Dogs prefer to have a “den-like” space to themselves, just like their ancestors. Crates mimic a wolf’s den. However, there are a few important dos and don’ts when using a crate:
- Use the crate for naps, night-time sleep, and quiet-time breaks for the puppy to “unwind” from family chaos.
- Buy a well-ventilated crate, one large enough for him to stand up, lie down, and turn around.
- Every time you take the puppy out of the crate, take him outside so he can relieve himself.
- Have a schedule: First thing in the morning, after every meal, after every drink, after every play, and last thing in the evening he needs to be brought outside.
- Do not let your untrained pooch loose indoors if he has not eliminated outside!
Any time you cannot supervise your dog, he should be in a crate or pen, or in a smaller room behind a baby gate. Gradually, over a few weeks, you can allow a little freedom.
- Never leave a puppy in his crate all day! Even though he won’t want to soil his sleeping area, if he is in there for extremely long stretches, he just might. (He can’t help it.) And if he does, it is because his owner has neglected his responsibility, not because the dog has misbehaved.
- Never use the crate as punishment! It should always be a safe place for your pup, not a jail cell.