We use crates to help teach dogs two critical skills, without which dogs don’t have much chance to survive in our human world. The first is eliminating only when and where appropriate. The second skill is keeping out of trouble. Confining puppies, either in a crate or on a tether, prevents them from practicing inappropriate behaviors. It removes opportunities for the pup to discover how self-rewarding bad habits (e.g., raiding garbage or counter-surfing for food, chasing the cat, chewing your favorite shoes) can be.
1. Use a crate for house-training and to help the puppy 'do the right thing.' 1. Think of the crate as a prison and avoid using it. Instead, view the crate as your puppy's safe place, his doggie den.
2. Move the crate around your house to keep it in the same room you are in. Consider purchasing two crates. Or you can keep your puppy confined yet close to you by tethering him next to a comfortable dog bed. 2. Use the crate to isolate your puppy from you and the rest of his family. The crate is for confinement NOT isolation. Instead, talk to your puppy frequently while he's in the crate and ignore him for the first few minutes after you let him out.
3. Use the crate for your puppy to sleep in at night and for short-term confinement when no one is home. 3. Use the crate for long-term confinement. Instead, if you are gone all day, confine your puppy in a small puppy-proofed area, such as a bathroom with toilet paper, towels, shower curtains and carpet removed. Ask a friend to take him out during the day or consider using a short roll of turf for his potty area.
4. Teach your puppy 'crate manners': sitting or lying down while you open the crate, then waiting for a clear release cue. 4. Take a crying, whining puppy out of the crate. This will teach him that having a 'hissy-fit' gets him what he wants.
5. Teach your puppy to love his crate by feeding him and giving him special treats (e.g., a stuffed Kong) in his crate. Ensure that children leave him alone there. 5. Throw your puppy in his crate as punishment.
6. Have your puppy/dog ride in a crate in the car. 6. Avoid use of a crate or doggy safety belt in the car. Dogs may escape or be thrown from vehicles in an auto accident. Also, unexpected events may cause even calm dogs to panic and become a safety risk.
7. Once your dog learns to love his crate, it will be useful in many everyday situations. Dogs that are over-stimulated in training classes can rest in their crate between exercises. Crate-trained dogs are welcomed and comfortable on airplanes, in many hotels, and at friends' homes. 7. Avoid crate-training your dog, setting him up for prolonged housetraining, frequent puppy mistakes and the reprimands that follow, and a secluded life (because he won't be welcomed in many different environments).