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We are getting our 8 week old puppy tomorrow and are very excited! I took tomorrow off of work so I could have a long weekend with him & start housetraining.

The only thing I'm worried about is making sure I get him acclamated to his crate the right way. How did you all introduce your puppies to the crate and make going in their crate an enjoyable experience for your dogs?

Thanks for any advice!
 

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With my dog I left the door open when we were home an she was out. I also draped a towel over the top and sides so that it felt kind of like a cave to her. She was able to go in and lay down on her own so when we did have to lock the door she handled it pretty well.

Also give him plenty of treats when he is in the crate so that he associates it wih good things happenng in the crate.

Just remember though that most pups will whine when you put them in the crate at first.
 

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Crates are a fact of life at our house. Their first experience with the crate is the ride home. There is no good reason to let a puppy loose in a moving vehicle. And our breeders wouldn't even let us take the puppy home unless they were in a crate for the ride. So that's the first experience. Just put them in and go home.

After that I don't spend much time making it the "happy place" but I do put a small dab of peanut butter on the back wall as a pleasant surprise to all who enter there! A nice soft blanket and a little soft toy often helps the transition.

Basically you are taking this puppy away from everything it has ever known. It is going to cry no matter what. So I just try to get the adjustment period over with and not worry too much about it. The only thing I won't change right away is the food. If the puppy is eating, eliminating, and getting some sleep...all is good. But otherwise, the crate is usually in our bedroom at night where they can see us...but don't baby-talk, get overly conversational, take the dog out of the crate because it's crying. If you can't sleep with the crate in the bedroom, then I have moved some puppies to the other end of the house with equally good results.

So I try to remember to re-bait the crate with peanut better often enough that the puppy likes to find it. And then whenever I need to have the puppy in the crate (leaving the house, can't watch with both eyes, night time) I pick the puppy up and put it in the crate giving the command (you choose your own...go crate, go box, jump in...)
 

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Yogi,
Congrats. I did the EXACT same thing last Thursday and its been a crazy week. I got my pup at 3 1/2 months, so I think I passed up some of the late nights and early morning potty breaks, but she has turned out wonderfully and enjoys her crate during the night to sleep and the day to rest while I am away.

What I did was to make sure I had the crated layered with old towels and clothes I wouldn't care to loss. A few nights before I slept with one of the towels in my bed so that it had my scent on it. That will help the pup identify the crate with you. Its a slow process to be sure, just don't rush her into it.

I first put a couple toys she liked in the crate keeping the door wide open for her to wander in and out of on her own volition. Then I threw some treats in the front to get her to stick her head in there and praised her and pet her. Slowly the treats we thrown farther into the crate until her body was in, at which point she received lots of praise. Her crate is a wire one, so I started to drop treats from the top into the back on her area and she really thought that was fun.

Let her go in and out of her crate on her own, don't force her in. Keep the door open until she has gone in a couple times. A few times after she is in her crate on her own, gently shut the door while she is faced the back and lock it. Praise her drop a few more treats and let her notice the door is closed for a minute or so. Praise her for being inside and then open the door to release her.

Continue to keep her in the crate for 2 then 3 then 4 then 5 minutes. When she is inside stay next to the kennel where she can see you and praise her continuously, combining it with some more treats.

Finally, she needs to know that when you leave her in the crate, you will eventually come back to get her. Go through your routine of leaving for work, put her in her crate with some toys and/or treats. Close the door and leave for 10 minutes. Come back in and don't make a deal of coming home, calmly let her out of her crate. Go through the process again later, increasing the time to which you feel comfortable, 15 or 20 minutes. If she cannot stand it that long, start with shorter times, getting ready to leave, but don't leave, just stay next to the crate and ignore her (read a magazine) while she is in there. Then leave and return only a few minutes later.

Lastly, I would suggest that if you can, keep moving the crate to different spots for its not always the same corner. For instance, in the morning, Deci is in her crate in front of the deck window so she can see outside. In the afternoon her crate is in the laundry room with the dog gate up. Her crate door is open and the room has a few more toys in it. This way she can use the crate when she wants to and is more likely to idenify it as her spot.

This worked for me. I brought Deci home Thursday night, took off Friday and by Monday I could leave her along for 3+ hours and she was totally fine.
 

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With an adult dog I got that wasn't crate trained I did "crate drills" with him. I put toys/treats in the back of the crate and used the crate command while pointing. The dog goes in the crate and gets a prize then he can come back out. I also put toys in there sometimes and let him work on the toy in the crate. For the first couple of weeks I had him, all of his meals were eaten in the crate. I've heard some people will put the toys just inside the door, but close the door so the dog can see the toy, but can't get in. The crate then becomes this place that the dog really, really wants to go into.
 
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