This was posted in another thread. It's courtesy of Custom K9 Performance. Good advice about crate training and how to and why to crate train also
This is what I give my students wen they start puppy class. It should help you get started on crate training.
A crate is one of the most valuable items you could buy your dog. If you have not started crate training it’s not to late to introduce it to your puppy.
There are many different types of crates or kennels. They range from fancy wire crates to a plain plastic airline crate. The safest type of crate for a puppy would be a plastic airline crate. Wire crates are great for travel or for an adult dog that is already use to going in a crate. Wire crates can be very dangerous for puppies if they panic or try to get out. A puppy usually goes through stages in crate training where they try to get out or have a little of separation anxiety. A puppy could easily get caught up in the wire and harm them selves. Safest choice is to use an airline crate or plastic crate. Next you need to size the crate for the puppy. They should be able to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably. You may need to purchase another crate as your puppy grows. Never leave a collar on dog or puppy in a wire crate they could strangle.
Dogs have a natural instinct to “den”. A crate provides a safe place for your puppy to be when you cannot supervise them (going to work or having company over). Unfortunately it is very common for people to get rid of their dogs because of behavior issue that could have been solved by a crate.
Why crate your puppy
Avoid destructive behaviors and soiling while you are away from your house or cannot supervise your puppy.
Crates provide a safe place for your puppy. Puppies can be stolen or poisoned in their own back yards. (Unfortunately it happens more than you think)
Crates help with housebreaking and help teach puppies to control their bowels. Puppies should also sleep in a crate at night.
Having company over can be a dangerous time for your puppy. People coming in and out of your home can be deadly if your puppy gets outside. Guests that are allergic or scared can have relief by crating your puppy.
There are many great reasons to crate your puppy but a crate should never be used as a punishment. You want your puppy to love the crate not fear it. An adult dog should not have to be in a crate longer than 9 hours. Puppies should start off with 2-3 hours and work their way up to a full workday. Puppies should be able to hold it all night at the age of 12-16 weeks old.
How to crate train
You should start crating your puppy as soon as you get them. An easy way to introduce the crate is to feed them in the crate. Put the food in the crate and then put the puppy in the crate they should be hungry and eat right away. If not they might cry but do not let them out, they should settle down and then start eating. You can try this first thing in the morning when they are hungry. After they have eaten and have settled down you can take them out to go potty and they have had the first crate experience.
Next step is to leave them in the crate for small periods of time. The first time your place your puppy in a crate you should be home. You want to make sure they are going to be ok and not go into a full panic. Place them in the crate and go in the other room. Ignore all crying it’s perfectly normal. After you have put them in supervised next is to leave them alone.
Going to run an errand that will take less than two hours if perfect! Place your puppy in the crate and say a “ go crate” command. Close the door and leave. Your puppy may cry for a little while in the crate and it is perfectly normal. DO NOT LET THEM OUT if they are crying. If you take them out while they are crying you just taught them that all they need to do to get out is to make noise. It can take them 10 min to 1 hr to relax and stop making noise. Leaving the house relives your anxiety while they are crying. This stage usually only last a couple of days.
Crating at night is essential to preventing them from soiling the house or being destructive while you sleep. Once you introduce the crate with food, you can begin leaving them in the crate at night. Give them a “go crate” command and put them up for the night. Puppies younger than 12-16 weeks may wake you up in the middle of the night to go outside. They cannot hold it all night. After 12-16 weeks stop getting up in the middle of the night and let them learn to sleep without getting up. Same thing applies at night if they cry don’t let them out. When they cry in the middle of the night get up to take them out, I would carry them so they do not have an accident on the way out. Take them out side and say go potty and wait for them to go, this is not a time to play or let them drink water. After they go potty praise them and bring them back to the crate. Put them in the crate and go back to bed, they are going to cry but just ignore it. A younger puppy might need to get up 2 times a night to go potty.
Appropriate bedding for a crate should be simple when you have a young dog. Remember they are young and will have accidents. The best thing to use is an old towel that can easily be washed. Once your puppy learns to not soil the crate then you can by a nice crate pad. Important note: If you notice that they are eating the towel. Take it out immediately. Some dogs like to eat the bedding and it can be a fatal mistake if it gets stuck in the gut. If they are just chewing a corner or two just monitor the towel. It’s normal behavior for them to be inquisitive and chew.
Proper toys can help them not to get board or have anxiety while you are gone. “Kongs” and “Nylabones” are the safest toy for you puppies. If you have aggressive chewers those should be the only toys allowed for them to play with unsupervised. “Kongs” are great because you can stuff many interesting things in them to keep your puppy busy. Peanut butter is real popular because it sticks inside and makes your puppy work to get it all out. “Kongs” can also be stuffed with canned food and put in the freezer over night. This makes a great treat that lasts a long time.
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