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The Great Crate Debate: Why Your Dog Absolutely MUST Have A Crate (Part 5)
Are you ready for a quick and easy 5-step crate training plan for your pup? Repeat each of the following steps for one day or one week, depending on how well your puppy takes to crate training. Move onto the next step once your pooch is confident with the previous step.
Day 1/Week 1: Introduce your puppy to his new crate by opening the door so it won't close on the dog accidentally. Be prepared to spend some uninterrupted time with your puppy and sit down next to the crate for a few minutes.
Put some toys and a blanket inside the crate. Your puppy will toddle over it. When it does, pick up a toy from the inside, show it to your puppy and gently toss the toy inside the crate so that it hits the back wall and makes a noise.
Chances are, your puppy will be curious about the toy and where the noise came from, and may walk over the threshold to check it out. If your puppy goes inside on its own, reward it by tossing in a little treat so it hits the back wall of the crate, too. Repeat the process a few times.
If your puppy doesn't go into the crate, toss some treats near the crate's door and encourage your puppy to eat the treats. As your puppy gets closer and no longer seems afraid of the crate, throw a few treats inside and tell it to go get the cookie. Make a big fuss by saying, Yeah, Yeah Good Puppy!
Day 2/Week 2: Take your puppy to the crate and toss some treats inside. When your puppy goes in the crate, verbally praise it again. Repeat this process several times. This is also a good time to put your puppy's food bowl inside and feed it a meal inside the crate, but leave the door open. Your puppy will begin to associate the crate with yummy experiences, which is a good thing. After a few meals, your puppy will run inside and wait for you to put the food bowl down.
Day 3/Week 3: When your puppy is comfortable with dining a la crate, try closing the door while it's eating. When it's done, open the door after a few minutes. Repeat at the next meal, but increase the amount of time the door is closed each time.
Day 4/Week 4: While feeding your puppy inside the carrier with the door closed, go to another room for a few minutes so you're out of sight of your puppy. When you return, let your puppy out. Repeat and gradually increase the time you're away.
Day 5/Week 5: In addition to feeding your puppy all of its meals inside the crate, try putting it inside after playtime and right before naps. Use a verbal command, such as go get a cookie, and toss some treats inside, making sure they hit the back wall noisily. When it goes inside after them, close the door for a few minutes. If your puppy settles down for a nap, walk away to another room. Repeat.
During the day, your puppy will be fine inside for up to about three hours. If you have to leave a young pup alone for an entire day and an outdoor area isn't available, try taking the door off the crate and putting pup and crate inside an exercise pen or a gated safe room. This way it can go in and out of the crate and still have the freedom to move around.
BONUS : Water Safety: Are You Risking Your Dog's Life When Playing In Water?
If you own a Labrador Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, or a Portuguese Water Dog, doing some type of water activities is one of the best ways for you and your dog to spend time together. Whether he is playing along the rolling waves of the ocean or fetching a stick in a shallow creek, spending time in the water with your canine buddy is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors.
Make Safety #1
When you and your dog are both paddling in the water, it is very important to think about safety as your number 1 rule. While many dogs can easily plunge into the water like a duck, some canines are a little apprehensive at first and need time to get used to the experience.
Below are 5 tips to ensure that both you and your dog can have a fun and safe time in the water.
1. Before your dog hits the water, make sure that he is healthy and in good condition. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any doubt abouts his health or fitness level.
2. When taking your dog to the water for the first time, do it slowly and go by his pace. This is especially true if he is still a puppy. Never assume that, just because hes a Labrador Retriever, that he will naturally know how to swim and will automatically tread the water safely.
3. Pick a warm, shallow body of water, one that will be easy for your first-timer to maneuver through. Take him to the edge of the water and let him explore at his own comfort levels. Do not splash him or drag him to the water before you are absolutely sure that hes ready. Give him a few minutes to get used to this new experience. Forcing your dog to go into the water before he is ready will just scare him off and lessen the chance of him trying again.
4. As he gets more curious, try taking him to the water by going in first and call him at the same time. Lure him with a treat or throw a toy into the water (making sure it is at a short distance and within his depth). Eventually, he will feel more confident about going further out, especially when he knows that you are having fun.
5. Before taking your dog to a large body of water, such as the ocean or a deep river, it would be wise to gear him up with a canine life jacket. This is particularly important if he is still new to swimming and/or if he gets too excited while playing in the water. Make sure that the life jacket fits him properly and let him get used to having it on while swimming before going deeper into the water.