Preparing the crate for your dog

When preparing the crate for a new puppy or dog, most people’s first inclination is to outfit it with a comfy dog bed, towel, or blanket. It is generally best to hold off on this thoughtful gesture until you are confident your puppy or dog will not chew on (and ingest pieces of) the bedding, or eliminate on this soft, absorbent surface and then push it to the side.

For the first few weeks, allow your pup to rest on the floor of the crate unfurnished. If you are considered about their comfort, consider that this is temporary and that many dogs choose to lie on wood and tile floors all on their own anyway. At this point, you can provide your pup with a soft bed while he lies next to you and naps. This way you can supervise your pup and redirect his attention if he tries to chew the bed.

In the meantime, take this opportunity to teach your dog to focus his chewing on appropriate chew toys and work on the foundation of bladder and bowl muscle control so that he or she is not inclined to eliminate on bedding (this is achieved by setting up a food, water, walking and play schedule that is appropriate for your dog’s age and experience).

Be sure your dog’s crate is always well stocked with at least two good chew toys so he is kept happily occupied and learns that time in the crate means he is given some of his favorite things. Some of the best chew toys are hollow, white sterilized bones and hollow durable plastic or rubber toys, both of which can be filled with your dog’s normal meals and/or special treats. Again, providing him with a form of environmental enrichment by having him ‘hunt’ for his food from these toys will keep him busy doing something you like and burn off mental energy.

Plush, furry toys and squeaky toys should not be left alone with your dog. Instead use these toys for supervised games such as fetch.

Because dogs are social animals, it is advisable that to begin you keep the crate near you when your dog is confined. This will help to prevent an association being made between the crate and being left alone. As your dog becomes accustomed to his crate, move it gradually farther away from you and then from room to room so he is comfortable staying in it regardless of where it is placed. This will pay off down the road if you want your dog to rest quietly in his crate when you are staying at a hotel or visiting friends.

About Andrea Arden

Andrea can be seen on Animal Planet's shows Dogs 101, Cats 101, Pets 101, America's Cutest Dog and America's Cutest Cat. She is the author of numerous best-selling books on animal behavior and training. Andrea is thrilled to be a part of Pets for Patriots' efforts to help its members successfully adopt and share their lives with shelter pets! Read more...
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