Mon, July 22

How to crate train that new puppy

When you work in an animal shelter it is so hard to comprehend why someone wouldn't look for their animal. How can a person just consider their animal gone and leave it at that?

If you've been in the Verde Valley Humane Society lately you know that we are at max capacity with puppies. The latest additions were brought in on Friday.

Nine puppies no older than seven weeks, abandoned to fend for themselves. A very nice young couple found them and brought them into the shelter. I'm so glad that they didn't have to spend another day and night roaming the streets.

The little pups are safe now. They will be vaccinated against parvo/distemper and also against kennel cough. They will also have clean warm blankets and fresh food and water. Not only that they each received attention from all of us and the people that come in.

Puppies are precious but please don't come in and adopt if you aren't ready to make a total commitment to the animal. It's very hard on a puppy when it is brought back for being a puppy.

Many of you come in and say you don't want a puppy due to the fact that they are a huge commitment. Yes they are, they are like a small child. What they learn comes from you, the adoptive parent. If you don't have the time and the willingness to tackle the project, then a puppy isn't for you. We have plenty of older dogs that won't require as much care.

Often we have people that come into VVHS insisting that they want to adopt a puppy. We can normally tell when it isn't the best idea. So many times we are right and the poor little puppy comes back for being a puppy.

If you really want to adopt a puppy you have to be willing to go through the trials and tribulations of having an infant. Think this decision through and don't act on impulse. It could be one of the worst mistakes you could make. For the puppy that is.

I've been ask "Is the puppy going to cry?" Yes you can expect the puppy to cry, you can expect accidents in your home and you can expect that something of value may be chewed up. That's what a puppy does. Are you ready for all that?

It's up to you to teach the pup the proper behavior; he won't know it on his own. You must also be willing to be consistent, firm and very patient.

Unfortunately, at times people choose methods that are almost inhumane to try to correct issues that their animal has acquired. One of the most effective methods that has been said to correct behavior issues is to crate train the animal.

When used correctly, the purpose of the crate is to provide a secure short-term confinement area for safety, housebreaking and the protection of household goods. This is a highly recommended method of teaching a new puppy the "house rules."

It is said that veterinarians and profession dog handlers have accepted, trusted and routinely used dog crates since their inception.

For many pet owners, the first reaction is "It's like living in jail, it's cruel. I'd never put my dog in a cage." At times there is no other choice when negative behavior becomes an issue.

Using a crate can help eliminate the stress that owners feel when a pet displays undesirable behavior. Your best friend will also feel much better when he doesn't receive the much-dreaded scolding that usually happens when you arrive home.

Just remember, not many parents would even consider raising a child without a playpen or crib to sleep in. Animals, just like children need our guidance and protection.

All animals need a place to feel secure. If your canine friend could talk, he would probably say, "I love having a place of my own. I have my blanket, my favorite toys, nobody bothers me in there and it's all mine." To you, it's a cage. To him, it's a home.

If crate trained, your pet can be spared the isolation of being in the basement, garage or the backyard. Use a crate, but don't abuse the crate.

When purchasing a crate, it's very important that you choose the correct size. There should be room for the dog to turn around and stretch out on his side. He should also be able to sit up without hitting his head. Just as important, if the crate is too large, your best friend may use the empty space for his "accidents."

When you begin the training process, don't force your animal into the crate and fasten the door. It takes time to properly crate train your dog. Take your time, don't make him feel as if this is a form of punishment.

At first, toss in a tidbit of his favorite food or treat and leave the door open. Throw his favorite toy or ball, let him see that he can get it and come back out freely.

One of your unlaundered shirts will also provide a sense of security. When the training first begins, he should always feel free to leave the crate at his own will.

After your dog is comfortable with the going in and out of the crate at his will, start closing the door for five or 10 minutes at a time. Gradually increase the time by five to 10 minutes more per day. Stay close by so the dog won't be frightened.

When you have gone through this process and are comfortable with the results, it's time to leave your friend home alone.

Make your absence no more than a half hour with the maximum being no longer than an hour. Reassure him that you will be back soon and then do as you promised.

If you plan to crate your animal for longer periods of time, it is important that you have a friend or neighbor go over and let him out periodically.

Don't think that the crate is an automatic babysitter for your pet and should never be used as a punishment tool. At my house, my dogs love their crates especially during the holidays when the house is so crowded with people.

There may be setbacks, but don't give up. The keys are consistency and perseverance. With patience, the likelihood of the dog adjusting is very high.