So, you have your new puppy, you’ve spent weeks/months agonising over the right pup that matches your home life and needs. Before you pick your little puppy up you want to make sure you give it a nice welcome home and ensure you have everything it needs.
ï Crate training has been proven to encourage successful integration into your home; therefore a crate should be one of the first purchases you make for your puppy when they come home. Crate training is highly successful if done right from the very start but can be very detrimental if done incorrectly. If in doubt always consult a qualified positive reinforcement trainer.
The crate that you have for your puppy should be treated as a safe place providing all your puppy’s needs and never as a punishment.
Some guidelines on successfully crate training
A crate should be big enough for your puppy to be able to stand upright and be able to turn a full circle for the first six months of its life.
Choose the location of your crate carefully; this should not be on an outside wall or in a busy walk way of your house, remembering that this will be the permanent place for your dog to sleep.
The crate can be made as comfy as you like, meaning that you can get a few blankets from a charity shop (saving money and helping good causes!) and put them in there with them to make it as nice and comfortable for them as possible (have a little area at the front of the crate for a pup pad. A really good idea is to have a blanket from the breeder that’s been with the litter for a couple of weeks, with the scent of the litter (don’t wash – it will be lovely for your pup!). Also having a larger blanket to cover the whole of the outside of the crate apart leaving the doorway uncovered whilst not asleep.
Place a water bowl (the non-spill type) in the far corner of the crate and a nylon bone (inspected regularly). This should all be set up prior to your puppy coming home (remove all of this overnight)
For the first couple of weeks, feed all of its meals inside its crate and have no other source of water available so that your puppy sees its crate as a complete provider of warmth, food, and security. During these times there is no need to shut the door on the crate all the time however during the day to encourage sleep closing the door is recommended. Your pup will then see the crate as an excellent resource (never allow children to go in the crate)
During the first months of your puppy’s life, they will tire in much the same way as a baby and will need regular sleeps during the day. By teaching your pup the word bed in a really positive way your pup will regularly go to sleep during the day in its crate. Allowing your family and the pup regular breaks from each other (especially good with young children – remember they could quickly resent the time that the new pup gets that was theirs!)
Following this method will help to ensure that chewing, chasing, biting and nipping (habits that very often develop from tiredness) will be kept to a minimum.
When training an older dog consult with a trainer regarding methods to be used with crate training.
You’re going to want to get a few toys for your puppy, to stop them chewing through things you don’t want them too, and to keep them amused so they don’t pick up any unwanted behaviours that you haven’t even taught them.
Its best to get a few solid chew toys for when your puppy is teething (often you can get multi packs of nylon bones that are labelled as ‘teething’ and then ‘active chewing’ or similar) and then one or two soft toys that they can play fetch with, with you so that they are having interaction with you and so that they value and respect you.
Also toys are a great way of discovering different textures.
Even at this age, your puppy should be discouraged from jumping up, as this will benefit a lot, as it is not so cute when it’s done by a full size, muddy dog.
Most of all enjoy your new bundle of fluff!