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Crate Training Your Puppy 

Just like a new parent needs a crib / playpen for their new baby, a new dog owner should provide a crate for their new pup. Crates are a place your puppy can call his (or her) own - a place they can go and retreat when they want or need space and a haven for you to place them in for their own safety. Crates are an indispensable aid in housetraining and dealing with misbehavior. A crate can help calm anxious or hyperactive pups and help prevent a puppy from chewing and destroying your house and possibly hurting himself while you are away. In addition, a crate is a convenient method of carrying your pet when you travel

Choosing a Crate 

Both solid plastic airline and wire mesh crates are available. If you travel extensively, the foldable wire mesh crates are preferable. When purchasing a crate, make sure there is enough room for your pup to stand up and move around. 

Introducing the Crate 

If you introduce the crate when the pup is young, he should readily adjust to it. Puppies love people so put the crate in an area where you and your family spend time. The kitchen, den or family room are general the best places. Crates need to be perceived as a fun place where your pup wants to be. If the crate is placed in an isolated area, your pup may cry and revolt. 

A rule of thumb for how many hours your pup can be confined is the number of months they are old plus one; i.e. a three month old pup should not be crated more than four hours. Each puppy has it's own individual preferences and differences. Most pups can hold their needs by four months of age if they're on a feeding and watering schedule. 

Initially try and introduce the crate early in the day on a weekend and keep the door Open. This allows him to investigate the area. Throw some treats in the crate, play fetch the ball in the crate, store his toys in there and let him go in and out at his own leisure. Feed him in the crate, leaving the door open. If he initially hesitates - put the bowl near the crate door so he can reach in and get to it. 

Closing the Door 

It is important to schedule crating after your pup has had a good amount of exercise and has eliminated. Put your pup in there when he is tired and give him a treat and a toy, then praise him and shut the door. Provide him with a toy / bone that he can chew. (If necessary, this bone or toy can amuse him for several hours.) As soon as this is done, leave the room for a few minutes. He may complain but give him a few minutes. NEVER reward his cries by letting him out (he will learn to continue crying if you do so). Once his crying has stopped - let him out. 

Do not put papers in the cage. This may encourage him to go to the bathroom there. If your pup messes on blankets or crate pads in the crate, do not put any inside the crate. 

The Noisy Pup 

Some pups will cry continuously for 15 minutes or more. If crying continues, a light correction may be needed. You can try to sneak up on the pup (without him seeing you) and tap the wall. This sudden noise may quiet him. You may need to repeat this several times. Another recommendation is to try a squirt from a water gun or shake a soda can full of coins. Do not speak; you do not want the pup to associate the punishment with you. If all else fails - anti-barking devices such as the citronella spray collar may be needed. This is quite effective and a humane method to control barking. 

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