Training Your Puppy The Right Way: Why Using The Crate Is The Safest Thing For Your New Puppy

Tom lives in a gated community of six houses. The woman who lives in the house next door to Tom just got a new Border Collie puppy. Tom immediately gave her a print-out of my dog training book.

She read the book. Especially the part about using a crate to confine your puppy when you’re not home. (This is the same way you’d confine a baby to a crib or a play pen when you can’t keep 100% of your attention on your baby). It prevents your puppy from learning bad habits, and it also gives your pup a sense on security and well-being, as it brings out their natural den instinct.

Now, I make it pretty clear in my book that the crates I recommend are the kind you can buy at any pet store. They are made of a plastic shell and have a locking wire mesh-gate door at the front, and wire windows on the side. (You can ask any pet store for the “airline approved” crates).

Anyway– Tom’s neighbor thought she’d get creative. Since it was only a 10 week-old puppy, she put the pup in a tupperwear box in front of her house during the day. (Yes, she left the top off, of course). But this was in lieu of buying the crate I recommended with the locking door… so that her pup would actually be confined.

The problem was that: The puppy wasn’t confined.

It didn’t take a genius dog (or even a puppy) more than half a day to figure out how to jump out of the box.

Then it was off to puppy adventures…

The puppy learned how to chew plants.

The puppy learned how to urinate and defecate in unapproved areas.

And the puppy learned how to run into the street and play with strange, stray dogs and other animals.

Fortunately–by the second day–Tom’s groundskeeper became aware of the pup, and started keeping the pup with him during the day. When the pup started to chew on plants, the groundskeeper would tell the pup, No! and then take him away. When the puppy started to sniff around and look for a place to defecate, he’d take the pup to the approved area.

And then praise the pup, after doing the desired behavior. (Hey–some people are just naturals!)

And when he couldn’t watch the pup, he locked the pup in the guard shack, which has a concrete floor, is shaded and well-ventilated. This functioned as a make-shift crate, because there was nothing in the guard shack that the dog could chew on, and no way to get out. (Also, the walls were concrete, so the pup didn’t have any floor molding or dry-wall to learn how to chew.

So, that evening–after talking with the groundskeeper– Tom had a talk with his neighbor and explained why it’s so important to follow the instructions in my book and not try to get “creative” with the process of raising her pup. (Like I said–some people get it naturally, and some people don’t).

And when it comes to raising a puppy, the idiom: “Do It Right, The First Time” is always worth it’s weight in gold.