Many people have told me that they think that using a crate for their puppy is cruel. For the first number of months of your puppies life it is necesary and not cruel at all. The crate is used to house train your dog as well as to provide a safe environment from your dog chewing and swallowing items when you cannot be home. It also provides a safe haven for a puppy who is young and insecure when you have to leave. Put a blanket over the cage you will make them feel more secure. When your puppy cries when you put him in the crate it is not because you put him in the crate but rather because you left. When you put them in the crate you can reward them with a treat like… a kong stuffed with peanut butter. You can freeze them so it will take longer to lick out. Or a kong with treats in it. Be careful what you leave in the cage with them because many toys with stuffing or eyes can become caught in the puppies throat. Also, rawhide is never a good choice as dogs can swallow large pieces which also get caught in the throat. When you put your puppy in their crate don’t make a big fuss and instead just create a routine around their being crated so they can anticipate what will happen next. What will happen if I just leave my dog in a designated area in the house instead of the cage – you may ask? The answer is that you may never become house trained which means your dog may spoil the house for the rest of it’s life. If a dog has more space then just his sleeping area he/she will go potty in one area and go back to the sleeping area. If in a cage however which fits mostly just him and his bed then he will not want to spoil his area and will wait untill you let him out. Of course, you must be fair and be there to let your puppy out as often as need be depending on his age. I have spoken to many people who are very frustrated with their older dog who is still soiling the house. No one wants to be in this position as it is very difficult to turn this behaviour around. By crate training your dog at an early age you will train them to go outside for life. Read my previous article called “house training your puppy” for details. In addition, crate training while your puppy is in that chewing phase saves your shoes and potential danger of them swallowing something dangerous. How do you know when your dog doesn’t need the crate anymore? You may try to leave him out for a short time and see what he does. Does he chew things or go potty in the house? If so, then use the crate for another month and try again after that time. Remember to make sure your puppy gets lots of exercise and potty time and then being in the crate is mostly sleep time. A well trained dog makes for a happy family!
Crate your puppy when you’re out and at night. The overall premise to potty training is.. the more often your puppy goes outside rather than inside the quicker they will learn so take your puppy out many times a day so they can succeed. Take your dog to the same spot each time and use a phrase like “get busy”. Give them a pat and say “good boy/girl” after they do their business. How many times will your puppy need to go out? Between 6 to 14 weeks they will need to go outside 8 to 10 times a day. Between 14 to 20 weeks they will need to go out 4 to 6 times. Over 30 weeks they will need to go out 3 to 4 times. In these early stages it’s not advisable to reprimand when accidents happen, it will only scare and confuse the puppy. They will learn to potty outside through persistence and consistency and yes quite a lot of work on your part. Watch for signs that they need to go potty such as, sniffing around. They will usually need to go pee around 20 minutes after drinking. After eating they can be trained to go poop right after they have eaten if you always take them out after they eat. Once again, use your phrase… “get busy”. How long will it take to fully train your dog to go outside? This depends on the individual dog and their abililty to learn and most importantly the consistency and frequency you take them out to potty. This process takes time but once they are trained they will be trained for life. Have fun training your puppy. You are there to guide them and know that they want to learn to do the right thing!
Healthcare: You’ll want to introduce nail clipping, ear cleaning and teeth brushing to your puppy. Doing so early will mean they will accept you doing these as they become an adult dog. Nail Clipping; When they are a puppy just hold their paws and touch their nails. As they get a little older you can show them the nail clipper while staying relaxed and positive. Eventually, when they do need their nails to be clipped you will need to read up on how to do this properly. Ear Cleaning: as they get older they will need to be comfortable with you checking and possibly cleaning their ears especially if they have an ear infection. You can start out by just touching your puppies ears and looking in them. Later you can clean them gently with a cotton ball. Teeth Brushing: this is a very important because they will eventually develop plaque, gingivitis and will need dental cleaning and possibly surgery. You can avoid these problems if you brush your dogs teeth at least once a week. Start when they are a puppy by examining their teeth. As they become a little older have them lay down on their side and allow you to examine their teeth for longer. You can use some paper towel to wipe their teeth. As they get a little older you can brush them with a soft toothbrush and always dog toothpaste. They love the taste. Your dog won’t have smelly breath. That’s a bonus and they won’t need surgery when they get older.
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