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Let's Talk About Crate Training!
Dogs in the wild live in a den which provides protection as well as psychological satisfaction. They have a strong natural tendency to seek out this type of shelter when they are tired or just want to be alone. Training your puppy to use a crate is not cruel and unusual punishment if done correctly. Your puppy will have fewer behavioral problems like excessive barking and chewing, but most of all, by providing him a safe and secure home, he'll be happier and more self-confident.
In your home, if your dog has no place to call his own, he will make feeble attempts to curl up under a table, a chair or some other choice location. A crate will give your puppy a place to feel secure. If you purchase a large crate that will fit your puppy when it is full grown, then partition off part of it so that the puppy doesn't have too much room. If the crate is too large, he will use it to go potty.
A key ingredient to crate training is to make it fun for the puppy. A CRATE SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS PUNISHMENT.
In the beginning a puppy should never be confined to a crate for longer than 2 or 3 hours when you are not home. Encourage your puppy to go into his home on his own - DON'T FORCE HIM. If necessary toss a little treat into the crate and when the puppy goes in to get it, praise him. Let the puppy go in and out of the crate as he wants.
After the puppy is happy and unafraid of his new home, you can close the door for a few minutes. If the puppy is nice and quiet praise him with "Good puppy". However if the puppy is making a ruckus - IGNORE it for a few minutes. When he settles down, say "good puppy" and then open the door. Gradually increase the time the puppy is in the crate with the door closed and be sure to praise him!
A few hours (or days of short training sessions) should be all that is required to help the puppy feel comfortable in his new home.
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