First Night: Puppy Crate Training
In order to crate train well, you need to introduce the crate positively and teach your puppy to love it. Place the crate in a quiet area of your home where you are likely to be in reach during the day. You will have to be able to hear the puppy whimpering or visually see him giving signs it must go out to potty.
Location, is not only the most important factor in real estate. The first night, prepare the crate and make it extra comfy. Place a soft blanket and some safe chew toys inside. Make a small trail of treats that lead inside the crate; and end the trail with a pile of treats inside at the end of the crate. Your puppy must learn to associate the crate with great things.
Once inside, do not close your puppy in the crate as of yet! Let him, investigate it on his own terms. Then as the night approaches, practice getting your pup’s attention and toss the treat inside the crate as you say ‘’inside’’. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Finally, place lure your puppy inside using a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or Kong n’ stuff spray cheese while saying ”inside”. Let your puppy have it and close the crate. Keep the crate near you the first night. Right next to your bed would be ideal since the puppy will feel lonely, being in a new environment away from its mother and litter-mates.
The first few nights, it does not hurt to reassure your puppy. If he whines, let him know you are there. You may wrap an alarm clock in a blanket to mimic the mothers and litter-mate’s heart beats, but be careful if your puppy decides to use it as a chew toy! Some like to warm up a Kong in the microwave and wrap it in a blanket. Wrapping a warm water bottle in a blanket helps mimic the warmth of your pup’s litter mates and mom.
You must be very careful in noticing sings your puppy must be taken outside. Waking up, whimpering, moving around the crate, sniffing, are signs he may need to go. Quickly take your puppy outside and see if he goes. If he does, praise lavishly and give a treat right away. A great training method is to start immediately teaching the terms ‘’go potty’’. Right when your puppy squats, say ”go potty’’ so with time, your puppy learns to associate those words with the act of squatting for number one and number two. If you want to be methodical, teach your puppy to differentiate the two: when he is having a bowel movement say ”go poop’’ when he is urinating say ”go pee’’. When he grows, he will learn to pee and poop on command, valuable training that will come handy when you must take your dog on long trips and must take him to take potty breaks in odd and unfamiliar places!