Crate training a puppy makes toilet training simpler and also gives the youngster a 'safe' space of their own
I have decided on crate training for my new gundog puppy Briar. When she whines to go out I will hear her. I will also find it easier to teach her how to behave around my toddler in the house because she will have plenty of access to him.
Crate training is a practical decision
Dogs find it uncomfortable and a little stressful to urinate or defecate where they sleep so by keeping a puppy in a crate when she is young, she is less likely to mess. She will still have limited control of her bodily functions, so by carrying her outside approximately every hour and rewarding her every time she goes to the loo in the desired area will work wonders. Using paper, puppy pads and so on only confuses the dog. One minute you are praising them for going to the loo inside and the next you tell them it is wrong.
Timing toilet trips
A common mistake some make is assuming the puppy will need to go to the loo during the night. While they do have tiny bladders and will probably have the odd accident, sensible timing of their feeds can help them in the early weeks of training. I ensure their last feed is early enough that they have time to defecate before bedtime. I usually take them out at around 11pm and then let them out again about 6am. I have known owners set their alarms for a 3am toilet stop. While this might mean the puppy is less likely to have an accident in those early stages, you run the risk of introducing a habit of insisting they go outside every night at that time.
Puppy crates are safe places
A crate also provides a safe place for Briar if I am not there, which is useful if, like me, you have other dogs in the house.
Crates also control chewing
The final reason for choosing to crate-train is the habit of chewing. Despite analysing and attempting to understand why this happens, it would appear that some dogs are simply chewers and some are not. Pumba, Briar’s mother, only ever chewed one item — my husband’s PlayStation. She never touched another thing and my husband swears it was team work, knowing my general hatred of the thing. My other dog Keepa, however, has chewed plenty.
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I ensure every puppy has plenty of mental stimulation and plenty of chew toys when left alone, but it seems that some dogs are just chewers. They all grow out of it in their own time so I feel it is an argument not worth having. A crate or kennel prevents any damage or dangerous situations for the puppy.