Crate Training Your Dog
by Peachie Orton
A sturdy dog crate 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 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.)
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 or soil anything--or hurt himself--and will be easier to housebreak. He really welcomes this sort of security when left alone.
HOW TO USE A CRATE PROPERLY
Start your puppy in it as soon as possible--the younger the better. Set it up, preferably in a corner wherever you plan to keep him. Use old newspapers on the bottom at first. After the dog is house-broken and past the chewing stage, use an old blanket, towel, or rug. Further security is gained by placing a blanket or other covering over the top and sides of the crate--making it a real "dog house." Put in play toys and chew toys and maybe even feed the pup in the crate for a few days so that he has only a very pleasant association with it. Don't force him into it or use it for punishment. Use the word "Kennel" when you put him in. 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'll be too sleepy to care and will be getting the proper association. Soon he will seek it automatically when 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--and always when you are out of the house. He may howl in resentment at first, not because of the crate, but because you are leaving him behind and he knows it. Don't weaken, and don't worry, he will settle down as soon as you are gone. Learning this sort of discipline is a very vital part of his young life.
Whether or not you wish to confine your puppy to his crate all night is up to you. Many knowledgeable dog people do it with success and have solved the housebreaking problem very quickly--mostly by feeding no liquids and very little food in the later evening. If you choose to leave the crate door open at night, surround the area with a heavy layer of newspapers. One of the greatest advantages of the dog crate is that the dog won't soil it because it is his bed--hence its great value in housebreaking.