So your getting a new puppy! It’s an exciting time, but can be a bit overwhelming with everyone giving you their advice and everyone seems to be a expert these days!
It doesn’t make them an expert just because they’ve raised one puppy!
‘We didn’t have them in our day and our dog turned out ok!’
‘Our puppy hated it and we gave up after two nights of crying’
As it seems everyone has an opinion on whether you should crate your new pup. I thought I would give you my tops tips of how to make your puppy love their crate and how it can be a great tool to help house train and not destroy your home!
- Don’t put your pup straight in the crate when you get them home! Have the crate ready for them and let them investigate it in their own time.
- Expectations – don’t expect your pup to be able to sleep all night straight away. At 8 weeks old they do not yet have full control of their bladder. So please let them out for a final toilet and then pop them to bed as late as possible, get up approx 4 hours later – pick them up out of their crate, put them out in the garden and wait for them to toilet, praise with a treat then put straight back in the crate. You can start to extend the 4 hours gradually as you think they are getting more control of their bladder as they grow – until eventually they can go the whole night!
- Every time your pup falls asleep – pop them into their crate so that they wake up every time in there – I know its lovely to have puppy cuddles when they fall asleep on you, but think in the long run – do you want to have to be there for your puppy to settle and fall asleep?
- Feed all of their meals in there, give them treats in the crate. This makes the crate an amazing place where they get yummy treats and nice things happen!
- Never use your crate for time out – it does not teach your dog anything and it will make them hate their crate.
- Play crate games – a great reference tool is Susan Garrett’s crate games! These will help your dog to love their crate!
- On your puppy’s first night in your home, either have the crate in your room or sleep on the sofa with the crate close by. If they cry, just pop your hand next to the crate to let them know you are there with some gentle words to help settle them – they will be frightened and just need some reassurance and you can not reinforce fear! Each night you can gradually move them to their final place (ie the kitchen or laundry room)
- When you can’t watch your pup, pop them in their crate with something to do like a stuffed kong! This is a great management tool to prevent the chewing or causing destruction when you can’t have you beady eye on them!
- Play more crate games! I think this is key to make them love their crate!
- Cover their crate as it makes it into a den for them to feel safe in.
- If they go into their crate on their own accord, don’t bother them and leave them to settle. Make it a rule for the kids to leave the puppy alone if they go into their crate.
- House training will be easier, dogs do not like to mess in their space – their crate soon becomes a space they don’t want to toilet in, so again when you are toilet training and cant keep an eye on them for 30 minutes, pop them in the crate but remember to take them straight in the garden when you take them out of their crate to give them a chance to toilet.
- Always provide your dog fresh drinking water on their crate, even if they seem to knock it over every night – there are bowls available that attach to the side of the crate to prevent this. Dogs must always have access to fresh water, please do not take it away in hope they wont need to toilet in the night.
When your puppy goes to the groomers, need to stay at the vets or has a dog walker it will be so much easier for them to deal with the new situation as they love their crate, so being in a new place in a crate will be a lot easier for them!
Please remember your puppy is in a new environment where his puppy family haven’t come with him, scary strangers that he doesn’t know and that speak in another language!
Put yourself in their paws and think about how they may be feeling…..lower expectations and enjoy your new bundle of fluff!!