Fernfall Golden Retrievers Est 1980
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A crate is a portable "kennel" that is
used to train a young puppy or safely transport your dog in a plane or car. It
can also be used as a "home" for your dog when you travel, making your
dog a welcome visitor in a friend's home or motel.
A crate can be plastic or metal. The plastic crate
is used a lot for air travel and is enclosed except for the door and a small
grate on each side. The metal crates are more open, and some are made to fold
down which makes them very easy to transport.
Dogs are den animals who seek small, cavelike
enclosures to crawl into. Most puppies will look for a place to go to sleep that
is a tight fit, like under the coffee table. With the crate, you are supplying a
perfectly safe environment for your puppy. It is a safe haven away from
underfoot and small children, and it is a private bedroom, which it will not
soil if it can help it. Using a crate can alleviate numerous problems, can stop
other problems from starting, and can housebreak a puppy with ease.
The crate should be in a "people" area,
the kitchen or family room. The crate should be within easy reach during the
day, so that when things get busy and you can't watch the puppy, the crate is
handy, not in the basement or on another floor. If you need two crates in
different parts of the house, get two. Dogs are social animals and if you lock a
puppy away where they can't see what's going on, you will have a harder time
getting the puppy to adjust to a crate.
Set up a routine that works for you and the puppy.
First thing in the morning let the puppy out to potty. If you want them to
eliminate in a certain area, take them there and praise them when they go. Also,
a catch phrase like "go now" or "hurry up," if said every
time, will help your puppy learn faster. The puppy should take all naps in the
crate it will make nighttimes easier as the puppy adjusts to being confined.
When the puppy is loose in the house it should be confined to the room you are
in with a baby gate. If you can't be with the puppy, use the crate. If the crate
is properly introduced, the dog will grow to think of the crate as its den. Most
dogs that are crate trained will use the open crate as a resting place.
The major use of the crate is to prevent the dog
from doing something wrong. House manners are just as important as house
breaking. It is useless to correct a dog for something that it did 5 minutes
ago; you must catch them in the act. If the dog is out of the crate
unsupervised, it may do something wrong and not be corrected, or worse,
corrected after the fact. If the dog is not corrected, it may develop problem
behaviour as a habit or learn that it can get "away with it" when it
is not supervised.
The dog will not associate a correction with
behaviour unless given at the time of the misbehaviour. Corrections after the
fact will only confuse the dog and lead to a lack of trust from your dog. If you
find evidence of a misdeed after the fact, understand it is your fault, not the
dogs. If you use your crate as you would a child's playpen, to keep the puppy
safe when you cannot watch it closely, the results will be amazing.
The crate is a tool; it should be used for at least
a year with a puppy. A very young dog should be placed in its crate whenever it
cannot be supervised. As the dog gets older, more freedom can be allowed, but
not hours at a time. If you leave the house, the dog should be in its crate
(also when you are sleeping). Most people make the mistake of allowing the dog
too much freedom too soon. This only leads to destructive behaviour in the
teenage dog. When they are trustworthy while you are home but not within sight,
then you can start leaving them alone for very short periods, while you run to
the corner store or post office. If all is fine at home when you return, greet
the dog normally. Some dogs have separation anxiety when left; coming and going
should be no big deal, no big scenes, which will leave the dog confused. After
the dog has proven himself to be trustworthy, leave the dog for longer periods
of time. But the crate should be left for times you need the dog out of the way,
or for the dog to go to when they want to rest.