While some people view crate training as cruel and unnecessary, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. When done correctly, a puppy will come to appreciate the crate as their den area and feel safe and comfortable. When you first get your puppy home, you should introduce the crate immediately. There may be a transition period. A puppy is used to sleeping with litter mates and might whine the first night or two. Don’t give up. Your puppy will get past this phase quickly and it will be of great benefit that your dog has been crate trained. The crate serves as a great tool for housebreaking, safe confinement when unsupervised and when traveling. Your pup will grow to like the crate as long as you do not over use it or use as a punishment. If your puppy is raised in a crate, they accept it as part of life.
We recommend using a wire crate with a divider, so that you can adjust the size of the crate as your puppy grows. You want your puppy to be able to lie down and to turn around comfortably in his crate to start off. You don’t want your crate to be too large. A crate that is too large could lead to the puppy having accidents. Puppies are typically clean animals and don’t want to soil their eating, sleeping and playing areas. Do not put water in your puppy’s crate instead use ice cubes or ice chips. Take water away at least 30 minutes prior to putting them in the crate. Be sure to take them out immediately before you put them in the crate to give them one last bathroom break. Don’t leave your puppy in for more than a couple of hours at a time to start off. The exception is overnight. If you work and are gone more than 3 or 4 hours, you will want to invest in hiring a dog walker for the first few months since your puppy is going to need to go out several times during the day while you are away. Once your puppy is older and able to hold it longer, you can wean down the number of times a day your dog walker needs to come. Have your dog walker offer your puppy a small amount of water while there. You can also have the walker put ice cubes/chips in the crate so your puppy can gradually hydrate.
The crate is a great housebreaking tool. You don’t want any accidents to occur while your puppy is in his crate. If he does have an accident, don’t panic. Make sure you clean the crate with a product such as Nature’s Miracle which is an enzyme cleaner and odor eliminator or bleach. If your puppy has an accident in his crate, then he was probably in there too long. So next time, let your puppy out more frequently. You can also make the crate more appealing for your puppy if you put some type of safe chew toy such as a “kong” or “nylabone” in it to help him enjoy his time in it. Most puppies love their crate and view it as a safe place. Puppies are den animals and have a den instinct. The crate serves this need.