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~Crate Training Suggestions~
By: Debbie Baird, Dynasty Samoyeds

Crate Training-The Positive Way

A crate can be your most valuable asset IF you remember one important thing, A CRATE SHOULD NEVER, NEVER BE MISUSED, ASSOCIATED WITH PUNISHMENT OR NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES!!! With proper, positive and motivational crate training your puppy will soon view his or her crate as "THEIR" den, quiet place to rest away from household noises, and secure place to be. Crates also aid the owner in housebreaking and provide the dog with a safe place to be when traveling. Remember, a crate is not a full time babysitter to be abused!!! A crate is not nor should ever be a "jail" cell. 

Note: NEVER LET A DOG RIDE IN THE BACK OF A PICK UP TRUCK UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES…NOT EVEN IN A CRATE! Your dog is most safe riding in his or her crate inside your vehicle preferably strapped down. NEVER leave a dog unattended in a vehicle as they can die very quickly, within minutes, from the heat. They can also be stolen in seconds. Leave your dog at home, crated, if you will need to leave him or her unattended in a vehicle, even for "just a few minutes". 

There are several varieties of crates on the market including those constructed of wire, hard molded plastic, metal and wood. (Click on the Crates button to your left to view the types of crates). What is comfortable for your dog, your home surroundings, and you is what you should buy. I personally use the Kennel-Aire wire crates, #138 or #152. In addition, I will use on occasion the hard molded plastic types such as the Pet Porter or Vari Kennel. Purchase a crate large enough for when your puppy is full-grown.

Generally, with most Samoyed dogs, you will not be purchasing a crate smaller than a model 400-500 in the hard molded plastic type or than the wire crate models listed above. Most of my dogs prefer the wire crates due to the greater ventilation provided and they can see what is going on around them (visibility). In certain situations they may prefer to be in the hard molded plastic types for security reasons. Some owners have reported that the hard plastic molded crates have been safer in vehicle accidents. 
Discuss crates with your breeder, and always purchase your puppy's crate PRIOR to going to pick them up
It is never a good idea to leave toys, blankets or food in your dog's crate while "unattended". Most, not all, Sammies will chew on these items and could choke! You can choose to leave a hanging bucket filled no more than half way with water in your dog's crate, if desired. I do not suggest doing this until they are completely potty trained for obvious reasons.
While there are several ways to successfully crate train your puppy or older dog, I will share what has worked successfully for me. Having purchased your puppy's crate prior to picking him or her up from your breeder, always start off setting up the crate in a room where the family spends the most time. Hopefully, this will also be where the puppy will spend the most time not crated, WITH THE FAMILY. Although eventually, once trained, you may want to move your dog's crate in a quiet place of your home. Whatever works for you, your dog and family in the long run.) I will leave the crate door opened to let them just discover for the first day or two while they are adjusting to their new surroundings, family, etc. After that time, and under supervision, I will put all the puppies' toys in the crate, along with feeding him or her in the crate. They will soon learn that everything fun and good is in the crate. I have the most luck making my first attempts at crate training during periods when my puppy is most tired. Place the puppy in the crate while saying the command "CRATE" (you can use "KENNEL", but always use the same word) or instead of placing you can lead the puppy to the crate with a treat and giving the one word command. I suggest you do not use the command with the dog's name in case a bad experience occurs. He or she may from that point forward associate his or her name with the negative experience. Immediately after saying CRATE and the puppy entering the crate in a very excited and positive tone of voice tell them "Good Boy or Good Girl" and give them a treat. Praise is more in the tone of voice than in the words themselves. Praise, Praise, Praise in whatever you are teaching your new puppy, but always at the time they do what you are trying to teach them. Do not ever physically hit your dog, even with a newspaper. In most cases, you just ignore inappropriate behavior and PRAISE the good ones! Once the puppy is in the crate, close the door while praising. Start out leaving them in there for 30 seconds to a minute or so. Open the door and praise (some will treat again but watch putting extra weight on puppies and dogs). If your puppy whines to get out while the door is shut, always wait for that split second when they do not and immediately let them out while they are not whining. At this point, it is all in the timing, consistency, praise and patience. If you feel you will lose your patience, wait until another time to try with the training. You can do these exercises as many times as you feel you can in a day or night. Suggest for the first couple of days training no more than 3-6 times (this depends on your puppy, dog and you - varies). Then steadily increase the duration to say 3, 5, 10, 15 minutes, etc. When the puppy is not being crate trained leave the crate door open, toys in and always feed in the crate. Some owners either automatically, must for work or house training reasons crate their puppy from day one during the night or day. Everyone is different and has different schedules. Another thing that helps with crate training or adjustment periods is to have the breeder send something home with you such as a toy or blanket that has the scent of the puppy's Dam, litter mates and first home on it. Keep that also in the crate while training. Do not leave the toys, blankets, etc. in your puppy's crate while unattended to prevent them from choking. Puppies will chew especially during teething periods, 3-6 months old. For teething try wetting a wash cloth with water and freezing it for them to chew on. Just keep in mind that this also could be sending a signal to your puppy that it is okay to chew on a wash cloth or towel at a later time.
Each puppy or dog is individual and will have their individual issues to deal with. Consult with your breeder or veterinarian depending on what the issues are.

Click on the Crate Training Links button, above-left, to read other helpful suggestions on crate training your puppy the positive way.



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