Puppy & Visiting Info
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Providing your puppy or dog with an indoor kennel crate can satisfy many dogs' need for a den-like enclosure. Besides being an effective housebreaking tool (because it takes advantage of the dog's natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place), it can also help to reduce separation anxiety, to prevent destructive behavior (such as chewing furniture), to keep a puppy away from potentially dangerous household items (i.e., poisons, electrical wires, etc.), and to serve as a mobile indoor dog house which can be moved from room to room whenever necessary.
A kennel crate also serves as a travel cabin for you dog when travelling by car or plane. Additionally, most hotels which accept dogs on their premises require them to be crated while in the room to prevent damage to hotel furniture and rugs.
Most dogs which have been introduced to the kennel crate while still young grow up to prefer their crate to rest in or "hang-out" in. Therefore a crate (or any other area of confinement) should NEVER be used for the purpose of punishment.
We recommend that you provide a kennel crate throughout your dog's lifetime. Some crates allow for the removal of the door once it is no longer necessary for the purpose of training. The crate can be placed under a table, or a table top can be put on top of it to make it both unobtrusive and useful.
Preparing the Crate
Vari-Kennel type: Take the crate apart, removing the screws, the top and the door. Allow your pup to go in and out of the bottom half of the crate before attaching the top half. This stage can require anywhere from several hours to a few days. This step can be omitted in the case of a young puppy who accepts crating right away.
Wire Mesh type:Tie the crate door back so that it stays open without moving or shutting closed. If the crate comes with a floor pan, place a piece of cardboard or a towel between the floor (or crate bottom) and the floor pan in order to keep it from rattling.
Furnishing Your Puppy's Crate
Toys and Treats: Place your puppy's favorite toys and dog treats at the far end opposite the door opening. These toys may include the "Tuffy", "Billy", "Kong", "Nylabone" or a ball. Toys and bails should always be inedible and large enough to prevent their being swallowed. Any fragmented toys should be removed to prevent choking and internal obstruction. You may also place a sterilized marrow bone filled with cheese or dog treats in the crate.
Water: A small hamster-type water dispenser with ice water should be attached to the crate if your puppy is to be confined for more than two hours in the crate.
Bedding: Place a towel or blanket inside the crate to create a soft, comfortable bed for the puppy. If the puppy chews the towel, remove it to prevent the pup from swallowing or choking on the pieces. Although most puppies prefer lying on soft bedding, some may prefer to rest on a hard, flat surface, and may push the towel to one end of the crate to avoid it. If the puppy urinates on the towel, remove bedding until the pup no longer eliminates in the crate.
Location of Crate
Whenever possible, place the crate near or next to you when you are home. This will encourage the pup to go inside it without his feeling lonely or isolated when you go out. A central room in the apartment (i.e.: living room or kitchen) or a large hallway near the entrance is a good place to crate your puppy.
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy
In order that your puppy associate his/her kennel crate with comfort, security and enjoyment, please follow these guidelines:
- Occasionally throughout the day, drop small pieces of kibble or dog biscuits in the crate. While investigating his new crate, the pup will discover edible treasures, thereby reinforcing his positive associations with the crate. You may also feed him in the crate to create the same effect. If the dog hesitates, it often works to feed him in front of the crate, then right inside the doorway and then, finally, in the back of the crate.
- In the beginning, praise and pet your pup when he enters. Do not try to push, pull or force the puppy into the crate. At this early stage of introduction only inducive methods are suggested. Overnight exception: You may need to place your pup in his crate and shut the door upon retiring. (In most cases, the crate should be placed next to your bed overnight. If this is not possible, the crate can be placed in the kitchen, bathroom or living room.)
- You may also play this enjoyable and educational game with your pup or dog: without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit into the crate. Then call your puppy and say to him, "Where's the biscuit? It's in your room." Using only a friendly, encouraging voice, direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically serve as a primary reward. Your pup should be free to leave its crate at all times during this game. Later on, your puppy's toy or ball can be substituted for the treat.
- It is advisable first to crate your pup for short periods of time while you are home with him. In fact, crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with your dog. Getting him used to your absence from the room in which he is crated is a good first step. This prevents an association being made with the crate and your leaving him/her alone.
under 4 months of age have little bladder
or sphincter control. Puppies under
3 months have even less. Very young
puppies under 9 weeks should not be
crated, as they need to eliminate very
frequently (usually 8-12 times or more
Always remove your puppy or dog's collar
before confining in the crate. Even
flat buckle collars can occasionally
get struck on the bars or wire mesh
of a crate. If you must leave a collar
on the pup when you crate him (e.g.:
for his identification tag), use a safety
"break away" collar.
Weather: Do not crate a puppy or dog
when temperatures reach an uncomfortable
level. This is especially true for the
short-muzzled (Pugs, Pekes, Bulldogs,
etc.) and the Arctic or thick- coated
breeds (Malamutes, Huskies, Akitas,
Newfoundlands, etc.). Cold water should
always be available to puppies, especially
during warm weather. [Never leave an
unsupervised dog on a terrace, roof
or inside a car during warm weather.
