Crate Training Tips for Your New Puppy

Your young puppy definitely should not have the run of your home. Just like toddlers, they are just learning right from wrong and can get in trouble, hurt or make an absolute mess when you are not watching.

By using a crate as part of your house training program, you are not only teaching them their potty skills, but also keeping them safe and secure. Crating your puppy is an excellent way to start developing good habits with your puppy.

Here are some great tips to help with crate training your puppy.

  1. The natural instinct for a puppy is to seek a den, preferably one that is partially enclosed in the back so they feel safe from a rear attack.
  2. Airline crates work great and can also be used for trips.
  3. It is also a natural instinct not to mess in their sleeping quarters, so try using a soft bed rather than newspaper, especially if you are planning to paper train.
  4. Make sure your crate is big enough to accommodate your puppy, yet small enough that they cannot mess in the corner.
  5. If you have a large breed dog, you may need to buy bigger crates as they grow or get expandable crates. My Labrador eventually outgrew his crate so he now sleeps on his orthopedic pillow in the same spot .
  6. Your puppy should start to sleep in their crate at night. Similar to babies, it teaches them to sleep on their own and not bark and whine all night long. So, at bedtime, place your puppy in the crate and leave them to cry it out.
  7. If you return to the crate when they are making noise, you are actually encouraging the crying and will make it worse. Each night, the crying episodes will shorten in length until they actually will seek out their den when they are tired.
  8. Do not allow your puppy to sleep with you. Your puppy may have accidents in your bed or may be injured when you roll over.
  9. Another reason not to let your puppy sleep with you is kinda gross, but it actually happened to me when I was in Vet school. My dog happened to become infected with tapeworms from eating a flea. These worms can crawl out of the puppy during the night and will then be deposited in your bed. Another good reason for regular worming and flea control. (Over the counter dewormers are not effective against tapeworms). The crate is the best place for your puppy to sleep at night.
  10. Keeping your puppy properly dewormed will also lessen the risk of diarrhea and accidents.
  11. Do not use the crate as punishment if your puppy has chewed up something valuable. It is your responsibility to make sure your home is puppy proofed and this is a good way to get your kids to pick up their toys.
  12. Scheduling your puppy also helps with the house training. Your puppy will need to go to his designated potty area:
    • first thing in the morning
    • right after they eat
    • when they are finished playing
    • when they wake up from a nap
    • before they go to bed
  13. Young puppies should be fed about 4 times a day and feeding them at the same time each day will help establish regular elimination habits.
  14. Feeding your puppy in the crate will also help him enjoy his crate more.
  15. Make sure your puppy has water in their den. If your puppy has a tendency to spill the water, they can be taught to use the water bottles like hamsters and ferrets, only bigger.
  16. A great tip is to set a timer for every 2 hours during the day so you can remember to let the puppy out.
  17. Never punish the puppy for accidents, but praise them lavishly for doing their deed at the designated location. If puppy is caught in the act somewhere other than the designated area, simply scoop them up and take them to the designated area to finish and praise them once there.
  18. If your puppy does have an accident, it is your fault for not watching him and letting him out on his regular schedule. Ignore the accident and be more vigilant next time.
  19. Do not rub their nose in the accident or reprimand them in any way.
  20. Use an odor neutralizer to clean the accident and never use ammonia.
  21. Give your puppy a safe chew toy to keep the occupied when they are in the crate, Kong toys work well because you can fill it with peanut butter or treats and it will keep them occupied once you leave them.

Your puppy is eager to please you and with a little help from your family and a crate, accidents and destructive tendencies will be kept at a minimum. Pick up more puppy training tips at my new puppy care and dog training website MyPuppyCare101.com

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