Hi! I’m Kendra, owner of Doggie Mannerz Dog Training.
Congrats! if you’ve taken the plunge and welcomed a new furry friend into your home.
Many people are taking advantage of this extra time at home by fostering a dog for a shelter or have decided it’s a good time for a new puppy or dog for the family. During this pandemic you have time to spend with your new furry friend but what happens when you go back to work and you go back to the way it was and we have all the commitments outside of our homes, that takes you away from your new friend for hours at a time. Now What !? Is the new dog capable of being left alone with out getting into trouble? Are they safe?
Although being home during this time allows you the opportunity to take them outside often for potty training purposes, you might be missing the opportunity to set them up with a normal daily routine of being in their crate and developing the independence they need to succeed in life when we aren’t available 24/7.
You may, unintentionally, be creating separation anxiety, without knowing it, by allowing your dog to spend every waking moment with you. A crate is a great way of ensuring your dog is learning independence from you but also ensuring they are safe and secure while you are gone. Not only are they safe in a crate but your house is intact when you return home. While in their crate, they are also continuing to work on their potty training since no dog wants to potty where they sleep. A good rule of thumb is for every month they are in age, they should be able to go one extra hour. So a four month old pup should be able to comfortably stay for 5 hours without having to relieve them self. Size of dog will make a difference to the length of time they can stay comfortably crated. They should never be left in crate so long that they have to relieve them self in the crate. When their bladder is matured they should be able to stay in a crate while you are gone but NEVER day and night. They need their exercise. The crate is to keep them safe not cooped up. Crate training is a win-win for everyone involve. You can feel good about keeping your dog safe while you are gone and your dog is learning life skills while you are out of the house or while you are preoccupied at home.
If you haven’t started crate training your dog, it’s not too late! You want to make the crate a positive place. Never put them in their crate as a punishment. The size of the crate matters. They should be able to stand up and turn around in it. Place the crate in a place where they can see where the action is. You don’t want them to feel isolated.
To get started, you can toss in some enticing treats or a fun toy and have them go in after them, gradually throwing the treats to the back of the crate. Keep the treats small so you can use many. Once they are happy to go in and out then you can start feeding them in their crate. if they are comfortable with you closing the door you can let them rest after they have filled their belly for twenty or so minutes. You will want to build on the duration of them being in the crate by making the crate the best place to be (other than with mom or dad). You might start leaving the house for thirty minutes, then return and gradually increase your time away. Let the dog settle if excited to see you, before you let them out of the crate and take them outside to do any business. When in the crate you want to offer something very valuable that they don’t get outside of the crate, such as, a stuffed Kong or interactive toy. Chew treats should be monitored so your dog doesn’t swallow a large piece and choke. Kongs and chews are available at The Dogs Meow along with many other interactive toys and food puzzles. If you take your time and make the crate a relaxing and safe place to be, they’ll be ready to spend a few hours at a time in there once life gets back to full swing. If you have the time, give them a walk or a nice romp in the back yard to burn some energy before you crate them, toss an interactive item in their crate to keep preoccupied, and they’ll be content to rest for the next few hours till you return. If you work very long days you might hire a person or recruit a neighbor kid to come over to let your dog out or walk your dog to give them a crate break during the day. Your dog should feel as if their crate is their safe place. Good luck and if you need any help or have questions you can reach me at: