Crate & Dog – The First Meeting… So just how do you go about making sure that you do things right and properly crate train your pup? First, a few basic rules on proper crate usage are in order. After all, if you aren’t going to do it right you would be better off not doing it at all… Make the crate a fun safe quiet positive place for your dog to hang out in, eat meals in or take a nap in. Nobody likes a place where bad things happen. Understand that there are limits to the amount of time that you can crate a dog, based in large part on how long they are able to hold their urine. This can vary by age and by individual dog. Just because you crate a dog for 12 hours doesn’t mean they can hold it for 12 hours – they WILL go and having that happen is very bad for your dog. Make sure that you don’t use the crate for long term ‘storage’. It’s fine to use it when you can’t keep an eye on your puppy or dog, but actively training and socializing your dog is always necessary. Out of sight – out of mind should never apply to a pet. If you don’t want to be involved, don’t get a dog. Crates are a great way to confine your puppy or dog when you aren’t home but providing breaks from the crate for play, socialization and/or elimination, is paramount. Crating for excessive lengths of time without breaks will cause issues. Issues that you definitely do not want. If your dog whines, barks or acts up in the crate, IGNORE HIM. Never let your dog out of the crate unless he is calm and quiet. The ½ second pause between barks does not count as calm and quiet no matter how much you would like it to. Don’t allow your dog to rush out of the crate hell bent for leather. Make him sit, behave and slowly exit the crate. Manners matter people! When you come home after having left your dog in his crate, he will be understandably excited. Take your time, put your things down and wait a minute before rushing to let your dog out. If you reward the fact that he is barking and carrying on and throwing himself against the crate door, you will be well on your way to creating a little monster dog. When placed in a crate at night the first few times, your dog may complain LOUDLY. Do not open the crate, do not let the dog out of the crate. If your goal is to have a good night’s sleep sometime in the next century, letting a whining barking dog out of the crate thereby rewarding him for whining and barking is not going to create the quiet crate-able dog you would like. While these tips are not all inclusive, you get the general idea. Now, just how do you go about this crate training business? Stay tuned… Do you have any tips for making crate training easy? Leave your answer in the comment section below.