PUPPY CONFINEMENT LOGIC
Puppy confinement is important for not only toilet training but it also protects your valuables from being chewed on or destroyed. It also gives the animal a space that it can call its own. Left to its own demise a puppy would use the entire home for elimination if there were not any rules or puppy confinement. That would get messy after a while.
Puppy confinement is thought of as a strategy that is only used to get the puppy toilet trained. This technique can be used throughout the dogs life to prevent damage to the home. All dogs have idiosyncrasies. Some dogs when left alone may love to chew on and destroy drywall or antique furniture. Some may be afraid to be left alone in the dark. This may be puppies just trying to grow up but may also be a symptom of separation anxiety. Most dogs outgrow that but others need medical treatment with or without the use of tricyclic antidepressants. Puppy confinement usually comes in three versions: a child’s gate across a door frame, a playpen or other open structure or a dog crate that is closed on all sides.
Most people who have had children will often have gates stashed away in the attic or garage. Using it for puppy confinement is very practical. That area becomes the puppy’s own little part of the home. If the puppy is in the early stages of potty training, put paper and bedding down for the dog to sleep on plus a sturdy water bowl that can’t be tipped.
This applies to all three methods of puppy confinement! Regardless of the method used, make it easier on the animal by employing a portable radio or a nearby television. Turn on the radio to a talk radio station. Puppies feel more secure and content with the steady drone of the human voice. It calms them and makes them more secure in their environment. Do the same thing with the television; try to find a show where there is a lot of chit chat on.
If it is a relatively small dog, people can use playpens that they used to use for their own children. These work best for small and toy breeds of dogs. A 8 week old retriever could easily jump over any such arrangement. You can also use multiple dog cages (without the lids) that are tied or fixed together to form a large room. Again, put fresh water, bedding and some of the puppy’s favorite toys in there.
Whenever I brought up the subject of crate training as a solution for puppy confinement with clients, I would usually get just two types of responses. The first is “they are fantastic and the next best thing since sliced bread”. The second is “they are the most inhumane contraptions ever invented by man”. My opinion, and after seeing positive results FOR YEARS, is that if done right it is a good thing. The key words are….”if done right”. I have seen and treated cases that have gone wrong. The wrong way is just sticking a 4 month old Labrador Retriever in a cage that barely allows it to move. Dogs become claustrophobic. I have heard of cages flipping around the home or the dog chewing and causing bleeding to its mouth and paws trying to escape. Do not do THAT.
What do you do? Don’t buy a crate that fits the dog at its present size but one that will fit it even as an adult! Put the crate in a room and cover the top of it with a blanket. What you are creating is an environment very similar to a den. Dogs feel secure UNDER things. That is why you will find dogs under beds, coffee tables and the like. Put bedding, toys and a solid watering devise that won’t tip inside the crate. Leave the door open and everything else ALONE. Eventually, the puppy will find it, sniff around and go in. It will leave and repeat the behavior numerous times. One day you will see the animal sound asleep inside! Once it is accepted, try closing the door and see what happens. Some may cry, others wont. If it cries, open the door and leave it open. Try again another day. The key thing in puppy confinement is to get the crate to be accepted as a part of its own self! The same thing happens when a cast is put on a dogs leg. They fight it initially but after 8 weeks they don’t even think about it! You take it off and they wonder where did it go!
Lots of puppies love to play but like little children they get tired and want to be by themselves. Many times you will find the animal in the crate even when you are at home. The puppy just needs a little “down” time to get energized again. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.