Also, keep outdoor exercise periods
brief until the hot weather subsides.]
certain that your puppy has fully eliminated
shortly before being crated. Be sure
that the crate you are using is not
too large to discourage your pup from
eliminating in it. Rarely does a pup
or dog eliminate in the crate if it
is properly sized and the dog is an
appropriate age to be crated a given
amount of time. If your pup/dog continues
to eliminate in the crate, the following
may be the causes:
pup is too young to have much control.
pup has a poor or rich diet, or
very large meals.
pup did not eliminate prior to being
pup has gaseous or loose stools.
pup drank large amounts of water
prior to being crated.
pup has been forced to eliminate
in small confined areas prior to
pup/dog is suffering from a health
condition or illness (i.e., bladder
infection, prostate problem, etc.)
puppy or dog is experiencing severe
separation anxiety when left alone.
Puppies purchased in pet stores, or
puppies which were kept solely in small
cages or other similar enclosures at
a young age (between approximately 7
and 16 weeks of age), may be considerably
harder to housebreak using the crate
training method due to their having
been forced to eliminate in their sleeping
area during this formative stage of
development. This is the time when most
puppies are learning to eliminate outside
their sleeping area. Confining them
with their waste products retards the
housebreaking process, and this problem
can continue throughout a dog's adult
In The Crate
your puppy messes in his crate while
you are out, do not punish him upon
your return. Simply wash out the crate
using a pet odor neutralizer (such as
Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, or Outright).
Do not use ammonia-based products, as
their odor resembles urine and may draw
your dog back to urinate in the same
Weeks - Approx. 30-60 minutes
Weeks - Approx. 1-3 hours
Weeks - Approx. 3-4 hours
+ Weeks - Approx. 4+ (6 hours maximum)
Except for overnight, neither puppies
nor dogs should be crated for more than
5 hours at a time. (6 hours maximum!)
Crate As Punishment
use the crate as a form of punishment
or reprimand for your puppy or dog.
This simply causes the dog to fear and
resent the crate. If correctly introduced
to his crate, your puppy should be happy
to go into his crate at any time. You
may however use the crate as a brief
time-out for your puppy as a way of
discouraging nipping or excessive rowdiness.
Sufficient daily exercize is important
for healthy puppies and dogs. Regular
daily walks should be offered as soon
as a puppy is fully immunized. Backyard
exercize is not enough!]
And The Crate
not allow children to play in your dog's
crate or to handle your dog while he/she
is in the crate. The crate is your dog's
private sanctuary. His/her rights to
privacy should always be respected.
In The Crate
most cases a pup who cries incessantly
in his crate has either been crated
too soon (without taking the proper
steps as outlined above) or is suffering
from separation anxiety and is anxious
about being left alone. Some pups may
simply under exercised. Others may not
have enough attention paid them. Some
breeds of dog may be particularly vocal
(e.g., Miniature Pinchers, Mini Schnauzers,
and other frisky terrier types). These
dogs may need the "Alternate Method
of Confining Your Dog", along with
increasing the amount of exercise and
play your dog receives daily.
Not To Use A Crate
not crate your puppy or dog if:
is too young to have sufficient
bladder or sphincter control.
has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused
by: worms, illness, intestinal upsets
such as colitis, too much and/or
the wrong kinds of food, quick changes
in the dogs diet, or stress, fear
must leave him/her crated for more
than the Crating Duration Guidelines
has not eliminated shortly before
being placed inside the crate. (See
Housetraining Guidelines for exceptions.)
temperature is excessively high.
has not had sufficient exercise,
companionship and socialization.
to buy a crate: Crates can be purchased
through most pet supply outlets, through
pet mail order catalogs and through
most professional breeders. Some examples
Size and Manufacturers:
(Vari-Kennel #400 or General Cage #204/214)
large Samoyeds, small Golden Retrievers,
etc., with average weight of 41-65 Ibs.
Large: (Vari-Kennel #500 or General
Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, Rottweilers,
etc., with average weight of 67-100
Cost of A Crate
can cost between $35 and $150 depending
on the size and the type of crate and
Cost of Not Buying a Crate:
cost of not using a crate:
rugs and carpet, and
telephone and computer wires
real cost, however,
is your dog's safety and your peace
Method Of Confining Your Puppy
are alternative methods to crating very
young puppies and puppies who must be
left alone in the house for lengths
of time exceeding the recommended maximum
duration of confinement (see Crating
Duration Guidelines). We suggest the
a small to medium-sized room space such
as a kitchen, large bathroom or hallway
with non- porous floor. Set up the crate
on one end, the food and water a few
feet away, and some newspaper (approx.
2'x3' to 3'x3') using a 3 to 4 layer
thickness, several feet away. Confine
your puppy to this room or area using
a 3 ft. high, safety-approved child's
gate rather than shutting off the opening
by a solid door. Your pup will feel
less isolated if it can see out beyond
its immediate place of confinement.
Puppy proof the area by removing any
dangerous objects or substances.
Robin Kovary, with Barbara Giella
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