As a puppy there’s quite a lot coming your way. For example, you have to learn to be alone. Benchtraining can help you with that. We'll be happy to give you tips and tricks on how to teach your puppy to be alone!
A crate (or room kennel) can help you teach your puppy to be alone. It should be a safe and familiar place where your dog can rest, away from all the hustle and bustle, without endangering him or the outside world, just like you use a playpen with babies. An additional advantage is that you can take his 'room' with you on vacation or when you go somewhere to visit. A crate is a collapsible or foldable residence for dogs made of wire steel, plastic or nylon. But how do you make sure your dog appreciates it?
See it as using a playpen for babies!
Benches offer you a safe way to transport your dog or to 'stall' him if you can't keep an eye on him. Don't use the bench out of convenience: the kennel is not meant to store your dog for hours! It's supposed to be a safe and quiet place for the dog where he can rest, for example when there are visitors. Never send your dog to his crate for punishment and teach him to stay in the kennel step by step. We give you four tips for good benchtraining!
1. Big enough
A crate should be so big that the dog can stand in it and lie completely stretched out on his side. If a dog doesn't like to be in it, it can be that it is too small and causes pain to the dog's body! You can hang a sheet or blanket over the kennel to create the idea of a nice 'den'. A comfortable rug should be placed in the crate. Make sure your dog does not have a collar on so that he can get stuck unexpectedly (on the clasp, for example) and that there are no objects on or near the crate that he can pull in.
2. Pleasant spot
Being in your bench is something you have to learn. If your dog comes from a breeder who has already put some training time in it during the nesting period, you definitely have an advantage. Before you can close the door, your dog needs to know that the crate is a pleasant place to be. This can be done by giving him his food, a nice bone or a feeding toy filled with treats when he's in the kennel. The door remains open. Put a puppy in it when he's tired so he will fall asleep quickly. Put some treats in the back of the kennel and let him get in on his own. Get your pup out of the crate before he wakes up himself.
3. 'To bed!'
To make the crate fun, you can do a game. Show your dog that you put something really nice in his crate. Hold him for a moment, so he can't reach the treats yet. Does he see the treat, and does he really want to go there? Then let him go: 'Go to bed! After eating the sweets, your dog can just come out of the crate again. This way you can send your dog 'to bed' over an increasing distance, and even from another room. If necessary, call in a helper, where one holds the dog and the other lays down some treats. Only when your dog goes in the crate and stays there without any problems, you can close the door and leave him alone (for a while).
4. ...and out again
Learning to be in the crate is an art, but so is getting out of it! Is your dog so excited that he jumps back and forth and pushes his nose against the door of the crate? Close the door quietly and open it again after a few seconds. Is the dog still too excited? Close the door again, wait a few seconds (just hold the door) and open the door again. You don't have to say anything at all. Just quietly repeat your actions, until the dog shows the behavior you want to see. Let your dog think. He will soon realize that the calmer he is, the faster the door opens!
Finally: please do not disturb.
Is the dog sleeping in his crate? Don't disturb him! The crate is his domain and it is important that everyone in the house respects that. Do you want more tips and information about raising and caring for your puppy? Read it here!
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