By about five weeks of age, most puppies are beginning to wander away from their mom and siblings to relieve themselves.
Puppies like to curl up in small, close places. That’s why you will often find them sleeping under a coffee table or under a chair.
Because your Golden puppy has an instinct to keep his bed clean, being confined in a crate will help him develop bowel and bladder control. When he is gradually confined for extended periods of time, he will hold his wastes to prevent messing in his bed. It is your responsibility, though, to make sure he is never left for too long.
You can use this instinct to keep their bed clean and housetrain your puppy with the help of a crate. A crate is a plastic or wire travel cage that you can use as your Golden puppy’s bed. Many new Golden owners hate the thought of putting their puppy in a cage. They often equate the idea to putting their children in jail. A puppy is not a child, however, and has different needs and instincts. Having your puppy close at night will also save you some energy. If he needs to go outside, you will hear him and can let him out before he has an accident. If he is restless or bored, you can tap the top of his crate and tell him to be quiet.
Introducing the Crate
Introduce your puppy to the crate by propping the door open and tossing a treat inside. As you do this, tell your puppy, “Go to bed!” and let him go in to get the treat. Let him investigate the crate and go in and out freely. When your puppy will go in after the treat and has sniffed the crate thoroughly, offer a meal in the crate with the door propped open. The next meal can be offered in the crate, but this time, close the door behind him and let him out as soon as he has finished eating. Offer several meals in the same way. This is to show your puppy that the crate is a good place.
After your puppy is calmly eating in the crate, start feeding his meals back in the normal location and go back to offering him a treat or toy for going into the crate. Continue teaching him the phrase, “Go to bed.” Don’t let your puppy out of the crate if he starts crying, screaming, barking, or scratching at the door. Correct him verbally by saying, “No! Quiet!” or simply close the door and walk away. If you let him out when he is throwing a doggy tantrum, you will just teach him that this behavior works. Instead let him out when you are ready to let him out and when he is quiet.
The ideal place for the crate is in your bedroom within an arm’s reach of the bed. This will give him eight uninterrupted hours with you while you do nothing but sleep. Having your puppy nearby will also give your puppy a feeling of security. If you send him to the backyard or garage, he will be more likely to cry, whine, howl, pace, or get into trouble because of loneliness and fear.
Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book. This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.