Labs To Love
Labs To Love
Crate Training your Puppy -- Tips to be Successful !   by Sandra Underhill, Labs To Love

Today's puppy experts highly recommend crate training. It avoids the accidents and surprises that a free roaming puppy can hide in the house for its new owners.

It sounds simple enough....but sometimes the new puppy owner can encounter resistance from their new puppy when placed within their new crate.

Star Trek fans know the mantra, "Resistance is FUTILE."  But your puppy most likely hasn't watched even a single episode of Star Trek and is blissfully ignorant about the Borg!

Okay, seriously!  Crates can make a wonderful temporary holding area for your puppy, but always remember that your puppy's favorite place is by your side!

If you plan ahead, your puppy will love his crate!

You to be easily successful when crate training if you have on hand yummy treats, like a pig's ear, smoked bone or something else aromatic that can be placed within the crate before you instruct your puppy inside with the command, "in!"

You might find that the puppy rushes "in" before you can even utter the command once puppy gets a whiff of that yummy you've placed inside. 

Puppies placed within a crate must be pottied first, otherwise they will cry to be let out to relieve themselves.

How can you tell if a puppy is crying to go potty?  You don't at first!

Often it's a fine line between a puppy crying to regain his place by your side and the puppy that's crying because of a real need.  Ask yourself if you have in fact met your puppy's needs?  Did you potty him?  Did you hang a water bottle on the outside of the crate?  Does he view his crate as a enjoyable alternative to being by your side?

You are also being trained during this period. 

You must consider your pup's needs foremost during this time.  Your puppy will trust you if you have proven yourself trustworthy to them!

You must put your pup's toilet needs first and foremost in order to achieve success in a relatively short period of time.  You must communicate all your "house rules" to the puppy through consistency on your part.

If you let your puppy out of the crate and the puppy has the opportunity to relieve themselves a few feet from their crate, they will potty erroneously before they will respond to your pleas to "come" outside. 

You can solve this dilemma easily enough by having a leash atop the crate that can be attached instantly to the puppy's collar that permits you to briskly walk puppy out of the home and to the approved potty spot. Remember consistency on your part is necessary.  Open the door, clip on the leash, take the puppy to his approved potty area. 

Keep play time and potty time separate events to avoid confusing the puppy.  

If you reliably attend to the puppy's need to relieve itself -- you will be successful.  (Notice that I put all the responsibility on "you" because if you do your part, puppy will happily keep his crate clean and potty where he's supposed to.)

What if your puppy sets up a cry for your company unlike any thing you've ever heard before?  Yikes.  I've seen it advocated to simply ignore such a puppy, but if  it's 2am, and you're at this page searching for a solution, let me suggest you give in to why you brought home that puppy in the first place.  First and foremost he wants to be with you, so hug the puppy close to your chest, shhhhh the puppy, and if you have a safe place not too high off the floor to lay down on, you will be pleased at how fast both you and the puppy can get back to sleep if you retire together.

Most of us don't sleep on futons inches off of the floor, so this option is rather dangerous for a puppy that might get up later during the night and fall to the ground so please deploy this suggestion only if safe to do so.

Your cupboard should be stocked with a variety of goodies from that Kong toy that can be stuffed with a bit of cream cheese or tasty peanut butter inside it to any other safe treat(s) that catches your eye that you know your puppy will love. Save treats for making the stay inside a crate pleasureable and for occupying puppy when you leave him in a secured area are a must to have on hand.

A great alternative to crate training is to secure a safe area inside the home or within a protected yard for the puppy that is left alone for a period of time. 

Remember it's okay to find the solution that works best for you in your home and if you choose to use crate training, make going "in" fun for your new puppy and enjoy your new family member! 

updated:  April 2003, by Sandra Underhill, LabsToLove