The holidays are over and that adorable new puppy you’ve acquired is now bouncing around your house. Puppies are full of energy. It’s one of the reasons we love them. Channeling that energy into habits that cause the two of you to bond is the first step in building a healthy relationship with your new companion. Crate training is a valuable technique for ensuring that both you and your pup enjoy each other’s company.
Why crate train? One benefit of the crate is it reinforces your dog’s natural instincts. The crate stands in for a den. In the wild, animals who live in dens see them as safe spaces in which to sleep and raise their families. Though domesticated, your pup shares these instincts. Ensuring that their crate is always associated with something pleasant will encourage their natural instinct to curl up in their “den”. An added advantage is that dogs don’t like to soil their den. This makes crate training useful in housebreaking your pup.
There are some things to remember, however, when choosing to crate train:
- The crate should never be used as a punishment. Your pup should always associate the crate with something pleasant.
- When housebreaking, keep in mind that puppies can’t hold it indefinitely. Make sure you’re taking them out for potty breaks every couple of hours so your training is a success rather than a frustration.
- Just as you would go crazy if you spent all your time in one small part of your home, your dog can’t be expected to enjoy being in their crate for long periods of time. Make sure they are getting out, getting exercised and being loved on. A crate is no substitute for one on one time with you.
Crate training has many positive benefits. But remember to be patient with your dog, and with yourself. Training may take weeks, depending on temperament and other factors. Take it slow but be consistent and you and your pup will be off to a good start.