How To Use It:
Place the crate in a “People” area – the kitchen, if possible, in a spot free from drafts and not near a direct hear source. For bedding, use an old towel or piece of blanket which can be washed (should he have an accident) and some freshly worn unlaundered article of your clothing such as a tee shirt, old shirt, sweater etc. Avoid putting a newspaper in or under the crate, since its odor may encourage elimination; corrugated cardboard is better if there is no floor pan. A puppy need not be fed in the crate and will only upset a dish of water.
Make it very clear to children that the crate is NOT a playhouse for them, but a “special room” for the puppy, whose rights should be recognized and respected. However, you should accustom the puppy from the start, to letting you reach into the crate at any time, lest he become overprotective of it.
Establish a “crate routine” immediately, closing the puppy in at regular 1 – 2 hour intervals during the day (his own chosen nap times will guide you), whenever he must be left along for 3-4 hours, and during any short period when he can’t be closely supervised by a responsible person. BE SURE TO REMOVE COLLAR WITH TAGS, WHICH COULD BECOME CAUGHT IN AN OPENING. At night, in the beginning, you may prefer to place the crate, with the door left open and newspapers nearby, in a small-enclosed area such as a bathroom, laundry room, or hall; crying/complaining at 5:00 AM is easier to endure/ignore if you know that the puppy is not uncomfortable. Once adjusted to his new life, and if he has no intestinal upset, he will soon show greater bowel control by eliminating only once, or not at all, and then may be crated all night in his regular place.
Even if things do not go too smoothly at first – DON’T WEAKEN and DON’T WORRY; be consistent, be firm, and be very aware that you are doing your pet a real favor by preventing him from getting into trouble while left alone or not being properly supervised. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Increase the space inside the crate as the puppy grows so that he remains comfortable. If you do not choose, or are not able, to use a crate permanently, plan to use it for at least 5-6 months or until the dog is well past the teething phase – then start leaving the crate door open at night, when someone is at home during the day, or when he is briefly left alone. If all goes well for a week or two, and the dog seems reliable when left alone, remove the crate itself and leave the bedding in the same spot; although he will probably miss the crate enclosure, that spot will have become “his own place” and his habit of good behavior should continue. Should any problem behavior occur at a future time, however, the decision whether or not to crate longer, or perhaps permanently, will have been made for you!
Even after a long period without a crate, a dog which has been raised in one will readily accept it again should the need arise for travel, illness, behavior etc. and may really welcome its return.