How do I crate-train my dog?

The safest and most effective way to “potty train” is using a crate. The concept is simple. Puppies do not like to pee and poop where they sleep. The crate should only be as big as the puppy is currently. There should be very little extra room. Ideally, you buy a crate suitable for the adult size dog and block it off to their size now, adjusting it every few weeks. Many people feel crate training is cruel. On the contrary, the dogs love their crate. They are safe, dry, warm and very comfortable. Puppies feel very secure in their own “condo.” Until completely trained, puppies should be in their crates when no one is available to supervise. This means at night or when you’re in the shower, etc. A puppy about 8 weeks old should only have to get up once during the night. DO NOT make this play time. It is time for “business” only and then right back to bed. The crate is also very useful in training your adolescent dog. Until your dog can be fully trusted, they should be in the crate when you are not at home. This prevents damage to your house as well as unnecessary foreign material consumption. If you get your dog used to a crate you can also reduce the incidence of separation anxiety. A “must have” for any dog owner is a toy called a KONG. This is an irregularly shaped hollow ball made of very thick rubber. Not only is it fun to watch it bounce and ricochet all over, it can be filled with treats. Before leaving the house, fill the KONG with peanut butter and treats then place it in the crate with your dog. Guaranteed your dog will be less anxious about your leaving while he/she is distracted by eating scrumptious goodies.

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