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Why And How To Properly Crate Train Your Puppy

Crate Training A Puppy Requires Sequestering, Routine, Praise, And Patience

Crate Training A PuppyFor a certain segment of the population, the association of a crate with puppy training may be perceived as a negative – something used to prevent, stop, or even punish some unwanted behaviours. On the contrary, crate training a puppy is actually a means of positive reinforcement, a measure used to encourage desired behaviours.

In more specific terms, crate training can play a significant role in encouraging and/or influencing the development of a puppy in the following ways:

  • Housebreaking (likely the number one reason for crate training)
  • Instituting a routine with respect to eating, sleeping, quiet time
  • Teaching boundaries – where a puppy is/is not permitted to explore
  • Providing a haven or den where it can feel safe, secure, comfortable
  • Protection from possible harm when no one is home to supervise
  • Safer and less stressful automobile (and perhaps airplane) travel
  • Acclimatization in the event that kennel/boarding time is required

When it is introduced and integrated properly, utilizing a crate can certainly contribute greatly to the overall puppy training experience. Before examining the implementation of crate training in more detail, it would be worthwhile to note the circumstances when using a crate can actually be detrimental to a puppy’s development. Situations that can work at odds with housebreaking and/or creating a positive environment for a puppy and should therefore be avoided include:

  • The crate should not be used to punish bad or unwanted behaviour
  • The crate should not be used to isolate the puppy from family/guests
  • Owners should not place a puppy in its crate by force or with anger
  • Unbroken crate time (except overnight) should not exceed 3-4 hours
  • Crates should not be lined with newspapers or housebreaking pads

From the perspectives of implementation and integration, some of the key considerations for the owner-family when undertaking crate training with a new puppy would include:

  • Crate size – just large enough for the puppy to stand, turn, and lie down
    • A crate too large tempts the puppy to use a portion as its potty area
  • Crate location – in a room where people spend a lot of time (do not isolate)
  • Crate time – needs to be increased gradually based on the age of the puppy
    • Rule of thumb: about an hour per month of age (part of bladder training)
  • Meals – begin by setting food near crate, then gradually move meals inside
    • Treats can be placed in crate to identify it as a positive/rewarding place
  • Toys – one or two favourites should be designated for crate-only play time
  • Door closure – also must be introduced and increased gradually over time
    • Begun once meals are being taken regularly and freely inside the crate
    • Should also be done casually – no fanfare, noise, or abrupt movements
  • Alone time – another aspect to be started slowly and extended bit-by-bit
  • Praise – should be an elemental component throughout all puppy training

Successfully crate training a puppy will require a combination of: sequestering, routine or scheduling, supervision (when the puppy roams free), and a healthy dose of patience.

Unfortunately, the above outline barely scratches the surface with respect to the specific actions and timelines required to achieve that success.

While there are many different sources where more in-depth information can be obtained on crate training a puppy, perhaps the best resources for insight and guidance would be puppy trainers who can assist in integrating crate training within an overall puppy housebreaking training program.

If you are experiencing challenges with crate training or housebreaking a puppy, call Alpha Paws today at 905-830-9500 or 1-877-868-PAWS (7297) to discuss our puppy training programs and find the best solution for you and your puppy

Also Read: How to Crate Train a Puppy

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