A new puppy is a fun, playful, cute, and often messy addition to the family. Don’t be nervous though – a little bit of training can go a long way!
Getting your puppy ready for a puppy play pen can help them know when high energy is appropriate and when they need to relax. It can also make a big difference in house training!
Cesar Millan, a well-known dog trainer, author, and speaker with a nationally televised show, has a lot of wisdom to share about puppy training. Here are his best tips!
Start Right Away
The sooner you start getting your dog ready for a puppy play pen, the better! A lot of dog owners spend a lot of time worrying about toys, leashes, and beds, and forget to start obedience right away.
From day one, set yourself up as the leader of the pack. Use your energy, rules, and consistency to train your puppy to look up to you. As you become the leader in your home, the dog will learn to listen to you and obey you.
The first step is usually housebreaking. As you housebreak your puppy, take him or her to the same safe, quiet location every day. Dogs don’t want to use the bathroom in their dens, so as you acclimate your new pup, they will pick up house training naturally.
Use Up Energy is Useful Ways
A puppy play pen or a crate indoors won’t help you puppy behave if you aren’t using up energy. Puppies need consistent play and walking to exhaust their energy.
When you walk and play with your puppy regularly, you’ll also have fewer behavioral issues. Play prepares pups for adult life by helping them develop social and physical skills they need.
If your puppy bites or nips, yell “Ow!” and refuse to play if it continues. This mimics the bite inhibition process that naturally happens as a young dog grows up with his or her mother and litter mates.
Introduce the Puppy Play Pen Casually
The first step in play pen training is to get the right size pen. Then, in order to ensure that your pup is comfortable with a puppy play pen, you want to introduce the crate in a calm, informal way.
Don’t use the play pen as punishment or a trap. Instead, treat it like any other furniture with your dog.
Initially, put the play pen in an area that’s easy for your puppy to access. Add a couple of toys and soft blankets. Leave the door open for a while, so the pup learns to go in and out without concern.
Be patient with the process. Bringing a new, energetic pup home and immediately locking the dog up is a recipe for an unhappy relationship.
Use the Play Pen for Meals
All dogs love food, and your new family member is no exception. If you use the puppy play pen for feeding time, your pup will learn to associate it with good things happening.
This will help your dog start to spend more time in the play pen. If the pup doesn’t want to go in, start with the food near the door. Over time, you can slowly move the bowl further back, so the puppy has to go further in to eat.
The goal is to encourage your dog to spend positive time in the pen. Continue to keep the door open so the puppy can go in and out as desired until the dog is quite comfortable.
Slowly Increase Door-Closed Time
After your puppy is used to eating in the play pen, try closing the door during meal time. The first few times, open it immediately after the dog finishes eating.
Over time, leave the pup in longer each time. Add a few minutes each meal, and avoid coddling the puppy or creating any bad habits.
You want to be alert for signs of discomfort, such as whining or barking. However, avoid opening the door immediately, so the dog doesn’t think that making noise means they get out.
Practice Non-Food Pen Time
After your dog is comfortable spending time in the puppy play pen during meals, start to expand the time in the pen. Use toys to encourage the puppy to enter, then sit by the play pen a few minutes.
You can mix in time that you’re not in the room as well. By teaching the dog that he or she is secure and safe even if you’re not there, you can reduce anxiety about separation.
The initial goal is to reach a half-hour of calm play pen time. From there, you can try having the pup sleep in a closed pen overnight. Be sure to listen for signals he or she needs to go out!
Use the Play Pen When You Leave
Once the process has reached the point that your dog sees the crate as completely normal, you can start to use the play pen when you go out of the house. When you get home, stay calm to encourage the dog to be calm as well.
When you return and open the play pen, you can praise and encourage your puppy. However, avoid making the play pen exit into a big deal. You want to promote the idea that being in the play pen is just as good as being outside it.
Ready to Get Started with a Puppy Play Pen?
If you’re planning to bring a new puppy home soon, don’t delay in getting your puppy play pen. The sooner you begin the training, the better!
Play pens are incredibly versatile. You can use them for housetraining, separation anxiety, and to curb destructive behavior. Don’t forget that a play pen can be great to use outdoors as well as indoors!
If you’re interested in more information about how to choose the perfect play pen for your puppy, we are here to help. Contact us today with any questions you have!