by Adele Pfenninger

CRATE TRAINING.....Your Puppy's Home

Most dog owners, expert authorities, and veterinarians recommend dog crates (cages) as the best way to raise a puppy. The dog crate is a sanctuary for your pup. It is his well protected home. The pet crate is comfortable to your pup, because like his wild ancestors, he instinctively seeks the safety and security of a "den." The dog finds his crate a secure haven.

The most important benefit that accrues to the owner who utilizes crate training is the control of the pup when it is home alone. When puppies are left alone, and allowed to roam too large an area, they become anxious, lonely, and bored. By using a crate, the owner creates positive behavioral patterns which enable the relationship between the pet and his owner to develop and grow.

Consider these additional benefits:

  • The virtual elimination of housetraining problems and attendant accidents in the house. The pup does not form the habit of eliminating in the house.
  • The saving in dollars in cost to repair or replace damaged household items. A pup who has been successfully crate-trained will prefer its own "den." As the puppy matures, it will voluntarily seek out the crate and enter it at the appropriate times. The owner can enjoy peace of mind knowing the pup is quite comfortable and not destroying the house. The young puppy should not be left in the crate for over 3 hours. The amount of time depends on the individual dog. In any event, if the dog has been crate-trained, the owners will never find it necessary to dispose of the animal because of destructive behavior occurring during their absence.
  • An assurance that the pup will develop good habits.
  • Eliminating the likelihood of having to give up a puppy because of not being able to cope with its behavioral problems. A wire crate is recommended because of proper ventilation and visibility. If a puppy cannot see where strange noises are coming from, it may become frightened.


Make sure that your attitude toward using a dog crate is positive. Remember that you are doing your puppy a real favor. Crate training will reduce fear and insecurity and stress related problems for your puppy.

Use a collapsible wire crate with an epoxy coated floor large enough to hold your pup when it is an adult. An adult should be able to stretch out comfortably in its crate. Keep the crate in a semi-private spot in a people area such as your kitchen or family room. The spot should not be in a draft or near direct heat. Well before bedtime, place the puppy in the crate and offer him a treat. close the door to the crate.

Immediately establish a routine, using the crate for nap times, and whenever the puppy must be left alone for a time. Take it directly from the crate to the chosen spot outside for the pup to eliminate, and when the pup does, praise it to the hilt. Then take the pup back inside immediately. The puppy will be able to make the association and will housebreak easily and quickly if you do it this way. You will have a better relationship with your dog if you keep the pups life structured. The pup will know what is expected of him at all times.

Treat any resistance to crate confinement with a no-no-nonsense manner. you are not being cruel. At the first sign of any separation responses such as barking or howling, intervene with a firm sharply raised voice. Usually, the pup settles quietly in the crate after three to a half dozen attempts at getting you to respond emotionally and let him out. Don't do it!! Keep the pup in the crate until he is quiet for about ten minutes. Don't praise the pup when you let him out. After an interval of 30-45 minutes, repeat the procedure. Extend the pup's quiet time in his crate to about a half hour. Gradually extend your absence periods, and in a short time, you can be gone for several hours.

Provide soft, washable bedding and a safe chew toy or two in the crate. Don't put food in the crate. Also, remove the pup's collar to prevent any possible entanglement. REMEMBER, A SECURE DOG IS A HAPPIER DOG......WITH A HAPPIER OWNER!!

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       Pictured above is "Frankly Irresistabull- Franklin" owned by Joy Wright, NY.


Reproduced with kind permission from Adele Pfenninger


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