Many books and articles have been written about the benefits of housebreaking by using a crate. Primarily they discuss the importance of scheduling and what size crate to use. But there are many reasons why a crate should be used during and beyond housebreaking and if used appropriately, a crate will become your primary tool and a safe place where your dog can relax and feel secure.
One of the basic rules for raising a puppy is to introduce new things gradually and positively. This is especially true for the puppy's introduction into his crate.
Make it upbeat and fun!
- Start out with a game of throwing treats into the crate as the puppy follows them in. Let the pup come out. Keep repeating and make it fun.
- After the puppy goes in happily, close the door for a few seconds. Do not let him out unless he is calm.
- Increase the time that the door is closed while you are present.
- Walk away for a few seconds. If the puppy whines, ignore him.
- Continue to increase the time and distance that your puppy is left in the crate.
- If your puppy really carries on, you may try placing a sheet over the crate so that he is less stimulated by what he sees.
Your pup should be crated at various times, during the day. DO NOT only crate him when you leave the house. He should be crated when you are home also so that he learns that he does not always come first. If you have another, older dog, crate the puppy while the other is out and about. Your puppy needs to learn patience!
If you want to put towels or toys in the crate, be very careful that the puppy is not a strong chewer. Stuffed animals and bedding could become emergency surgery due to an intestinal blockage. Toys should not be easily broken off into smaller pieces.