No, crate training is not cruel or unusual! In fact, dogs like crates since they mimic the close quarters of a wolf’s den. It is what the pros do. Crating your dog several times a day is an excellent way to housebreak him because dogs will try not to soil their “home.” Here are six steps to giving your puppy a much needed room of his own.

  • Line the crate with blankets to make it cozy. You can also cover the top of it with a blanket or purchase specially made crate covers and mat sets to further mimic the “den” atmosphere.
  • Use the crate for naps, nighttime slumber, and quiet-time breaks for the puppy to “unwind” from family chaos.
  • Buy a well-ventilated crate, one large enough for him to stand up, lie down, and turn around. If the pup has a lot of growing ahead of him, use a larger crate, but section off half of it with a divider.
  • Every time you take the puppy out of the crate, take him for a walk so he can eliminate.
  • Never leave a puppy in his crate all day; he needs several bathroom breaks and play and feeding times. Even though he won’t want to soil his sleeping area, if he is in there for extremely long stretches, he just might. (He can’t help it.) And if he does, it is because his owner has neglected his responsibility, not because the dog has misbehaved.
  • Never use the crate as punishment. It should always be a haven for your pup, not a jail cell 

Still having trouble? The AKC offers one-on-one guidance through its GoodDog! Helpline.

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