Crate training is a fine way to housebreak your puppy. Though adult dogs can also be crate trained, it is simpler to crate train a puppy. Crate training is extremely beneficial because your puppy will need to be in a crate many times, for example while traveling or when at the vet or when you’re not at home. Moreover, crate training ensures that your dog is disciplined and can be left in a pet care facility or with friends in case of an emergency.
You can begin crate training a puppy as soon as you bring him home. Contrary to common belief, you don’t have to wait until the puppy is older. The crate training method is endorsed by vets and other animal experts as an ideal way to housebreak a puppy. However, you have to remember that puppies have virtually no control over their bladders and have to be released from their crates frequently to relieve themselves.
Get a crate that allows your puppy to stand in it, turn and lie down. Don’t get one that is too large. This will only tempt him to relieve himself in one part of it and relax in the other — something you definitely don’t want to encourage. In case your crate is too large, cordon off the extra space by inserting a piece of plastic or cardboard. Several types of crates are available but the ones most commonly used are plastic and wire crates. If you’re using a wire crate you might want to cover the top with a sheet to give it a semblance of privacy. This is because dogs crave comfort and privacy when it comes to their ‘den’ area.
Most pups are quick to get adapted to resting in the crate but some may need a little extra convincing that it is a safe and comfortable place to be in. To motivate your pup to get into the crate place some food treats in. Once he begins entering the crate of his own accord, begin using commands like “kennel” or “in your house”, etc. Once your dog begins entering the crate, close the door for a couple of minutes and then release him. Slowly and steadily, increase the time that he spends in the crate. Try leaving the vicinity and coming back after a few minutes. Once you return, reward him with a treat and let him out. Gradually increase the amount of time that you spend away from him.
When you release your pup from the cage try not to create too much of a fuss and drama. That will only cause separation anxiety when you’re not around. Just release him without a fuss, give him a treat and walk away. Don’t punish your dog in the crate. A child can be sent to his room when he misbehaves. The same thing won’t work with your pup. It will only make him view the crate as a punishment and he’ll begin to resist getting in.
Adhering to an appropriate feeding and eliminating schedule is very important while crate training a puppy. Feed him at a fixed time and take him to relieve himself after about 15 minutes after his meal. Puppies have weak bladders and need to relieve themselves frequently, sometimes once every hour. So take your pup out to eliminate as often as possible and don’t punish him if an accident occurs. Just clean up the mess without much ado. Accidents are bound to happen during crate training. Just accept it and move on.
Crate training your puppy may seem tough in the beginning but in the long run it is well worth the effort. You’ll have a pet that can be taken anywhere and also be safely left at home when you’re not around.