How exciting, you’re getting a new puppy! You will definitely need a crate for him/her. Not only do they double as transport in the car, they're a great way to show your puppy their safe space. You don’t necessarily have to use the crate to ‘crate train’ your puppy, (that’s an article for another day) I mean, you wouldn’t have a guest come to your house to stay for a few nights and just say ‘you’re welcome everywhere!’ – they need their own place to sleep and have some private time. So does your puppy.
A CRATE IS A BEDROOM, NOT A CAGE
Firstly, a crate is a bedroom, not a cage. This is not ‘puppy jail’ and you aren’t locking him away for hours. You are not cruel. Think of this as a safe place your puppy can go to sleep or rest when he’s had enough. The door can always remain open if you choose to and your puppy will thank you for the time out.
OLD TOWELS ARE KING
Once you have your crate set up, line the base with puppy pads and then lay some (old) towels over the top so the pads aren’t visible. The reason that you put the pads under the towels is because if puppy has an accident in the night, you will be able to lift up the towel and see the stain on the pad. I know it’s tempting to put a cute fluffy bed in there, but for the first few weeks it’s important that he gets used to this first. You don’t put the pads on top of the towels because puppy can chew at these and they can make him/ her sick.
CHOOSE TOYS CAREFULLY
You should always supervise your puppy with their toys until you understand how they play with them. Is your puppy a destroyer? Do they rip everything apart in 2 seconds flat? Or are they more of a comfort chewer? This matters because you don’t want to leave a toy with a destroyer who might ingest some or all of the toy while you’re gone!
Expect that puppy will poop in there, and everything you leave in the crate will be covered in it, so choose your furnishings, toys and blankets carefully. Have you ever tried to wash poop out of a teddy bear? I thought not!
COVER TO MAKE IT LIKE A DEN
Cover the back, top and sides of the crate with a dark coloured blanket to create a den environment. Put puppy’s food bowls at the back of the crate so they get used to being inside. This will teach them ‘this is where I eat, so this place is mine’. Dogs are den animals, so they enjoy the darkness and cosiness this will provide.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Choose the location of your crate wisely because you don’t want to move this around. The best place to put a crate is generally where the humans of the house spend the most time as puppy just wants to be with you!