Are you worried about your new puppy wandering around the house while you're in bed? Are you concerned that he might destroy some of your furniture or maybe hurt himself while you're out of the house? Does your puppy make a lot of noise at night because he does not feel safe within such a big space?
If you answered YES to the questions posed above, then it may be the right time to crate train your puppy. Crate training can help you avoid sleepless nights and keep you from worrying about your pet while you're at work. A good crate will also make your dog feel a lot safer and more comfortable, especially at night. Here are the top five tips for crate training that will help you live harmoniously with your dog.
1. Choose a crate that is just large enough for your dog to turn around and lie down comfortably in. Your dog may not want to get in a crate that's too small, and he might defecate inside the crate if it's too big. If your dog belongs to a large breed, you can avoid having to buy a new crate every time he grows too big for the existing one by buying a large crate to begin with. You may then adjust the space inside the crate by using a thick cardboard as a divider.
2. Your dog needs to view the crate as his den; somewhere safe into which he can retreat. Make him comfortable inside the crate by placing a base bed or thick blanket in it. It is also good to attach a water bottle to the side of your dog's crate so that he can easily drink in case he gets thirsty at night.
3. Make the crate an interesting place for your dog. Leave a few of his favorite toys and trips inside, especially when you have to leave him there for an extended period.
4. Expect your puppy to whine and bark the first time you leave him inside the crate. You will have to put up with the noise at this time. Do not give in no matter how much your dog indicates that he wants to be released from the crate. Bear in mind that he just needs some time to get used to the crate. If you give in to his whining, you will only succeed in underlining your role as pack leader.
5. Never use the crate for punishment purposes. Remember that this is supposedly to be your dog's haven, so he has to be able to associate it only with positive experiences.
Many dog owners get frustrated with crate training simply because they do not fully understand how a crate should be used. You need to bear in mind that the crate is your dog's personal space, and it is not a tool for punishment. As long as you follow the crate training tips outlined above, you will soon enjoy a harmonious and loving relationship with your dog.