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Crate Training

In our opinion crate training allows your puppy to feel safe and secure, whilst providing you with peace of mind when you may need to leave your pup for a short period or overnight.

 

Buy a metal collapsible crate that is big enough for your dog when it is full grown.  Your dog should be able to stand up, turn around and fully stretch out in it.  You will need a dog bed or blankets (vet bedding is good as it washes and dries easily).  Toys and chews should be readily available within the crate so it is inviting to your pup.

 

We suggest putting the crate in a central location initially, you want your puppy to accept the crate as a safe place to be, not something isolated and lonely.  Your puppy needs to see and hear what is happening around them, we don't want your puppy to feel they are being punished. 

 

A water bowl should always be available, even overnight (non spill bowls are available from most pet shops).  It is a good idea to feed your puppy in the crate, this generates a belief that nice things happen and they are rewarded (their meal) for going in the crate.

 

The best time to put your puppy in their crate is when they are tired after exercise, playing, when they have eaten and then eliminated.  Lead your puppy to the crate, put a treat inside and encourage your puppy to go in and eat the treat.  Once inside say GOOD and REWARD AGAIN.  Ensure there is a toy and or Kong filled with peanut butter, pate or other safe filling, this will enforce that the crate is a good place to be.  It may help in the early days to cover the bed end of the crate with a blanket or throw to darken it and make it feel more like a den.  Do ensure there is plenty of ventilation without draughts.

 

It is always tempting to give your new puppy a lot of attention (cuddles and strokes) when you first bring them home.  However, once you have settled in your new pup, given it some food, taken it outside to eliminate, it will be feeling very tired after the journey and with all the change that's taken place.  Now is the time to introduce it to it's crate.  Ensure there are soft toys, if possible a hot pad (whelping pad) and something that smells of the puppy's mother and siblings (a small blanket given by the breeder).  Settle your puppy in the crate (you can give them a small treat), stroke them whilst in their bed until they relax and drift off to sleep.  Now close the crate door.  Allow your puppy to sleep (usually 1 - 3 hours), don't wake him/her.  When they wake and before they start whining, open the crate door and take them outside to eliminate.  Now you can make a big fuss of them.

 

The first night - Generally your puppy will have his/her last feed about 8pm.  After this you can play or fuss your puppy until your puppy is tired and ready for bed.  Take your puppy outside to eliminate fully, be patient even if it means standing with a coat and brolly in the rain.  Now settle your puppy into their crate, stroke them until they are asleep - this won't take long (maybe 15 - 30 minutes).  Close the crate door, cover with a blanket, ensure the room is darkened and leave your puppy to sleep.  Hopefully your puppy will go through the night to around 5-6am.  If during the night you hear your puppy whimpering, they may need to eliminate, generally dogs won't soil their own beds.  If you do get up in the night, settle the puppy back down after it has eliminated and go back to bed.  Important - don't make a big fuss of your puppy or they will become too wide awake and won't re-settle. 

 

Trainer's note: I don't believe in letting a puppy get extremely distressed as this causes them to dislike being on their own in the crate, plus I like to keep my neighbours from complaining.  If I find my puppies won't settle easily, I have used a small amount of Bach Flower Rescue Night Spray on their gums for one or two nights, but no medications (even herbal or flower remedies) should be used without first checking with your vet.  If you would like to learn about other (non-medicinal) calming techniques please contact me.

 

Helping to prevent separation anxiety - Get your puppy used to being in their crate when you are in the house.  During the day, put your puppy to rest in the crate and close the door.  Your puppy will soon believe their crate is their sanctuary and even choose to go in it's crate to play.  Your pup will learn that it doesn't need attention 24/7 and you can then get on with your housework or other activities without having to watch your puppy at all times.