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Crate Training for Dummies

Crate training your new puppy (and adult dog) is essential. It’s simple, and the tools you need are minimal. Crate training not only protects your home and the health and safety of your dog, but it sets him up to excel in later aspects of his life. Below are a few other benefits of crate training your new puppy…

  • quickest, easiest way to potty train
  • gives your dog a safe place of his own
  • reduces/prevents separation anxiety
  • makes travel, vet, boarding, and groomer trips easier
  • prevents destruction inside your home
  • and most importantly .. crate training keeps your new puppy SAFE

1 . Train your dog to enjoy his crate. The crate is not punishment, the crate should be a positive and stress free place for your dog to relax. Susan Garrett’s “Crate Games” series is a great help. It comes in a book as well as an online version, and you can purchase it here!

2 . Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. The best type of puppy is a tired puppy. Puppies with pent up energy are going to be more likely to bark, whine, and be destructive in their crates. They will try to escape, eat bedding, and toys. Never crate your dog for an extended period of time (more than half an hour) without exercising him first. He’s much more likely to snooze through crate time if he’s tired and worn out. Brain games are another great way to “exercise” your dog before putting him in his crate. Mental stimulation is just as important for dogs, if not more important than physical exercise – especially when it comes to puppies. It’s crucial not to over do physical activity before growth plates close, so brain games are a MUST! Check out our favorite puzzles and games to give your dog a brain workout!

3 . Make the crate comfortable. I don’t know about you, but the standard wire crate does not seem homey to me. I doubt it is to a dog either. I like to put my crates up against a wall, usually in a corner, to give the dog a little more security. I use a waterproof, chew proof bedding – which if you’re going to give your puppy a bed, is super important. I always cover my crates, the closed in feel makes your puppy feel safe – and the darkness encourages rest and sleep. I use the K9 Ballistics Tough Dog Orthopedic Crate Pad and K9 Ballistics Tough Dog Crate Cover to keep Ward safe and comfortable in his crate.

4 . Leave music on. An empty room seems a little less lonely when there’s something to listen to. I have the Pandora app on my TV in my room, so when I leave, I put on Pandora’s Instrumental radio station for him, and keep the volume low. This way it’s something for him to hear, but it’s not loud enough to interfere with sleep or rest.

5 . Leave your dog with something that smells like you. I purchased several cheap, fleece blankets from Walmart shortly after Ward came home. I will sleep with one, and then put it in his crate for a few days before replacing it with a clean, freshly slept on blanket. Something about being able to snuggle up with something that smells like their owner helps a dog relax and feel more comfortable – and it has definitely helped in Ward’s case. Click here for the blankets that I use.

6 . Kongs & Chews. I always leave Ward with something to do inside his crate. I typically give him a Kong in the morning, and a natural chew in the afternoon. ( He’s crated from 8-12 and then from 1-5. ) In the case that he doesn’t sleep completely through crate time, Kongs and/or chews will give your dog something to occupy them in the mean time. The chewing will also wear them out and is likely to put them back to sleep! Be cautious about what type of chews you leave your dog with when unattended, as the majority of them can be dangerous. Click here for a list of my favorite CRATE SAFE chews.

7 . Try CBD Oil. If you’re still struggling a bit with crate training, CBD oil can be a huge, natural help. Even if you take all the cautious measures that I listed above, sometimes crating can still be uncomfortable – especially for an anxious dog. Instead of running to the vet for sedatives or pharmaceuticals – try the natural route first. CBD has remarkable benefits for anxious and nervous dogs. Be VERY careful when purchasing CBD, as it is not regulated, and many times – what’s in the bottle is not actually CBD. I only trust one brand, ElleVet.

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