Crate Training Your New Puppy

Introducing a new puppy into your family comes with its own special set of challenges, but crate training can help make that process much easier.

Training your puppy to sleep in a crate can help with house training. Dogs naturally do not want to eliminate where they sleep. A proper size crate for a puppy is one in which they have just enough room to turn around comfortably. If your crate is too large, a puppy may have enough room to eliminate in one corner and then go back to sleep in a clean corner. If your puppy has just enough room to sleep comfortably, he will alert you by whining or barking when he needs to go out. Keep in mind that very young puppies may not be able to go all night without at least one trip outside. By the time a puppy is 10-12 weeks old, he can usually go about 6-8 hours at night before needing to go out.

Crate training can also help your puppy to develop appropriate chewing habits. Puppies need to chew. Chewing not only helps with the teething process, it is how a puppy learns about his environment. Puppies will try to chew on most anything in order to learn if it is food, something fun, or something to be avoided. Your puppy should be crated any time that he cannot be directly supervised. Providing your puppy with appropriate chew toys while in his crate will help him to develop the habit of chewing on only the toys that you provide. This not only helps to protect your belongings such as socks, shoes and furniture, it also protects your puppy from injury. Unsupervised puppies can get into all sorts of mischief, included chewing on dangerous objects such as electrical cords and swallowing items that could potentially lead to intestinal blockages.

Each time you place your puppy in his new crate, give a command such as “crate” or “kennel” and reward him with a small tasty treat. Once they get used to sleeping in the crate, many puppies find it a comforting spot to relax and willing enter the crate when asked to do so. The crate becomes a safe, secure retreat for your puppy. Crate training is one of the best things that you can do for your new puppy, and your household belongings!