Congratulations! You found the perfect puppy for your family and have brought your furry new family member home, but, why did the breeder insist you get a crate?
There are several reasons to accustom your puppy to a crate. For one, it is the safest place for your puppy to ride in the car, it is like a car seat for dogs and will keep your puppy safely contained while you concentrate on driving. Just like a small child, a dog can become a flying object in the event of sudden braking or an accident.
At home, your dog’s crate can be his “safe place” while you can not watch him. It can also be his “retreat” when he is overwhelmed or needs some quiet time or a nap.
Your dog’s crate should NEVER be use as punishment, your dog will love having their own “den” if it is used properly.
Last, but, certainly not least, a crate is the best potty training tool you can buy.
Speaking of potty training……….
Keep in mind, your new puppy has a very small bladder!
The first night you have your puppy at home, at least 2 hours before bedtime, pick up all food and water. When it is time to put puppy to bed take her outside, wait with her while saying “key” words. I say “get busy”. As in “do you need to get busy?” Let’s get busy”. When she does her business praise her lavishly with the same key words “GOOD GET BUSY!!! Good girl!” Act like she just did the greatest thing in the world. Then take her in and put her in her crate with a soft blanky and maybe a soft toy. Remember, dogs are pack animals and she has been sleeping with her littermates and Momma up to now, so put her in a room with someone in it. Preferably someone who can get up with her a time or two in the night. If she fusses speak softly to let her know you’re there, otherwise ignore her until around 4 hours in to the night. Then when she fusses, get her out of her crate, take her out, say key words, wait for it, praise. Then back to bed.
First thing in the morning, directly outside, key words, wait for it, praise. Then take him inside and feed and water and go about your day, keeping him in sight at all times. When you see “potty” behavior, sniffing, circling, squatting, scoop him up, outside, wait for it, praise.
If you can’t watch him, outside, wait for it, praise, then in the crate with a safe chew toy. As soon as you take puppy out of the crate, outside, wait for it, praise.
If he has an accident quietly clean it up and watch him closer. If you do not catch him in the act and try to punish him after the fact he will not know what he did wrong and you will end up with a fearful, confused dog. If you do catch him in the act, make a sharp AT AT sound, scoop him up, outside, wait for it, praise.
Set your puppy up to succeed and she will! Soon enough, your furry friend will be sleeping quietly through the night, in her crate and responding with enthusiasm when you say the key words.
You’ll have your puppy potty trained in no time!