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How to Crate train your Puppy

Crate Training Tips

A crate for a dog is the domestic version of a den. Long before dogs became domesticated, they used their den when they needed privacy, and seclusion. Your pet dog has evolved to a state of near complete domestication, but some of those wild traits still remain. The desire for a lair is one of them.

Having a crate for your dog has many advantages. A crate is first and foremost, a great training tool for housebreaking. In fact, you'll find it harder to train your dog if you're not making use of a crate, and the chances of accidents around the house are greater. Crates are also ideal when you travel with your pet. If you're looking for a hotel that accepts pet dogs, you'll have better luck with a crate trained dog. In unfamiliar surroundings, a crate can help a dog feel safe and comfortable because it is a familiar environment. Many landlords make crate training a criteria for allowing pets on the premises.

The ideal crate for your dog should be made of plastic or meshed wire, and should be light and portable. Once your dog has been sufficiently house trained, you can detach the doors of the crate, and use it as a sleeping or resting area for your dog.

How to Crate Train Your Dog

Don't be surprised if your puppy resists being locked up in a a crate, and expect a lot of tantrums and yelping. Like anything else dog training related, patience and consistency is key here. Don't give in to the urge to remove him from the crate because your pup is creating a ruckus in there. You'll only set your crate training back by a few weeks. Tap the door of the crate, and order a stern "No!"to calm him down. Eventually, your dog will get used to the comfort of his carte and quieten down.

Use treats to get your dog in the crate. Throw him a treat, and get him to go after it. He begins to associate the crate with treats which reinforces entering the crate as desirable behavior.

Make the crate a haven for your puppy. Place a comfortable dog bed; take care to choose only materials that are hard to chew. Throw in a few chewy toys too, so he has something to do when he's in the crate. Keep rotating his toys, so he has a constant stream of "new" toys to play with - dogs get bored of the same toy.

How long Do you keep your dogs in the crate?

Ideally, your puppy should spend around 2 hours at a time in the crate, and then again, overnight. Move the crate to your bedroom to reassure him, and comfort him. Give him at last an hour between crate breaks to romp around the house and play. He needs to understand that the crate isn't a permanent house for him.

House training your dog with a crate

Using a crate is an ideal way to begin house breaking your new pup. Dogs, by instinct don't urinate or defecate where they sleep or rest, so your pup will be highly averse to the idea of soiling the crate. Use this to your advantage. Crate him for a while, so he can retain the contents of his bladder and bowel. Then let him loose, and take him outside to eliminate. Give him some time to eliminate and, if he's unable to, take him back to the crate. If he does eliminate, give him a treat or praise him, and allow him to run around the house unfettered, as a reward. After an hour or so of play, your dog is ready to be returned to the crate again.

Use this potty training method every hour, and note down your dog's elimination pattern in a note book. This will give you an idea of the time of the day when he's most likely to eliminate.

A crate is also an ideal way to protect your home and furnishings from your pup's destructive chewing tendencies. If you have been away from the house for many hours, crating your dog will ensure that you don't return to a home that's soiled, and littered with chewed debris.

Many dog owners find the concept of a crate to be uncomfortably similar to a cage. This is far from the truth. A crate is a necessity for a dog. It's the doggie version of a "room," for humans. It's the one place in the house that is completely his own. Never abuse the crate or use to to punish your dog. It's a wonderful training tool, provided you don't make a habit of confining him to it for long periods of time.

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