There are many reasons you might want to crate train
your new Scottie puppy. A crate can be invaluable
while you are potty-training or teaching your dog the
rules of the house. Crates are a great way to transport
your Scottie, and they can serve as a safe
place for your pup to escape to once they come to
accept it as their space.
When away from home your Scottie's crate
will provide security and familiarity.
Unfortunately, even though dogs are den animals and
they like having an area that’s all theirs, most won’t
automatically take to crates — and your pup can even
come to fear them if you don’t handle crate training in
the right way.
The good thing is that puppies don’t have any
preconceived notions about anything. As long as you
follow the below tips, your new Scottie puppy
should come to love their crate and may even start
going into it on their own when they want to rest or
Don't be fooled by your Scottie's size, they are less timid than some other breeds. They have independent natures, which means that you may both have a different idea about the use of crates. You must remember that you are the boss of your household, not them! Be firm! Once your Scottie puppy knows that you are in charge and there are rules to learn they will happily comply. They are not naughty.... they just want to be in charge!
1. Introduce their crate casually
The worst way you can introduce your puppy to the idea of a crate is to bring it home and lock your puppy inside it immediately. People don’t like being trapped against their will, and neither do dogs. Instead, you should initially treat the crate like it’s just another piece of furniture — but one that they can enjoy. At night time, I put their crate in a confined space (inside a playpen) you might use or small room like the laundry. I have a nice soft blanket in the crate for sleeping and newspaper over the floor outside of the crate. This way I can leave the door of the crate open for puppy to sleep in crate and come out at any time during the night to relieve themselves on the paper. Once puppy is not toileting through the night you can close the crate door at night time (I find this can be anywhere from 4 to 6 mths old) then you will not need the playpen or paper any more.
If your puppy refuses to go into the crate you can encourage them to check it out by placing favorite foods and toys near and inside the crate. The ultimate goal is to get them comfortable with going inside, and this is something that could take days. Be patient with the process. I use treats as a reward when they have gone into the crate, they soon get the idea that if they jump into the crate when asked, they will receive a reward.
2. I Use the crate for meal time
After puppy is willing to enter the crate, your next goal is to get them comfortable with staying inside for extended lengths of time. One of the best ways to do this (and create a positive association with the crate) is to start putting their food in the crate. I find this is especially useful when you have more than one dog as they have their own space for eating and there is no stealing anyone else's tucker!
Some dogs may not be willing to do this, though, so you can start with the food just inside the crate and slowly move it back with successive meals. They will quickly get the idea and start jumping into their crate as soon as you appear with their bowl.
3. Close the door
As soon as your dog is eating their meals while standing all the way inside the crate, it’s time to close the door. After they are done eating that first time, open the door immediately. You’ll leave them in longer and longer with each meal, adding just a few minutes every time.
It’s possible that your dog may whine. If this happens, open the crate immediately and don’t leave them in as long next time. However, if they whine again, wait until they stop before letting them out or you will teach them that whining equals open door.
4. Extend crate time
Once your dog is hanging out in their closed crate without signs of stress, it’s time to lengthen their stay. Use a favorite toy or treat to encourage them to enter the crate, then close it. Hang out by the crate for several minutes, then go into a different room for a few minutes so they get used to the idea of staying in the crate alone. When you return, don’t open the crate immediately. Instead, sit with them again for a few more minutes and then open the door.
Keep increasing the time as you do this until your dog is able to stay in the locked crate for half an hour without your presence. When they are able to do this, they are ready for you to leave them for short periods and possibly even sleep in the closed crate overnight. Make sure you keep the crate relatively nearby for overnight stays though. Puppies usually need to go to the bathroom overnight and you’ll want to be able to let them out. I find that puppies are not really able to last the entire night without a toilet break until they are about 5 to 6 months old.
5. Leaving and returning
The key here is to make crating seem completely normal and avoid excitement. Encourage your puppy to get into the crate and praise them when they do so, but keep it brief. When you come home, stay low-key and ignore any excited behavior that they show. Once they have given up their excited behaviour then give them your greeting when they are calm and quiet.