On a family outing to Whipsnade Zoo many years ago, I was looking forward to seeing the wolves up close and personal.  Well maybe not too close.  When I found the enclosure, I was disappointed because there were no wolves to be seen. Peering through the wire fence I noticed there was a large mound of earth. The wolves den. They had gone to ground probably sleeping peacefully oblivious to my wish to see them.

We can recreate this natural behavior for our dogs in our homes. Buy a crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in.  You might want a smaller one to begin with and graduate to a larger one as puppy grows. To begin with, put the crate somewhere where puppy can see the family. Add a nice blanket or bed, a couple of  safe toys and a fixed water bowl, leave the door open and put some nice treats in there.  When puppy is exploring under your supervision watch to see if he goes into the crate and praise him reassuringly – oh good boy.  Feed your puppy in his crate to help him get used to it.
My first night with Teddy I put him in his small crate next to my bed. If there was any stirring I would place my hand on top of the crate and he soon settled. In the morning I carried Teddy down to the garden to do his wee.
 Every dog is different but try to leave your puppy in the crate for short periods only.
Why crate train your puppy?
   1. Housetraining is easier to when you use a crate
   2. Puppy is safe from the danger of chewing wires etc
   3. Puppy has a safe place for ‘time out’ when you need it
   4. He will feel secure in his own little den
   5. You can feed him separately from you other dogs if you have more than one dog
   6.  Puppy can rest quietly if ill or injured
   7.  You can put the crate in the car for safe travelling
   8.  Later in the year, when there is scary fireworks, you can cover the crate with a blanket to make it more of a cosy, safe den for your puppy to retreat into
The crate should never be a place of punishment, it is your puppy’s safe space.  Teach your children to leave the puppy if he is in his crate, especially if he goes to sleep.