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They are great for when you have to leave your puppy or dog home alone. We all know how awful it is to come home to your things destroyed by your dog. It is also good for a dog or puppy to be use to a crate because when they have to be taken to the veterinarian it will not scare them. If you ever plan to travel with your dog then he will need to be crate trained.
The first step in crate training your puppy is to find the right crate. You do not want to get a crate that is too big or too small. Try to buy a crate that your puppy can grow into. If you know what type of breed your puppy is you can usually get an idea of how big he will grow to be. Buy a crate that will fit him once he is grown. While he is a puppy you can simply partition the crate off into a smaller section for him.
The second step is to introduce your puppy to his crate. You do not want to throw him in there lock him up and leave for hours. This could scare him so badly that he will only see the crate as a bad thing. Let your puppy explore the crate on his terms for a while. Put some toys or treats in the crate so he will walk in on is own. Be sure that you have a comfortable bed in the crate for him to curl up on.
The next step is to feed every meal to your puppy in his crate. Leave the door open while you do this. Once he is comfortable with that you can move on to closing the door with your puppy in the crate. Feed your puppy a treat while he is in the crate with the door closed. The next step is putting your puppy in the crate for ten minutes and shutting the door. After ten minutes open the door and walk away.
He will soon realize that just because the door is shut does not mean he is stuck in there all day. The next step in crate training your puppy is to start leaving him in the crate for longer periods of time with the door shut. Leaving your puppy in the crate for different lengths of time will keep him from worrying about how long he has to be in the crate. You can even put him in the crate, shut the door, and immediately let him back out. When he gets put in the crate he will think that you might just be going to let him back out again so he will be more willing to go into his crate.
Be sure to take your time when working up to a longer length of time. If you move to quickly you can scare your puppy and the crate will only be seen as a bad thing by your puppy. The longest amount of time your puppy will spend in his crate will be at night. When you get ready for bed, move the crate next to your bed so that he can see you. He will whine and cry but do not let him out.
If you take him out of his crate when he whines or cries then you will never get him trained. You also want to praise your puppy and give him plenty of treats when he stays in his crate without barking or whining. This will take some time and effort on your part but eventually your puppy will go in his crate on his own.
You may want to associate a word with the crate so eventually you can tell him to go to his crate. You could use something like “in your crate” or “time for bed”, it does not matter what you use as long as you make sure to say it every time you put your puppy in the crate. Never punish your puppy for behaving badly in his crate. Simply ignore the behavior and he will stop it eventually. When he behaves well reward him instantly and he will soon realize that bad behavior does not work with you.