So you've rescued yourself a boxer puppy. Need some advice? Each Puppy Persuasion Post will provide advice and information on a certain topic important for you and your new fur baby. Today's topic: crate training.
Upon adopting the adorable addition to your family, it is important to purchase a crate along with other bare necessities of owning a dog. A crate provides a comfort/safe zone for your dog to recognize and is also a safety precaution for them, as well as for all the furniture, decor and other objects that look like fantastic options as chew toys. A young dog needs time to learn and it will protect them from eating the wrong things that could cause choking, impaction or other serious (and expensive) problems as well as aide with potty training.
A boxer can typically grow to be anywhere between 45 and 100 pounds so purchasing a larger crate from the get-go is perfectly fine. Be sure it is one that has the divider which can make the crate smaller for those young years. It should be big enough for your dog to turn around and be able to slightly stretch out to relax but small enough to where they won't feel the desire to soil their own den. If you provide too big of a space they are more likely to use the corner as a bathroom option.
Sometimes the idea to use the crate as punishment might come across as a viable option but if you want them to enjoy the crate and think of it as their safe spot, this should not be used for that. Associate the crate with something pleasant. Use treats, kongs with peanut butter and toys to reward them for being in there. It will take a few times but using treats every instance they go to their crate is excellent positive reinforcement. If there is still hesitation, begin providing meals in there as another form of positive association with the crate. These are a few ideas on how to help your young one get used to their dedicated space. There are plenty of websites, such as the Humane Society's, with additional information regarding this topic.
Puppies shouldn't be in crates for more than a few hours at a time but the older they get the longer can stay. Start a routine for when you're leaving so they get used to it. Treats, treats, treats! Make it comfortable with a blanket for them to lay on. Kongs filled with peanut butter or other treats are usually deemed ok to leave with them as entertainment. Be careful with what you choose to leave in the crate with your boxer puppy. Some things can easily be chewed to pieces and become a choking hazard.
Not only is crating a safety measure for while you're gone, it is also one for when you're sleeping. This will eliminate areas for accidents or any incidences that could easily be slept through. Keep the crate near you at night for their comfort. It may take a few sleepless nights but they will get used to it.
While this post focused on training a puppy, this is just as applicable to any rescued boxer that may have never been crate trained as well. If you have any other advice or some tips and tricks about crate training please leave a comment below!