How Big Should the Crate Be For a Puppy?
One reason why crate training works is because dogs instinctually avoid soiling the places where they sleep. If your crate is too large, your puppy could go in a corner and then move to another spot in the crate. Also, the crate is meant to be a rest area and not a house of play. Large crates promote the latter, again ruining the training process.
A good rule of thumb is that the crate should be large enough for your dog to turn around in comfortably. It should be sturdy, so look for crates with metal bars or a high-impact plastic body and metal grate. Your puppy may belong to a medium or large breed that will require you to invest in another, bigger crate later, but some dogs can use the same crate throughout their lifetime.
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy
Before placing your puppy in its new crate, encourage it to go to the bathroom.
Next, place a soft blanket and a few toys in the crate, creating a welcoming environment for your new pet. Initially, only put your puppy in the crate for short periods, rewarding with a treat snack. Your pup will need to get used to the sense of confinement while associating it with pleasant things.
With a little patience, time, and training, soon your dog will be able to have free reign of your home.
Crate Training a Puppy At Night
Even if your puppy is comfortable being in his crate during the day, nighttime can be a different issue. Your puppy will be used to sleeping with his mom and siblings and not used to having to sleep by himself. To help with any distress your puppy may experience during those first few nights, try using an aid such as a Snuggle Puppy. These soft toys provide warmth and the sound and feel of a heartbeat to soothe your puppy.
Depending on the puppy, you may initially decide it is best to move his crate into your bedroom with you. Being near you may help comfort your puppy, and soothing your puppy during the night is more straightforward if he is nearby.
Deciding When Your Dog is Ready To Be Left Out Of the Crate Can Be Tough. Here Are Some Guidelines To Follow.
Many pet owners start to use a crate when they bring home a puppy for housetraining purposes, and preparing your home for a puppy to run around takes a bit of work. Nayiri Krikorian is a professional trainer with Zen Dog Training and a member of the Harry’s Picks Advisory Panel. If you think your dog might be ready, Krikorian recommends being proactive by rolling up and storing your rugs and purchasing some enzymatic cleaner in case of accidents.
After that, Krikorian suggests a few steps to puppy-proofing your home:
- Get down on the ground and identify anything in your room that might be a particularly tantalizing chew “toy.” What about all the cords connected to your television? Consider the magazines on your coffee table, not to mention the coffee table itself. Are your sofa cushions safe? If you can remove some of these items from the room, then do so temporarily.
- If you are worried about your puppy chewing furniture, you can spray the surfaces with a chew deterrent, like Bitter Apple.
- Create a containment area using baby gates or an exercise pen. Inside should be her crate, with its door open so she can relax there and snooze inside if she pleases, some toys and maybe a water bowl and food dish. By including her crate inside the containment area, you’re expanding her feelings about her crate, comfort, cleanliness, and security into the new space.
After you have your confinement area, teach your dog to treat the space the same way she treats her crate. Start small; have her new “room” be only slightly larger than her crate. If she’s successful in there (meaning a few consecutive days free of accidents or destructive behaviors), gradually increase her area.
Article written by Author: The Dog Daily Expert