Updated: Jul 27
Your new family member is coming home and all you need to do now is prepare for the big day - how exciting!
Whether you have a new puppy arriving or if you are rehoming an older puppy or a dog, it is a good idea to use a crate for overnight, naps or when you go out. Making your puppy feel safe and secure is important and a crate is possibly the best way to provide this overnight or when you are not around.
Crates are also a great way to provide your puppy with his or her very own space if there are small children and/or other pets in the house or when new visitors arrive. Crates also assist with toilet training whilst your puppy is learning the ropes.
The most suitable are the metal flat folding types which come in all sizes and are easy to assemble. You can buy these crates quite cheaply online or from a reputable pet retailer. Use one that is big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably as you want them to feel safe and snug. Place some nice comfy bedding and a soft toy inside. Drape a throw/duvet cover on top of the crate which also covers the back and sides so it feels more 'den' like.
House your puppy's crate in a safe space - kitchen, utility room or puppy pen where the door can be left open whilst they are getting used to it. Young puppies need to toilet every few hours so put down some newspaper or a puppy pad to encourage toileting in the correct place – puppies don’t like to go where they sleep so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Have the crate set up and ready for when your dog arrives & from day one, practice with the puppy going in and out of the crate by hand feeding and using high value treats like chicken so the association is a positive one and a place where good stuff happens. Once they are a bit more relaxed in the crate, you can begin closing and opening the door several times and feed treats through the crate when your puppy is inside. Take time with crate training to avoid any fears of the crate.
There may be some whining or barking for a night or two which you should try to ignore (difficult I know!), but your puppy will soon settle in. If you do get up, wait for a 'quiet' moment, so your puppy learns they only get attention when calm. Dogs live in 'the now', so timing is key for dogs.
Puppies need lots of naps & can easily become over-stimulated through play or just general excitement, so it is a good idea for them to have a few short spells of 'just puppy' time in the crate area each day, ideally after a walk or training/play session. Making this part of your puppy's routine will promote relaxation which is very important & will help to prevent separation anxiety.
Teaching your puppy to be independent of you overnight & for short spells during the day is the best way to help them become a calm & confident canine companion who does not feel over anxious when not in their owner's company.
Good Luck with your new addition and have fun!
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