<img src="puppy-in-dog-crate.jpg" alt="Puppy in Dog Crate" />Should I crate train my puppy?

A lot of people have the feeling that a dog crate, also called a kennel, is cruel and nothing more than a cage or prison cell. If not used properly that is exactly what it can become. If used the right way it becomes a safe haven, a welcome refuge for your puppy. The outcome is totally up to you. That is why it is so important to introduce and use it correctly. Although the door has long been removed, my oldest dog, who is over 13 years old still uses his crate. It's his den and there has never been anything negative associated with his "den". That is the difference between a cage and a den. With that said…,

Dogs feel safe and secure in their "den." That's why you'll often find them curled up under a table or desk or behind the drapes.

Puppy training should begin from the time you arrive home with your new buddy and for several reasons, part of that early process should include crate training. Nothing heavy the first day. He or she needs a day or two to begin getting adjusted to their new surroundings. It's probably the first time they have been separated from their mother and siblings so be patient, You should also begin house breaking as well as crate training. Just begin by introducing him or her to the crate by putting a treat and a toy or two inside. Leave the door open and let it be just another new place to explore in their new home. Learn How to Crate Train Your Puppy>

If you haven't prepared ahead of time and purchased a dog crate and pad, I highly recommend you do so. Why is it so important to have a dog crate? Everyone who has brought a new puppy into their home can testify that puppies chew, and they will chew on anything and everything. It doesn’t take them very long to destroy a corner of your couch or your carpet or the corners of tables and kitchen cabinets, not to mention shoes, socks and slippers. They like extension cords and plugs which can get them into a bad situation pretty quickly. In fact, many of the things they get into could endanger their life. And in my experience, they don't fully get over the chewing until they are about 6 months to a year old. So for the safety of your puppy as well as your belongings, it's important to correctly introduce and use a crate.

Of course, when you are present you can immediately correct unwanted behavior, but what do you do when you have to run out or when you go to bed at night? Well a dog crate is a great place to keep your puppy safe and out of trouble and the great thing is your puppy will want to use it. That's if you follow my simple steps for crate training puppies.

You have to spend the time creating an environment that makes your puppy feel safe and comfortable inside the crate. NEVER EVER use it as a punishment and never force your pup into it. This is critical when you're introducing him/her to the dog crate. You want to make every experience with the crate a positive one. Dogs are den animals and the crate becomes their den, a safe place, if you introduce it properly.

Another benefit of the dog crate is that it can help you housebreak your new puppy or at least reinforce it. Dogs don’t like to relieve themselves where they sleep so as long as you follow some simple steps, it can help your puppy remain housebroken, Whether your new puppy takes to the crate right away or not, don't neglect the potty training. That, for obvious reasons, is the number 1 lesson that needs to be learned. Learn How to House Break Your Puppy>


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