The Dog Crate and your New Puppy!
A sturdy wire mesh dog create can be the best friend you and your
dog will ever have. To you, a human, a crate may seem to be a
"cage," so you may object to the idea. You are not a dog ! The
dog regards his crate as a handy indoor dog house - a security
blanket to which he can retreat to rest, to escape confusion or
to adjust to strange surroundings. If you should travel with him
or leave him in someone else's care, to him it spells "home"
wherever it is set up.
For the puppy, the crate is an invaluable training aid. Confined
to his crate while his owner is out of the house, he can't
destroy, soil anything, or hurt himself. He really welcomes this
sort of security when left alone.
Using the Dog Crate Properly
Start your puppy in it as soon as possible, the younger the
better. Set it up in a corner, possibly in the kitchen or
wherever you plan to keep him. A metal gate across the door of
the room is a helpful adjunct to crate training. Put a blanket,
old rug, or soft towel in the crate, rather than expensive
cushions - at least until he is past the chewing stage. Further
security is achieved by placing a blanket or towel over the top
and sides of the crate, making it a real "den," especially at
night. Put play toys, and feed the puppy in the crate so that he
has only a very pleasant association with it. Never punish him
with the crate, or "force" him into it - if he flops down to
sleep elsewhere, just gently pick him up, place him inside and
shut the door until he is well awake again. He will be too sleepy
to care and will be getting the proper association. Soon he will
seek the crate automatically when he is tired.
Use these frequent periods to advantage, and don't hesitate to
confine him to the crate several times a day for short periods of
time, especially when you are too busy to watch him. The is
important until he is housebroken and also for his safety.
Puppies like and need to chew, but chewing the cord of a lighted
lamp can result in immediate and painful death.
Always confine him in the crate when you are out of the house !
He may houl in resentment at first, not because of the crate, but
because you are leaving him behind and he knows it. Leave him a
bowl of fresh water and give him a rawhide bone or something
absolutely safe to chew and good for his teeth, something he will
enjoy. Don't worry, and don't weaken, he will settle down as soon
as you are gone.
Learning the type of discipline is a vital part of his young
life. The puppy's brain is fully developed by the time it reaches
seven weeks of age, and he is going to learn with or without your
help. It may as well learn what you want, rather than learning on
his own and picking up bad habits in the process.
Always remember to remove any collar when crating him - a collar
can become caught in the mesh and badly frighten or injure your
dog. Confine your puppy to his crate all night and solve the
housebreaking problem very quickly. Remember - feed no liquids
and very little food late in the evening. One of the greatest
advantages of the dog crate is that the dog won't soil it unless
he is desperate because it is his home - hence, its great value
The dog crate, intelligently and properly used, can indeed spell
real happiness for both the dog and owner. A good collapsible
wire crate lasts forever and is so very worthwhile, the cost is
soon forgotten...a real bargain considering its many advantages.
Remember that a young puppy does not have complete control over
its elimination - the smaller the breed, the more often they must
go. Frequent trips to the yard (or paper if you want a
paper-trained dog forever) are very necessary in the first two
weeks. Do not play or talk to the puppy on these outings, he is
learning that this is the elimination time, not play time.
Always take him to the same area (using an exercise pen, perhaps,
to keep him wherever he's supposed to be) for this purpose. When
he goes, lavish praise and/or treats reinforce his behavior - and
then he can come in and play. If he doesn't go, it's a good idea
to put him back in his crate for a short time and then try again
Punishment for mistakes in the house in these early weeks doesn't
teach, and may cause behavior problems - the trick is to prevent
the mistakes from happening in the first place ! Remember that
your love and approval are the most important things you can give
your puppy - he will do anything to gain them; this is the best
incentive used in any training.
Buying a Crate
Size: Only big enough for the adult dog to stand, turn around and
lie down in easily. Small enough to fit into your car or station
wagon. Measure dog and car before you buy the crate.
Type: Any brand that fits your dog, car and budget. Wire crates
allow the dog to see out, and provide better ventilation than the
plastic airline crates, but cannot be used for shipping. The
plastic crates cannot be folded flat.
Consider the door; tall enough so the dog can enter easily, and a
firm safety latch. Welded mesh is best, with small enough
openings so that children can't get hands and fingers through the
Article from Sheltie International
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