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Crate Training

Why It Works

There have been countless articles on the advantages of crate training your dog or puppy yet I still run in to people that believe it’s cruel. Here are a few of the reasons why crate training can be a valuable tool in raising and training your dog or puppy.

This will be my second article on crate training but I think it’s a topic that is worth repeating.

At this moment I have a litter of thirteen three-week old Doberman puppies. Because of the size of the litter, today I decided they were getting a bit too big for their whelping box and decided to move them out of the box. Right now the puppies are in a room in my house across from my office. I keep the whelping box in the room so the mother can get away from the puppies if she needs to and the puppies now have the run of the room.

In the room I have spread towels and newspapers on the floor, and the only other thing in the room besides the box is a Pet Porter crate. I take the door off so it’s easier for the puppies to get in and out.

I found it interesting how when the puppies are placed in the kennel, they immediately group together and fall asleep.

I also noticed that they stay asleep longer than if outside the kennel. By the end of the first day I saw more than one puppy leaving the crate to intentionally eliminate on the newspapers. This is at three weeks old mind you.

What I’m seeing even on this first day is that these puppies find this kennel a safe place to be.

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Soon I will be attaching the door back on the kennel. This along with two other kennels to accommodate this size litter will be placed in the puppy area. When I clean the floors all the puppies will be placed in the kennels and the doors will be closed.

I will then place the puppies as a group and individually in the kennels for brief times during the day. Every time I place the puppies in the crate I will use the word “kennel”. By the time these puppies are ready to go to their new homes they will all find the crate a safe, comfortable place to be. They may even go in the crate on command.

Advantages of using a crate

I can’t imagine raising a puppy without a crate. Allowing a puppy too much space in a house is what leads to accidents, destructive behavior and possible harm.

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Housebreaking

Crate training your puppy makes it much easier to teach your puppy a schedule of eliminating outside. You can also feed your puppy in the crate which will ensure the puppy does not become lazy and potty in the crate. There are puppies that will naturally eliminate in their sleeping area but this can be the fault of breeders not keeping puppy areas clean and this can be resolved through training.

A crate is a safe place. If you have company over that are not “dog people” or they have a small child that is not as well-trained as your dog, a crate gives the dog a safe place to go avoiding any possible unwanted scenarios. A crate is their place, where they will not be bothered or harassed.

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Destructive Behavior

One of the greatest benefits of crating your “dog in training” or puppy is your home will be in the same condition as when you left. Leaving a puppy in a room alone may lead to destruction or even injury.

There are a few things I think are necessary before leaving your puppy or dog in a crate.

1. Take the time to properly train your dog to the crate.

Most dogs can be crate trained in one or two sessions. An owner who avoids training and throws their dog in a crate will commonly see the dog become panicked and anxious. This can also lead to extreme difficulty in attempting crate training at a later time.

2. When considering bedding for a destructive dog or puppy.

Never use bedding that the dog will be punished for if damaged. I always use old towels so if chewing occurs there is no chance of punishment. It is uncommon for older dogs to damage bedding and at that point nice crate padding can be purchased.

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3. Consider what you leave in the crate.

Leave the dog or puppy something to keep them occupied. Be sure when leaving toys or bones in the crate that they are not something that can be ingested causing injury to the dog. Kong products and others specifically designed for this are one option. Treats will also encourage the dog to enter the crate upon command.

4. Music soothes the savage beast.

Consider leaving a radio or television on when you are not home. This will not only help in keeping the dog occupied, it will also reduce outside distractions which lead to unwanted barking.

One thing I want to make clear is never leave your dog in a crate for long periods of time. Crating your dog is a useful tool but it can also be abused. If your dog is left in a crate for too long and is forced to eliminate, you are defeating the purpose of crating your dog. A crate must always be a happy and safe place for your dog.

You will find once your dog is ready for total freedom of your home, you may want to leave the availability of a crate for your dog to enter when they please.

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As you can see by my illustrations, once your dog is training to the crate you can purchase a “designer” crate that is a pleasant addition to your home.

Crate training equals faster housebreaking, less destruction and a happier dog.

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