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The Puppy Well-Being Training System
The crate is a great training tool. When used correctly, it operates as a management and prevention tool for several behavior problems including house soiling and destructive chewing. When used correctly, the crate becomes your dog’s home and a place he can retire to in a time of fatigue or worry. One can think of the crate as the modern wolf den and while it is true we sometimes lock the dog inside, we only do it after careful and gradual adaptation to it. Domesticated dogs, like their wolf ancestors, need a safe haven. The crate can be this safe haven for them.
Many people see the crate as an inhumane tool and they do not want to confine their puppy to such a small area. Nevertheless, those same people limit their own baby’s area to a small cradle so they can prevent the baby from getting into trouble. If we can put a baby in a cradle, we can put a dog in a crate. As long as crate training is done in a proper way and for limited periods of time, it a very effective and humane training aid. The process in which we use to adapt the dog to the crate is gradual and happens over several days. In any case, your puppy should not be left in a crate for periods of time that extend his ability to hold his bladder and no more than 4-5 hours total at one stay.
It is important to note that a c rate is not a magic solution to all dog behavior problems. While it is very effective in teaching housetraining and preventing destructiveness, it is contraindicated for behavior problems such as separation anxiety and other phobias. In fact, using a crate with those behavior problems can actually aggravate them.
Step by Step:
i. Put a comfortable blanket and a few toys inside the crate.
ii. Take some treats and show them to your dog. Feed the treats close to the crate and then throw some in. let your puppy walk inside the crate and eat the treats.
iii. Feed your puppy’s meals inside the crate.
iv. While your puppy is in the crate, throw treats in it in random intervals.
v. Stuff a KONG™ toy with goodies and attracts your puppy’s attention to it. Place it in the crate and let your puppy enjoy it.
i. When the puppy’s attention is on you and you are near the crate say “crate up” and throw a treat in the crate. The puppy will go inside and eat the treat.
ii. Now, say “come out” and let your puppy come to you. When he does, praise him but do not give a treat.
iii. Repeat steps i-ii several times.
iv. Now, say “crate up” and do not throw the treat inside. Wait patiently for your puppy to enter and when he does, treat generously.
1. If your puppy does not go inside, do not be tempted to throw the treat inside. Wait patiently and eventually he will. If he still doesn’t, end the training session and try again later from the beginning.
v. Now, say “come out” and let your puppy come to you. When he does, praise him but do not give a treat.
vi. Repeat steps iv-v several times. Make sure you don’t over do it. End the training session after a couple of successes.
i. Ask a neighbor to note any whining or barking while you are away.
ii. Set a video camera and record your puppy’s behavior in your absence.
iii. You will be able to tell if your puppy is doing well in the training process or whether you need to decrease the durations of stay alone.