Left on their own, puppies have the tendency to show the devious sides of their personalities – using the couch cushions as chew toys and soiling the carpet. Let’s be honest, puppies are kids. Good inside-the-home behavior is a learning process, and your new friend needs some coaching.

Training your puppy is an important part of being a dog owner. And part of that process involves crate training. Crating your puppy while you’re away from home or even while you’re home, busy with a project that keeps your attention away from your dog, is beneficial for each of you. For you and your family, it helps with house training and provides peace of mind that you won’t return to a destroyed home after a day at the office. For your puppy, the crate provides a safe space—a bedroom of sorts—which alleviates anxiety when you’re away, and establishes routine and expectations.

Follow these dos and don’ts for successful crate training.

5 Things You Must Do

Follow a schedule: Establishing a schedule for feeding time, taking your puppy outside (more than once) and crating him is especially important in the mornings before you leave the house. In the evenings, try not to feed your puppy past 6:30 p.m., so that it leaves plenty of time to take him outside a few times before bedtime. 

Remember key times: Puppies generally need to go outside right when you wake up in the morning, 20-30 minutes after eating, after napping and after playtime. 

Pay attention to the signs: If you’re home, be sure to observe your puppy’s behavior. When he begins to circle around an area, that’s a sure sign it’s time to take a trip outside.

Take your puppy to the same spot: Returning to the same area outside helps your puppy to understand why he’s there. Once your puppy relieves himself, be sure to give him a little praise to reinforce this action. The routine, once learned, becomes habit.

Remove your puppy’s collar or harness when inside the crate: Removing your puppy’s collar or harness when inside his crate is for his own safety.

5 Things You Should Never Do

Never use the crate as a punishment: In order to establish the crate as a safe and positive place, never put your puppy inside of it as a punishment. This action will give the crate a negative association.

If he begins to bark when you put him in the crate, don’t give in: In the beginning, your puppy may bark or cry when placed in the crate. This is normal. Comforting him or letting him back out will only prolong the process for your puppy to get used to his crate. 

Don’t put the crate in an isolated space: This is especially important when you’re home. Puppies feel more comfortable when their owners are nearby. Try to place the crate in an area of your home where your puppy can see you.

Don’t leave him out of the crate if you’re not there to supervise: Until your puppy is grown and good behavior inside the home is learned, refrain from allowing your puppy to roam your house without supervision. This allows more opportunities for mishaps.

Don’t leave him in the crate all day: Puppies just can’t hold it. Though puppies don’t like to urinate where they sleep, if they’re neglected and left inside the crate for too long, it’s not their fault.

Crate training is a process, and one that requires routine and dedication. Accidents will happen, and it’s important not to overreact. As your puppy gets older, time outside the crate can increase. And with positive association with the crate, your dog will have a safe haven to retreat to when needed.

For more tips on crate training your puppy and information about obedience training classes, dog boarding and more, contact K9 Country Club.

(Photo: ©fotojagodka/123RF Stock Photo)

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