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 can be a good idea to use a crate for overnight or when you go out. Making your dog feel safe and secure is important and a crate is possibly the best way to provide this when you are not around.
Crates are also a great way to provide your puppy with their 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. You could put the crate in the corner of a room, with a nice comfy dog bed and a soft toy or two inside and place something underneath so it doesn't slip around on the floor and make noise to scare him (you could recycle the cardboard box the crate arrived in). Drape a blanket/sheet/duvet cover on top of the crate which also covers the back and sides so it feels more den like.
Have the crate set up and ready for when your dog arrives in their new home and practice 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 and they like to be. Once they are a bit more relaxed in the crate, then you can start closing and opening the door several times and feed treats through the crate when they are inside.
Start as you mean to go on and house your puppy in their crate from the first night and it can help to keep the night short by going to bed quite late and getting up early in the mornings - there may be a bit of whining or barking for a night or two but they will very quickly settle in.
If you have a very young puppy, they will need to eliminate every few hours so you will need to get up in the night after 3-4 hours for the first few weeks to let them out. Or if the crate is located in a pen or kitchen area, you can put newspaper or a puppy pad down and encourage them to go there – puppies don’t like to ‘toilet’ where they sleep so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Puppies can easily become over-stimulated through play or just general excitement, so it is a good idea for them to have 1 or 2 short spells of time in the crate each day, ideally after a walk or training/play session, even if it is just for 15-30 mins each time. Making this part of your puppy's routine will promote calmness and relaxation which is very important for your puppy,
And if you are going out, you could leave a talk radio station or tv on to break the silence and provide your puppy with a lovely treat such as a Kong toy (filled with yogurt & freeze) or similar to keep them occupied. This will also act as a distraction and help with relaxation to avoid any separation anxiety.
Good Luck with your new addition and have fun!