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Live The Life

Tips for a happy, healthy, gorgeous little dog.

Training: Home Sweet Home

Monday, November 15, 2010
Training: Home Sweet Home
Make your companion feel comfortable and at home.

Creating a relaxing environment is just one way you've shown your special friend how much you adore him or her. Although you've done everything you can to make your home a comfortable haven for your dog, creating a space to call his or her own will take comfort to a whole new dimension – and a dog crate can do just that! Consider it like a bedroom for your dog. Just like you have a room you can relax in, a dog crate is a place your pooch can curl up in and catch up on a little rest and relaxation. By lining it with a soft blanket and a few favorite chew toys, you've created the perfect doggie oasis.

When you introduce your dog to the crate, it should be encouraging and fun. There are a few "don’t’s" to keep in mind when using a crate. First of all, don't use it as a way to discipline your four-legged friend – keep it positive. And don't neglect your special friend by leaving him or her in the crate for too long. You need to reinforce the crate as a safe haven for your dog, not a place for it to howl and whine from. When you bring your puppy home for the first time, begin crate training right way. If the introduction to the crate is positive and familiar, it won't take long for your dog to "take to the crate." Start by placing some treats inside the crate, along with your puppy's toys and a blanket or pillow. Make it cozy and inviting inside. Then encourage your companion to go in. Once your dog makes his or her way inside, gently close the door and continue to show reinforcement with a warm and loving tone.

If your "baby" begins to whine or bark, don't worry. Like anyone, it usually takes some time to adjust to an unfamiliar place. Whatever you do, don't fall prey to your puppy's cry. You need to be firm and not reward your friend for bad behavior. Once your dog has settled down and had some time to get used to the crate, then you can open the crate door to let your precious pooch out. If you do this correctly, your dog will definitely go back for more!

Your guide to crate training

Ready to crate train your special friend? Follow these six simple steps to surprise your dog with its own place!

Step 1: Generally speaking, crates are for sleeping and they serve as a safe haven for your dog, when you are out of the house. When selecting a crate, make sure that it is big enough for an adult dog. Your companion should be able to comfortably stand up, lie down and turn his or her body around inside the crate.

Step 2: Give the crate a positive name like "your house" and place a doggie treat inside. Then encourage your special friend to enter the crate. Once your dog is inside, close the door.

Step 3: Crates should never be used for long periods of time.

Step 4: If you are going out for a few hours, it's particularly important to take your dog outside to "do its business" before he or she spends time alone in the crate.

Step 5: Keep kids away from your dog's crate.

Step 6: Since some dog breeds are highly sensitive to cold and heat, pick an area that will be comfortable for your friend.

Secure. Comfortable. Relaxing. Dog crates are a wonderful alternative to your cuddles. And, if you take the time to crate train your dog properly, your companion will adapt to his or her new sanctuary in just about no time.

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