The first thing to do is to make sure your crate is big enough for the puppy and the job you wish to use it for. If traveling, by plane, check with the airline or travel company that you get the right crate for the job. You will have to know the puppy’s size, as in their weight and length of the body. If the crate is for more than one puppy then that has to be planned in advance. You and your puppy want the best experience from the crate. There is plenty of information on dog crates and their uses. Whatever your use for a crate maybe, from holidays with a family that cannot have a puppy in the house to emigrating to a new life.
Start by getting the crate up and open in a familiar setting for your puppy. Your new puppy will have a great sense of curiosity and will have a good look at this new thing, the crate.
Place some of the puppy’s favorite things into the crate, like toys or blanket, and keep things low key at this point. Encourage the dog to go in and out of the crate with lots of praise. Set aside time for quiet time with your puppy in the crate, door open, and you make a nice fuss of your furry friend. Do this as often, and for as long, as you can, as your dog needs to build up confidence in the crate.
The dog will build up confidence if you use the crate as a ‘safe’ area for your puppy. Use the crate as a place the puppy has that is their own. Do not allow any children to take over the crate as a den! Encourage the children to allow the puppy quiet time while it is in the crate.
After walks, pop the dog into the crate and close the door for a few minutes. Depending on the dog’s tolerance build up the time spent in the crate from ten minutes to a few hours. Only use the crate for any significant length of time after the puppy has been exercised.
Never use the crate for punishment. This sends the wrong message for your puppy. The crate needs to be used by your dog without getting distressed. The crate has to be seen as an area that is peaceful. Never use the crate as storage for the puppy, like you would tidy away the toys to a box.
Keep in mind your end goal for the use of the crate and you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you all can adapt to the use of the crate. The puppy will not see it as you being cruel, but given the right encouragement as a place of rest and peace.
If you use the crate for flights, there are merits in getting your dog used to eating light meals in the crate. As they maybe need this while traveling over long distances. Crates often come with small feeding and water dishes.
If you have enough room in your car, then that is a great place to have your crate. The puppy will get used to understanding that the crate means nice things and to look forward to its use. If you do use the crate in a car, please think about pet safety and have the crate well anchored in the car. Do not just use the crate in the car; you need to use the crate in other areas of the canine’s life.
Once you and your puppy have mastered the use of the crate the world becomes a smaller place and many more options can open up for you and your pet.