Dog Crate Training
You can satisfy your dog’s need for a “den” by providing him with a crate or kennel like area, where he can feel safe and secure, and will not be disturbed by the family’s comings and goings. Particularly useful for giving your dog a bolt hole in any room in the house, depending on where you happen to be. Most dogs that have been trained to accept being crated when they are young, grow up to be just as happy in a crate as out, of one, providing they are not used to being crated then by means of punishment, or for long periods. Lastly crates are the only safe place for your dog if you are travelling in a car, and it prevents him being able to get at your shopping, if you have done the weekly shopping trip.
But even more useful if you take him away with you, because you can crate him without him feeling that you have shut him away, because it has become his “house”. Should you wish to take your dog to a hotel, many will accept dogs if they are crated to protect their furniture and carpets. But if your dog has not been acclimatised to a crate he will most likely cause a fuss or even bark a lot, which of course would not be acceptable.
Crates can also act as a house training tool because the crate confines the dog to a small area, and as a dog will not usually soil it’s own sleeping place it can help to train a dog to hold on until you take it out. But of course you must be very aware of just how long you leave him in the crate, if you leave him too long then accidents will happen, and once done will be more likely to happen again. If your dog has an accident in the crate, you may be confining him too young. What ever the reason, do not tell him off, just clean it up and be sure to use a neutralizer, so as not to encourage him to do so again, in the crate.
All puppies, and some adults dogs, will be destructive, but if crated he will have very little to chew except his own toys, which of course you must supply in abundance. It will also avoid the possibility of him getting into cupboards where there might be substances, which could be harmful, if not very dangerous.
As very young puppies have little control over their bladder it is not advisable to use the crate to house him in to begin with, as he will be unable to hold him-self, he will just be used to soiling in it that it will be hard to stop him. But you could have two very different types of crate, one crate for him as a puppy and something very different, as his bed as he gets older. This second crate, you could have close to you so he sleeps in it when you are sat down, or you can feed him in the crate. If he is wary of the crate to begin with then start by feeding him beside it, then just inside, then finally right to the back. You could also encourage him into it with various games, throwing his ball into it, or teaching him to find the treat, just let your imagination run, this is just to get him to have” good” associations with the crate.
In the early days it is best to only crate your dog for short periods, and while you are present, so that his experience of the crate is not associated with his being anxious about being alone. As your dog accepts it you can increase the length of time he is in the crate, then during these longer periods you can leave him alone for very short time, to begin with, and again slowly increasing the length of time until you are satisfied that he is quite happy about the whole process, of being left in the crate.
You need to follow a few safety lines as well;
Remove your dog’s collar, it is amazing how dangerous a collar can be if the buckle gets caught on the wire of the crate.
Be sure no children can tease or torment, them at any time, but particularly while crated as they cannot run away.
Be aware of the weather, dogs will suffer if they get too cold or too hot, or even wet for long periods. So never leave your dog crated in a car or outside if you are not around. Always remember to give them water, preferably in a bowl that they cannot turn over.
How long is too long in a crate?
Up to 10 weeks of age about 30 –45 minutes
10 to 11 weeks of age about 1 to 2 hours
15 to 16 weeks of age about 2 to 3 hours
17 weeks plus 4 hours
Please be aware that it is cruel to leave dogs crated or even alone for 5 hours or more.
Always leave them with toys, water and very important a radio for company, whether crated or not.
If you find that your puppy cries or barks constantly then you may be crating him too young, or you have tried to rush the above steps, or possibly he is suffering from separation anxiety, and just cannot cope with being alone. It helps if he is well exercised ( according to his age ) and be sure to give him a reasonable amount of attention when he is with you.
Providing that you approach the action of crating as outlined about, and with sympathy towards your puppy or dog, you really should not have any problems, and will find it a very important part of his
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