Crate Training a Puppy

Crate Training a Puppy

Along with the promise of 12 years of solid companionship, picking up a new puppy guarantees something else - work. Work on your part, his part, and anyone in your family who will share the responsibility of your new four-legger. This goes for all dogs, or should anyway, but is tantamount to creating a good bird dog.

Developing the hunting skills in a well-bred pup can be pleasantly easy, but the basic- and advanced-obedience is the foundation on which the rest of the dog is truly built.

When training your puppy to 'kennel' properly, you should start with food.

That starts with simple commands like sit and stay, both of which are pretty easy to understand. It seems that the first directive that most pup owners run into trouble with is 'kennel'. The "kennel' command tends to signal that the fun is over for the puppy and thus, they rebel. It's simple, but without a proper plan to make sure your pup doesn't get the best of you, this command can be a pain in the neck.


Lead Him By The Stomach


Dog-training expert and owner of Oak Ridge Kennels, Tom Dokken, knows plenty about what to do to get a puppy to understand commands and his answer for how to effectively and quickly crate-train a puppy was pretty straightforward, "The kennel should be a positive place, not a negative place. So I don't like to use the kennel as a form of punishment because he'll quickly associate it with negativity. Instead, I like to feed the dog in his kennel. For most sporting dogs, where they get to eat is where they'll be happy, so this is a good start.


"I also like to grab up a handful of kibble and let the puppy smell it in my closed fist. Then I'll simply lead him into the kennel while saying, 'kennel, kennel, kennel.' As soon as he walks into the kennel, I'll release the kibble as a reward. After doing both of these food tricks, he'll start to understand the command and view his kennel as something more positive."

With proper crate training it won't take long to produce a positive association between the kennel and your pup.

While feeding in the crate is a good idea, watering is not. Dokken doesn't like the mess it can create, and he tends to limit the water intake in the evenings for small-bladdered puppies.


 Crate-Size & Potty Training

Dokken went on to explain a few advanced lessons in crate training a puppy that all potential puppy owners should understand. "One big thing I see a lot of people do with their kennels is that they go too big. It's cost effective to buy a full-sized kennel, but that's too big for a puppy. I like to build a simple partition in that case to keep the pup confined to a smaller area. This helps with potty training a lot, because he doesn't want to go to the bathroom where he has to sleep."

Crate training a puppy needs to start with the proper sized crate. If your kennel is too big, consider making a simple plywood partition to cut down on the overall space.


Dokken then went on to say that as soon as you open the crate to let the puppy out, you put him outside and encourage him to do his business. Also, any time you're home with the puppy and he is in the crate, pay attention to his body language. If he signals he needs to go outside, let him outside but beware - a smart puppy will cry to get out of the crate and then not go to the bathroom.

They learn to be tricky early on, a lesson I learned when crate training a golden retriever I owned years ago. She'd whine like she had to pee and since we were also potty training her, I'd always have a treat ready to go for her if she was successful. It turns out she figured that if she whined to get out and then squatted like she was going to pee, she'd get a treat. It was a good con while it lasted for her.

While working through this stage of potty training and crate training a puppy, it's also a good idea to keep the crate close to your bed while you sleep. That way you can hear what the puppy is doing and if they suddenly get real active at night you know it's time to go outside (or it could very easily be too late). This also allows you to more easily get the dog on your schedule, which will require a middle-of-the-night alarm for the first couple of weeks to let the dog out.

Recommended for You

This hardcore gear is perfect for hardcore moms on their special day! Other

2019 Mother's Day Gift Guide

Kali Parmley

This hardcore gear is perfect for hardcore moms on their special day!

These 8 products are the best of the best for getting your pup into hunting shape. Training

Best Gun Dog Training Tools of 2019

Tyler Shoberg - July 03, 2019

These 8 products are the best of the best for getting your pup into hunting shape.

Labrador retrievers dominate market share when it comes to what hunters choose for the field and the duck blind - and for good reason. Profiles

Why the Labrador Is the World's Most Popular Bird Dog

Tony J. Peterson

Labrador retrievers dominate market share when it comes to what hunters choose for the field...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

David Hart gives you the rundown on the best left-handed shotguns available right now. Shotguns & Ammo

9 Great Left-Handed Shotguns

David Hart - May 24, 2014

David Hart gives you the rundown on the best left-handed shotguns available right now.

          A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog     By Bob West    The author Puppies

Your Pup's First Year

Bob West - September 23, 2010

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog By Bob West The...

Profiles

Gun Dog Breeds: Standard Poodle

James Spencer

"Poodles hunt? You gotta be kiddin' me!"

See More Stories

More Training

Shooting birds your dog doesn't point, or that he bumps, won't ruin him. Training

Should You Shoot Non-Pointed Birds?

Dave Carty

Shooting birds your dog doesn't point, or that he bumps, won't ruin him.

If you ask the right questions of your young bird dog, you'll be surprised at how many answers he knows. Training

Train Your Puppy to Maximize Hunting Potential

Tony J. Peterson

If you ask the right questions of your young bird dog, you'll be surprised at how many answers...

Learn how to get your gun dog settled into a new environment. Training

Bella...Be Good: Episode 2

Jeremy Moore

Learn how to get your gun dog settled into a new environment.

See More Training

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.