he is pressured to relieve himself. If you are gone for long periods each day, you should consider a larger confinement area such as an exercise pen or a small room.
5. The best place to place the crate would be where your puppy can see the environment and family members, hear and smell you, the owner.
6. Do not punish your dog in his crate, it will backfire. Your pup will tend to enjoy his stay in the crate more readily if you can make him associate crate stay with a time for fun. The crate is suppose to be your dog's natural den where he feels safe and comfortable, not where he'll be punish and associate it with "bad things".
7. Crate training is not a long term solution to keeping your dog safe without supervision. Puppies should not be left alone for extended periods in their crates. If the puppy soils the crate, this can slow down your training by weeks.
To conclude, crate training is a very valuable and useful obedience training lesson. Its main purpose is to provide security, safety, reduce potentially destructive behaviors, add to the ease of traveling and protection for short term confinement, whenever the owner needs it. It is one important lesson all puppies should learn from day one.
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About The Author: Moses Wright is a dog lover and owner of Dog Obedience Tips site. He loves to help dog owners with their dog problems and do so by consolidating his years of dog ownership experience into a free book filled with simple yet powerful dog training tips: Free Dog Problems Book