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It's Crate!: Crate Training your Puppy

As a dog owner of three mischievous pups, let me tell you about one of the best tools I’ve ever used… The crate! I know, I know, we were all hoping for some magic spell that can help our puppies settle, however, the crate is the next best thing! Not only does it help prevent all sorts of mischief, but it’s also great for teaching appropriate potty behaviors, reducing unwanted behavior, helpful for emergencies or vet visits, and more.


Now, I'll be honest, not every puppy enjoys their crate right away. Some may give you a bit of pushback at first and that's perfectly normal, but with a little patience and a lot of positive experiences, you'll soon see them warming up to their new area.


Let me share a few tips that have worked wonders for me when introducing and implementing crate training for my dogs:


·      Introduce the crate gradually. Let your puppy explore it at their own pace, and don't forget to sprinkle in some treats, toys, and comfy bedding to make it extra cozy for them. Be mindful of your puppies' chewing habits though, if they are being destructive with their bed or toys, remove them to avoid them ingesting anything harmful.


·      Offer treats, praise, and affection when they willingly enter or remain inside of the crate, showing them that the crate is positive and fun! Reinforce whenever the puppy is calm and relaxed around the crate to avoid them creating a negative association with it.


·      Incorporate crate time into your puppy’s daily routine, starting with short periods and gradually increasing as they become more comfortable. Keep feeding and potty breaks on a consistent schedule and ensure that your puppy has water!


·      Here is the most important rule: never, ever use the crate as a form of punishment or try and force your puppy into the crate. This can create negative associations and worsen any crate-related behaviors. Instead focus on making the crate a positive and inviting space!


·      Keep your puppy both mentally and physically stimulated outside of crate time. Engage in plenty of interactive play, obedience training, mental enrichments, and daily walks to keep their minds sharp and their bodies active.


Bonus Tip:


·      Feed your puppies' meal in the crate! Start with feeding outside of the crate and then making your way inside. Most puppies love food, so by pairing eating in the crate they begin to see the crate as something good.

While the crate training can be a bit of a headache at first, it is an invaluable tool for my Border Collie puppy. It’s a safe place for him to eat, decompress, or hang out after a long day and I know that in the event of an emergency or vet visits, he won’t be experiencing any crate-related anxiety, thanks to all of the work he had put in!

Pictured: Soap at 11 weeks old working on crate training.



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