MID-KENTUCKY GERMAN SHEPHERDS

Breeders of Quality German Shepherds

In the Heart of Kentucky

 Crate Training
The best compromise can be setting a crate up in the bedroom or just outside of the open bedroom door. This way, the puppy knows you’re near. Very young puppies do not have the bladder capacity to hold it for the entire night, so it’s imperative that you can hear your puppy vocalizing when he needs to go out.

 And speaking of “going,” before going to bed, take the puppy outside so that he can relieve himself. Getting into the habit of walking before bed will also tire him out and will be more likely to sleep soundly and less likely to disturb you as you sleep.

 Again, remember that the puppy is not used to being alone in a crate. He will feel anxious and uncomfortable and is likely to make a lot of noise when you first put him inside the crate. Ignore the initial cries as your puppy settles down, but be aware that if your puppy wakes up in the middle of the night it probably means that he needs to go outside for a potty break.

 Along with going out before bed, going out first thing in the morning should also become a habitual morning ritual. Puppies will typically relieve themselves in small amounts several times before they have finished an outing. Once he is finished, praise him with a pat and a small training treat and say a few praising words to let him know he has done the right thing.

 One of the most important messages you can send to your puppy in those first days is that he is cared for and wanted, just as you would show those feelings toward a human child. This increases the chances that your puppy will attach to you in a healthy and confident way, without anxiety, and will grow to be a friendly, affectionate, loyal and obedient dog.

Crate Training Defined
 Dogs are den animals, which means they like to have their own personal space (den) to rest, take a nap, or hide from thunderstorms. Crate training is a practice that uses a dog’s natural instincts as a den animal. Even though den animals like to have an area that’s all theirs, it takes some time getting used to a crate.

 Benefits of Crate Training
 There are a lot of good reasons to crate train a dog, housetraining being the main reason. Crate training is an essential part of housebreaking new puppies too. Puppies will not usually soil their bed or den. Therefore, if the crate is set up as a resting space, the puppy will wait until he leaves the crate to do his business. This will put you in control of where and when your puppy relieves himself.
You’ll also find that crate training is useful for sequestering rambunctious dogs when you have company over, during car travels, and for making sure a new puppy or anxious dog is safe and happy at night – i.e. not eating everything that’s left within reach, tearing up furniture, or soiling the floors.
 Another reason to crate train a dog is if there are certain areas in your home where the dog isn’t allowed. Crate training your dog will limit their access to the rest of the house while they learn the other house rules, like not chewing up furniture.

Tips to Make Crate Training a Pleasant Experience
 To avoid making crate training your puppy a traumatic experience, make sure the he feels at ease throughout the entire process. You can do this by placing an old shirt or blanket on the bottom of the crate so that he is comfortable.

A puppy must never be locked up and left alone if it is his first time inside the crate. This can be a very traumatic experience for your puppy and will only make it more difficult for you the next time you try and get him to go inside the crate and behave.

Instead, tempt the puppy to enter the crate by placing some kibble inside. Be generous with your praises, as he enters the crate to eat the kibble. If he does not make a move to enter the crate, pick him up and slowly put him inside with the door left open. Reassure your puppy by petting him if he seems agitated and frightened. Once the puppy is inside the crate for a few moments, call him to come out of the crate to join you. Praise him with simple words and pats when he comes to you.
 
After practicing going in and out of the crate willingly several times, once the puppy appears to be at ease inside the crate and does not show any signs of fright, then you can close the door slowly. Keep it closed for one minute, as long as he remains calm all throughout. After that, open the door and invite him out while generously praising him.

What if He Whines? What if??  funny ..... Your puppy will whine!

 Once you have passed the initial hurdle of familiarizing your puppy with the crate, you will want to get him comfortable to going into the crate and staying there quietly. Similar to before, the best trick for getting a puppy to go inside a crate willingly is to tempt him with food. Fill a bowl with a small amount of puppy food while you let him watch. Let him sniff the food and then slowly place the bowl of food inside the crate.

Once the puppy is inside, slowly close the door (so as not to startle the puppy) and allow him to eat. He will likely finish his food inside and only begin to whine or bark after he is done with his meal. When he starts to bark and whine, tap the door of the crate and say “No” in a strong, commanding (but not loud) voice. With repetition, this will make him stop crying and eventually train him not to whine when he is placed inside his crate.

You will gradually increase the time the puppy stays inside the crate. If he whines, wait for him to quiet down -- or five minutes, whichever is first -- before you open the door to let him out. Praise him when he comes out, and take him outside to relieve himself immediately. Repeat this a few times a day, as consistency in training is a key tool to success.

After some time, your puppy will begin to feel at ease inside his crate and may even go to his crate on his own. This is the time to lengthen his stay inside, although you must keep in mind that there is also a limit to the maximum number of hours that your puppy can spend inside his crate before becoming uncomfortable.

A puppy should not be made to spend almost an entire day in his crate, nor is it right to imprison a puppy inside his crate for long periods of time. He must be given breaks to walk and play around.
 The purpose of a crate is so that the puppy/dog can be tucked inside overnight when you are sleeping and cannot supervise him, when you need to travel, and when you need him to be sequestered from visitors or children. It can also be a very useful tool in housetraining. You can keep him inside his crate until the scheduled outside time -- when you can take him out to relieve himself – and in so doing, the puppy learns how to control his body functions as an internal schedule is being set, so that he becomes accustomed to the times when he will be going outdoors. This method works well because it is a dog’s natural inclination not to soil in his own bedding. He will learn not to eliminate until he is let out of his crate, and later, at the scheduled time.