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Will my puppy like his crate?

After he gets used to being away from his littermates, he will look forward to time in his crate. Dogs feel secure in small, enclosed spaces. Their crate can serve as a refuge – your dog’s own “hangout” so to speak. It should be a safe and special retreat – just for him. Be sure to have toys and chew sticks in his crate, and you can even give him a nice, soft, small towel or blanket.

Why does a crate make sense for training a puppy?

• Next to the collar and leash, the crate is the best training tool for new puppy owners. After your puppy gets used to being in his crate, you’ll be able to relax. He’ll probably be upset and howl at first, but once he gets used to being in it, you won’t have to wonder where he is - is he going off to potty somewhere? is he chewing on something? is he getting into trouble where he could get hurt?

• A crate is also useful for traveling in your car for trips and going to the vet. If you have to leave him, he’ll have the security of his “home away from home.”

• It’s also very useful for potty training. As long as the crate doesn’t give him too much room, he won’t want to soil it, so he will let you know when he needs to go potty. You will be able to take him out of the crate, let him ring the bell, and go potty in his area outside.

• Using a crate when you will be gone for short periods throughout the day will ensure that your puppy is safe and not doing anything destructive in your house. He will also want to “hold it” until you get home. But be sensitive to his little bladder, and don’t leave him alone for more than a couple of hours when he is very young.

Should I use a wire crate or a plastic crate?
Wire crates are nice because your puppy can see his surroundings (and you) more easily. These crates usually have dividers so you can make the puppy’s area small at first, and then give him more room as he grows. Plastic crates are easier to transport and usually smaller. Either option is fine – whatever works best for your family.

Where should I put the crate and when should I use it?
If possible, it's nice to have the crate in a place where your puppy can see you during the day. At night, you might want his crate to be next to your bed, but most pups do better in a quiet area on their own - either can be a good option though. In either case, if you know that he does not have to go to the bathroom, but he starts howling as soon as you put him in his crate, do not take him out until he has stopped! If you respond, it will teach him that he gets his own way when he cries. Note: If he wakes up and cries though, take him out right away.
It may take a week or more for him to fully adjust to his crate, but you must be the one doing the training, not the other way around. Use the crate for naps, bedtime, when you must leave the house, and also for a place to contain him when he has not gone potty outside. It is important to crate your puppy when you are home, so he does not think that being in his crate means that you are leaving him home alone.
Puppies want to see their “people.” After your puppy becomes more trustworthy, leave the door to the crate open so he can go in and out whenever he chooses. That will help him realize that his crate is a place where he can relax and enjoy, not just a place where he gets put when you leave the house. As your dog matures and the training progresses, give him longer and longer periods of freedom until he only needs confinement when you need to leave your home.

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