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Crate training is extremely popular in America. It is not well known in South Africa, but is slowly being used by breeders and trainers. Although I had read about this method, I had not used it with any of my previous dogs, until I obtained my last puppy.
When my GSD puppy arrived I put up a wire cage in my bedroom and this became my puppy’s evening den. I put her in the crate at night and when she got restless, I would take her outside to do her business, praise and then bring her back to her cage. She quickly learnt to “tell” me when she needed to go outside and she was quickly completely housetrained. She will be three in November and she has NEVER messed in my house. She loved her “den” and after a few weeks I could leave the door open and she would still sleep in it at night. Sometimes during the day I would find one of my Border Collies lying in the crate!
She eventually got too big and my room was too small for a full sized GSD crate; she now sleeps on a pet bed and on rare occassions will tell me if she needs to go out.
I do not approve of crate training a dog for most part of the day – which is what many American’s do. They leave their dogs in the crate and only take it out for a play or do their business. I like puppies to interact with their family as much as possible and to learn that being outside is a great place. However, putting the puppy in the crate can be useful if there is no-one around to keep an eye on it, and it could come to some harm. It just mustn’t become an easy way out to put the puppy into the cage and leave it there.
Crate training for night time house training is fantastic. The crate becomes the puppy’s den and with a few toys and a chewy the puppy can settle down comfortably and eventually fall asleep. A dog will do its utmost not mess where it sleeps, so this is when it will become restless and the owner needs to quickly take the puppy out of the cage and outside to do its business.
Crate training will not work if the puppy is left in the kitchen – it will not be able to tell the owner that it needs to go out. The crate needs to be in the bedroom right next to the bed, then the owner can wake up and take the puppy out.
So, having actually used crate training myself, I can endorse it – if it is used correctly – as a training method for puppies.
Accredited Companion Animal Behaviourist &Professional Dog Trainer
011 783 3042 082 454 1750
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