A new puppy that is weaned, around 8 weeks old, is too young to avoid crate training. A crate is a personal space for the puppy that can provide security and comfort when it no longer has its mother. In addition, it can prevent accidents. Crate training can play a vital part in adjusting a new puppy to its home environment, making the puppy feel secure, and giving it a small area of personal space.
Place a blanket or towel in the crate so that the bottom of the crate is soft and comfortable and the fabric can be easily cleaned if the puppy has an accident. Ensure that the crate is large enough for the puppy to easily lie down, stand, sit up, and move around. Since the puppy will grow quickly, a larger crate is typically a good option, especially for large breeds. Place a few dog toys in the crate for the puppy to play with.
Place the puppy in the crate at regular intervals, such as at the puppy’s nap time. The puppy should spend about 1 to 2 hours in the crate during the day. This gets it used to the crate quickly. Remove the puppy’s collar whenever it is placed in the crate to avoid its catching on anything and choking him.
Leave the crate open when the puppy is not in the crate to allow it free access. Wandering in and out of the crate will not only get the puppy accustomed to it but will also make the crate a den or room for it.
Avoid putting food and water in the crate with the puppy, which may be knocked over and have to be cleaned up, which is unpleasant for both the puppy and the owner. If the puppy is in the crate for an extended period, put up a water bottle instead. The bottle is hung so that the puppy can have a drink when thirsty but is not in the way if it moves around.
Take the puppy outside immediately after removing it from the crate. An 8-week-old puppy should be taken outside for a potty break every 1 to 2 hours. The puppy is not yet old enough to control the need for constant bathroom breaks. Owners should put the puppy in the crate for a few minutes every hour or so until the puppy is accustomed to the crate and place the puppy in the crate when they are at work or unable to watch the puppy. If leaving the puppy in the crate for extended hours, place the crate in a bathroom or small room with newspapers or similar items on the floor and leave the crate door open. The puppy will have a space for using the bathroom without making a mess of the crate.
Never scare the puppy into the crate or put it in the crate for punishment. Negative actions should be avoided during crate training or the puppy will become reluctant to enter the crate.
Helen Jain has been writing online articles since December 2009 for various websites. She has studied English and psychology and hopes to get a Ph.D. in English in the future.