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So, you're bringing home a Pomeranian puppy to join your family. Whether you went to a breeder, adopted one from your local shelter, or someone gifted you with him, congratulations on your new puppy! Contrary to what many people believe and what you might have heard, most dogs come to love their crates and see them in the same way they would their den in the wild. That is, as a safe place, one they can sleep in, raise a family in, and get away from predators in.
In your home, your pup should come to see his "den" as a safe place where he can get away from noisy guests, overly playful children, dinner time in the home, or to simply go lay down and take an undisturbed nap. In the meantime, using a crate can protect your carpet and furniture from your pup until he is potty trained and no longer feels the need to turn your furniture into toothpicks.
While many use a crate for nothing more than potty training, those that choose to do so are robbing themselves, their Pom, and their crate of an opportunity to be far more. If you train your pup to see the crate as his den, he will continue to use it throughout his life, even when you don't need him to. Remember that while you may be crate training your pup in the early days to protect your home when you aren't there, by the time your pup is an adult, he will see it as his protection from the world.
Training him to see the crate as his den is not a hard task, but one that simply may take a few weeks for your pup to be fully ready to comply with. At no point should you ever use his crate as a form of punishment or a jail. You want your dog to associate his crate with good things or he may resist going in it no matter how hard you try to train him.
The most important part of crate training your Pom or any other dog is to make sure you are using the right size crate. He needs one that is big enough for him to stand up in, turn around in, and stretch out in, and generally move around in. If you plan to buy just one crate that is big enough for when he is an adult, you should use a divider or partition to make the crate smaller at first. This will make it far less likely your pup will use his "den" as a bathroom.
Beyond this, there are few things you need to turn the crate into a comfortable den your pup is going to love. These include a mat or piece of carpet cut to fit the floor of the crate (this is much easier on his paws), a comfy bed to nap on, a few toys to chew on, and if you are going to be gone for extended periods of time a water bottle. Oh, and you are going to need a large supply of his favorite treats.
The No Place Like Home Method
Create a groovy den
Your pup needs a truly groovy den, so why not give him one. Set the crate up in an area where the family spends a lot of time. Carpet it, add one bed, several toys, cover the outside with a blanket, and voila, one cozy den. Be sure to leave the door open.
Toss a nice stinky treat inside the crate and leave your pup to explore it on his own. Let him enter and exit it at his own discretion for a few days. This gives him time to get used to it. Each time you see him go into the crate for the treat, praise him.
The next time your pup goes into the crate for his treat, gently close the door behind him. Keep the door closed for about one minute and then open it so he can get out. When he comes out, praise him again.
The reason for doing things this way is to reduce the risk of your dog barking and squalling loud enough to wake the dead. Slowly start extending the time your pup spends in the crate with the door closed.
If he does fuss
If your pup does fuss, let him. Do not let him out of the crate as your pup will see this as being rewarded for making a fuss.
Try going away for a no more than two hours at first. This will help train his bladder to adapt to a new routine in which he must not make a mess in his crate. Once your pup reaches adulthood, he should be able to stay in for longer periods of time.
The Safe Place Method
Set it all up
Start by creating a comfortable den for your pup complete with wall-to-wall carpeting, a cozy bed, a blanket, and of course some of his favorite toys. Place it in the living room or other room where he can be part of the family.
Give your Pom plenty of time to sniff around the crate and let him wander around it. Once he has completed his investigation and decided for himself it is safe, he will go inside. When he does, be sure to praise him and let him enjoy the treats.
No open-door policy here
The next time he goes into his crate, close the door and give him lots of praise.
Slowly, over the course of several days, extend the time he spends in the crate. This should help him transition into being comfortable with spending longer periods of time in his "den."
The 2-hour rule
The first time you leave your dog in his crate for a longer period of time, do not leave him in for more than 2 hours. If he whines or fusses, go ahead and ignore him. The last thing you want to do is encourage this type of behavior. By the time your pup is all grown up, he will see his crate as his safe place, his den, and one of his favorite places in your home.
The Indoor Meals Method
Place the crate
Place your pup's new crate in its permanent location and set it up to be as comfortable as possible for your pup. Leave the door open.
Go in for the treat
Show your pup one of his favorite treats and use it to lead him to the crate. Toss the treat all the way to the back of the crate. This way he must go all the way in if he wants the treat. Be sure to praise him when he goes in.
Set your pup's food bowl inside the crate with the door open. Make sure it is far enough back that your pup must go all the way in to reach it. Do this over the course of several days with the door open, then start closing the door. As soon as he is done, open the door and take him outside.
Start putting your pup in the crate for 30 minutes at a time while you go on about your business around the house. Make sure he has toys to play with.
Hitting your goal
Start extending the amount of time he spends in his crate and in time he will start to see it as his "den" or "safe place", one he wants to spend time in.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021