It’s a Crate life for your puppy!
Dogs learn to love their crate as their own special den – it is familiar and safe – where they know they can relax and sleep undisturbed. Dogs view a crate very differently from us.
The crate becomes the den that we humans took away form the dog when we domesticated them.
Deciding which size crate to buy is very important. The crate must not be too big – but big enough for your dog to be able to stand up, turn round and lie down. Buy the crate that will be the right size for your pup when he is fully grown, but don’t give him all the crate space at first. You will need to divide the crate with either a crate divider or a peg board, cut to size and secured with plastic wire ties – too much space could allow your puppy to soil in the crate. As your puppy gets bigger, the divider can be moved to give him more space until it is no longer required.
Dogs are happiest when they are with their pack – and that is you!!
Your crate should be in an area where you are most of the time - so that your puppy feels included and can see and hear what is going on.
Don’t put your puppy in the crate straight away as this may frighten him. Feed him next to the crate and leave his toys just outside of the crate. Giving him a couple of little treats and then popping a treat into the crate will encourage him into the crate. It may take a few attempts as your puppy will be naturally cautious – but he will soon go into the crate on his own accord.
Puppies learn fast – praise him when he goes into the crate, and when he becomes sleepy, place him in the crate. As soon as he wakes up take him to the area you want him to use as his ‘pee place’. Praise him for being good – puppies love play and praise and will want to please you.. Introduce the command – “go to bed” or “in your room”.
Feeding your puppy inside the crate lets him know that this is his home. At meal times, place the food inside the crate – with your puppy on the outside of the crate – and shut the door.
Wait a few seconds and as soon as the crate door is open you puppy will shoot inside to have his food! Always have fresh water inside the crate in a feeding bowl made for crates. This will prevent your puppy from spilling the water and making the bedding wet. It is also recommended that your puppy does not wear a collar inside the crate.
Playing with toys in the crate is also important - but they must be toys that are safe and cannot be destroyed with sharp little teeth. Kong or Nylebone toys are ideal and will keep your puppy from getting bored.
It is very important never to use the crate as a punishment. It is not a place to lock up your dog for long periods.
Don’t let your dog out of the crate if he cries or barks. Wait until he is quite until you open the door, and never make a fuss over him when he comes out of the crate. Ignore him for a few seconds – then praise him.
Your dog should always be in his crate overnight and when he is left alone – keeping him from harms way. Except for overnight a dog should not be in the crate for more than 5 hours, and as a puppy this time must be built up gradually. If you have to leave him for a few hours it is good to give him his walk before leaving him – so that he will feel happy and content.
A crate cover recreates the den environment – dogs are content and happy when they are snug and cosy. A cover will also protect them from outside light and disturbance. You may be advised to cover the crate with a blanket or a towel – which is unsightly and encourages you to put the crate away as soon as your dog is trained. A crate is your dogs own space for all his lifetime – it provides a sanctuary, a retreat where he can sleep in peace – a safe and cosy haven.