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ABC's of Crate Training

Crate training your dog provides them with a safe and comfortable place of their own within your home. It also creates a solid foundation for potty training since puppies/dogs typically won't potty where they sleep. However, it can be frustrating time for both you and your pup, so it's important to keep in mind that crate training takes time, consistency and patience. Set you and your pup up for success by following these ABC's...

Arrange the right crate

Your pups' crate should be just big enough so that they can stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. Oversized crates can impede potty training because they allow for the dog to potty on one side and sleep on the other. If you expect your dog to need a large crate as an adult, it is suggested to purchase a crate with a divider that can be adjusted as your pup grows.

You may also provide comfort items such as a crate mat, towel, blanket or toys. Your pup should be monitored with these items until you are confident that they will not tear these items to shreds, creating choking or blockage hazards.

Build a schedule

Giving your pup regular exposure to crate time helps them feel comfortable in their new space. Creating and keeping a consistent schedule allows your pup to understand that the crate is not a punishment, but instead a part of your daily schedule together. A good rule of thumb to remember is that puppies should hold their their bladder no longer than one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is 4 months old, they can hold it for about four hours. They may be able to hold their bladder longer overnight, but best practice is to allow them to have a potty break right before bed and first thing in the morning.

Cheer for your pup

To make crate time feel more like a time to relax, and less like a punishment, make it a rewarding experience. Praise and reward your dog upon entering and exiting their crate. Rewards can be treats, a favorite toy or even a game (i.e. hiding treats in your dogs blanket for them to sniff out). Crate time can be the perfect time for eating meals, playing with new toys or receiving yummy treats. Cheer your pup on when they exit the crate to positively reinforce their paw-some job in their crate!

Although crate training may take time, it can be mutually beneficial for you and your pup; they get a comfy space to call their own and you can have peace of mind that they are safe and secure while you are away. As easy as ABC!


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