Dogs may be domesticated animals, but that doesn’t mean they don’t retain instincts that pertain to survival in the wild. As a result, many dogs harbor a desire to nest in a sort of den. This is a place where they will safe and comfortable. If you don’t provide this for your puppy, he is likely to take up residence anywhere you happen to be (on the couch, in your bed, etc.). In a way, this natural proclivity is useful in that it can provide you with a way to keep your puppy from using your house as a bathroom and your furniture as a chew toy while he grows. By crate training your puppy you can teach him where his special place is while he learns to live in your home as a non-destructive member of your family. And since you want this training to go off without a hitch so that you can let your dog roam the house without worrying about messes, here are a few tips and tricks that could help to speed the process.
The first thing you’ll want to do is select a crate that is appropriately sized for your puppy. People are often inclined to purchase a crate that will accommodate their dog once he reaches full size. But this is a mistake when crate training your puppy, mainly because he will be inclined to use the extra space as a toilet until he is potty trained. No animal likes to sleep where he eliminates, so your best bet to avoid this scenario while getting him comfortable with the confines is to select a crate that is sized for him and then upgrade as he grows (although you should also take him out for frequent bathroom breaks since puppies have little control over their urges to eliminate). Your crate should allow enough room for your puppy to stand and stretch. You can provide for more room as he learns to control his bowels.
The next tip is to keep the crate with you. Dogs are essentially pack animals and they don’t like to be left alone. They will make their displeasure known by whining, barking, and pawing at the cage. In order to see to the needs of your growing puppy, as well as get him acclimated to his crate more quickly (so he sees it as a comfort rather than a punishment), you need to take the crate with you wherever you go in the house. You should keep it in your room at night (the sounds of your sleeping will lull him and instill a habit of sleeping through the night) and take it with you throughout the house during the day whenever possible.
Of course, you’ll want to let him out occasionally to use the bathroom, run around, and get used to being in the house. This is something that you will do more and more frequently as he becomes used to his crate, eventually leaving the door open so that he can come and go as he pleases. However, you need to develop a firm resolve not to let him out when he’s whining or otherwise acting fussy. Our first inclination is to cuddle pets when they’re upset, but this only teaches them that whining and barking leads to reward. So wait until he quiets down to let him out.
There’s no denying that crate training could take a while to accomplish, no matter how fast you aim to get the job done. But there are definitely ways you can speed the process along, mainly by adhering to the general guidelines for success. By following proper crate training techniques you can help your puppy to feel comfortable in a crate (a necessity for vet visits or trips) and respect your home. This will make for a fruitful relationship that benefits both you and your dog.