A crate can help you housebreak, transport and introduce your 6-month-old puppy to your other pets. It is his den where he can feel warm, comfortable and secure. However, the crate is not a magical solution. It's a short-term aid until he is housebroken and won't chase Kitty up the curtains.
A 6-month-old puppy may be crated for a maximum of four to five hours during the day. If your pup has good bladder and bowel control, you can crate him for the whole night. At night, your pup's body systems slow down. To help him hold it through the night, remove his food and water after his evening meal. Take him out to potty before you go to bed. He should be fine for the night.
If you work all day and plan on crating your 6-month-old puppy the whole time, make arrangements for someone to come in during the day for a potty break. Even an adult dog struggles with all-day confinement. Crating a dog for eight to 10 hours every day can lead to behavior problems, according to the ASPCA. Puppies and dogs need exercise, socialization and companionship.
Before crating your puppy for long periods, take him out to potty, take him for a walk or spend some time playing with him. Whoever lets him out mid-day should also take him for a walk or spend time playing with him. If your pup stays in his crate for more than two hours, make sure he has water. The best solution for water is a bottle dispenser hooked to the side of the crate. For longer periods, provide some chew toys and a soft blanket for added comfort.
Make sure the crate you are using is large enough for your 6-month-old puppy. He should be able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. If the crate is larger, he may soil one end of the crate and sleep in the other end. If the crate is too large, consider blocking off the back of the crate until your pup grows.
Once your pup can be trusted in your home, keep the crate available for him to wander into for quiet time. Just secure the door open.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.