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  • Pam Allen

To crate train or not to crate train ?

This subject is brought up at almost every puppy pick up ! We are advocates of crate training. A crate gives your dog a place of their very own. Sometimes they want a break from "their people" and a crate/cage gives them this safe place. Around 10:00 PM every night, my Miniature Poodle will hop off my lap and go to bed in his crate ! If I say "Kennel up", my dogs run to their crates and wait for the treat they know is coming. (David says not to give them a treat every time they go in their crates as they will expect it. I say give them a treat. I am not sure why it matters if they expect it or not !?!)


If you choose not to crate train, you will need to have a means to confine the puppy to a very small area particularly after they eat. If they have free rein of the house, they will sneak off and potty and you will struggle to get them house trained.


There are many articles on the internet that will guide you in how to house train. Find one that works for you and follow it. Being consistent and removing water a couple hours before bedtime, will help tremendously.


Feeding the puppy in their crate is a great way to train them to defecate outside. Feed them in their crate, wait 20-30 minutes and them take them immediately outside.


The first few weeks a puppy is at home, you will need to get up and take the puppy out at least once during the night. Gradually, the puppy will be able to stay in the crate for longer periods as they grow and learn to control their bladder. It's much like potty training a toddler !


If you have to leave your puppy in the crate for long periods of time, once they are able to control their bladder, you can add a water bowl that attaches to the side of the cage or door of the crate.


Don't be surprised if the puppy whines or barks when you first start training them. If you respond to the whining when the puppy is safe inside their crate, they will soon learn that by whining, they can get out. It's like picking up a baby every time they cry when they have a dry diaper and have just been fed !


Airline crate, or wire cage, which is the best ? It's personal preference. The trainer that we work with prefers airline crates. He says it make them feel more secure with them being more enclosed. We use cages at our house. I like that they have better ventilation than crates and they can see out better.


If you choose a wire cage, I found a great cage pad at K9 Ballistics (k9ballistics.com). Our Standard Poodle was destroying a bed about every 2 weeks. When I found K9 Ballistics' beds, he never damaged it at all. You can throw them in the washer and dryer. They also make one with a thicker cushion and a removable cover. They are more expensive than ones at pet stores but in the long run, I think it has saved me money having beds they can't destroy!



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Last Updated: 08/04/2020