Why crate train your puppy? Crate training is central to most successful house training protocols. Furthermore, because we live in a hurricane prone area, crate training is essential for disaster preparedness. If you must escape from a hurricane, you may need to crate your dog – even if you don’t want to. In addition, an illness may require your dog to be crated. It would be very hard on your dog to be both sick and crated for the first time. Do not wait until you and your dog are stressed to introduce a crate. Plan ahead, crate train your new dog or puppy right away.
My niece recently acquired a long-awaited great dane puppy. My sister took a week off to care for the baby puppy for the puppy’s first week away from her canine family. I provided guidance for normal new puppy things. On Thursday evening, my sister called. The puppy would urinate and defecate if left alone in the crate, and the puppy would be alone most of the day on Monday. Very worrisome! This behavior could have indicated a serious problem. Back to the drawing board.
This puppy needed a slower approach. We took the crate training steps and split them into smaller increments. At first, we crated the puppy and stayed in the room with her. Each time she was crated, we waited until she was quiet (no whining or barking) before letting her out. In the beginning, we asked her to be in the crate for just a second. We gradually extending the time the puppy was crated a few seconds at a time. When the puppy could be quiet for a minute in the crate, we begin to move around the room. Then we progressed to walking out the door, returning to the room before leaving the puppy’s sight. We began to disappear for a tenth of a second, then longer and longer.
Slowly, with very small steps, the new great Dane puppy was able to be alone, in her crate, quiet and calm. My niece went to work on Monday and the puppy was fine.
My six year old Malinois Taz has not been in a crate for more than a year, but I know if needed she could be quiet and calm, confident and happy in a crate. Thanks to careful early training, I am sure the new Great Dane puppy will also do well in her crate.
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