A Guide for Raising Your Puppy
By: Midwest Homes for Pets

Step 1: Acquaint your puppy with his new home

Simply start from early puppy-hood and have your puppy sleep and rest in his home. Almost without trying he will train himself to seek security and comfort inside his little “dog room”.

Encourage your puppy to go into his home on his own. If necessary, toss a little treat in the home. DON’T FORCE HIM! He may quickly back out or be shy, but that’s normal. Just take it slowly. At first, don’t close the door on him, let him go in and out on his own.

Once he is happy and unafraid of his new home, simply restrain him at the door with your hand. Make his stay in the home for a few minutes, then gradually increase the time and be sure to praise him!

Once he is comfortable with this, (probably a few hours or days of short training sessions) simply restrain him at the door with the door – again praising him lavishly. Soon he will be secure in his home with the door closed. Slowly you can get further and further away from him, always praising his accepting behavior. Eventually, the pup will sit quietly and sleep in his home with the door closed.

Step 2: Direct his elimination

Understand that little puppies need to “go” about every 2-4 hours. On a schedule, (such as after feeding, before bedtime, first thing in the morning) let your puppy out, teach him the route to the door, praise him at the door and take him out to the part of the yard you want him to use. Very quickly, you are teaching him an elimination schedule that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

As your puppy gets older (4-6 months) you can gradually leave him in his home for longer periods of time because he can “hold it” longer.

Some of the DO’s and DON’Ts of crate training

DO—get your puppy used to his new home gradually. Plan on taking plenty of quality time with him the first few days to get his accustomed to his new surroundings.

DO—supervise your puppy anytime he is free in your home. Supervision is what allows you to direct behavior. Chewing, elimination, barking and all other behaviors are all dependent on your direction. If allowed to be unsupervised, he will begin to direct his own behavior and schedule.

DO—provide soft, washable bedding in the home so that it is comfortable and warm. Make the inside of the home as cozy as you can. Keep it clean and free of fleas.

DON’T—put “housebreaking pads” or newspaper in your pet’s home. We are trying to take advantage of the puppy’s natural instinct NOT to go in his home.

DON’T—leave your very young puppy in his home all day. By 5-6 months a puppy should be able to “hold it” for an 8 hour day.

DON’T—let your new puppy roam through your house unsupervised. Keep an eye on his so that when he sniffs and circles (an indication he is about to go) you can quickly and gently guide him to the door and outside.

DON’T—punish your puppy by putting or forcing him into his home. Your puppy’s home should not be associated with punishment or anything negative.