5. CRATE TRAINING:
As mentioned earlier, a crate or kennel is the best method of controlling the puppy and preventing accidents and destructive behavior. Crating is not cruel or inhumane and is a natural haven because it fits into the puppy's den concept. Crates come in plastic or in wire cages. We prefer plastic as they are warmer, darker and free of drafts. Get a crate that is just big enough for the puppy and make bedding out of a worn T-shirt or blanket (towels do not make good bedding as claws get caught in them) and place at least one stuffed toy in it. (pups love to be packed in). If the crate is too big, the pup may use one end for a "potty" place. As he outgrows the puppy crate, get one that will be suitable for his adult size. He needs to be able to stand up and turn around in it. The crate can be used as his bed for the rest of his life. Do not give in and take the pup to bed with you even once. If you must, put the pup, crate and all on your bed. It is not advisable to let a dog, even a grown one sleep on the bed with you. This may be one factor in the separation anxiety syndrome seen so much today. If you leave the crate available to him, he will often crawl into it to sleep on his own, or use it as a refuge when the children get too much for him. Teach children to respect his "space." If the pup falls asleep elsewhere in the house, pick him up and lock him in his crate. The crate is a handy and safe way to travel in the car. Start off with no more than 4 hours in a crate for a pup except at night. Do not leave food or water in the crate, but you can feed in the crate and remove dish. The crate should represent a happy secure place for the dog and never be used as punishment. NEVER OPEN THE CRATE DOOR WHEN THE PUP IS SCREAMING. This just rewards the screaming behavior. WAIT FOR 30 SECONDS OF SILENCE before opening the door.