You may have just brought your adorable, new puppy home. This is an exciting time for you and your family. As a new responsible dog owner you probably did some research to pick the perfect breed that will easily fit into your lifestyle. Maybe you chose a friendly Chihuahua lap dog. Or possibly you and your family decided on a beautiful Golden Retriever or maybe a Yorkshire Terrier. There are so many nice breeds to choose from when deciding to buy a dog. Whatever breed of dog you chose, you more than likely bought most of your puppy supplies already and did more research to decide on a specific veterinarian for your new puppy.
I bet you had some fun coming up with a cute name for your new puppy, such as Ashley, Snowflake or Missy. You may now be in the process of reading informative books about puppy care and dog training. There are many excellent articles and even several videos about caring for your new puppy or adult dog, relating to nutrition, health, safety, grooming and training for your dog.
As a good dog owner, you probably already made the inside and outside of your home puppy proof. You have recently tried to make everything extremely safe for your new puppy and now you have realized that even if you are home the majority of the time, you may not be able to watch over your puppy every single minute of the day. If you happen to be able to work from home, or you are a stay-at-home mom, or maybe you are retired, you will probably still need to go out of the house routinely for some errands or appointments. After reading some of your books on puppy care, you may have gotten some ideas about using a safe dog crate or dog pen for your puppy while you temporarily need to leave the home for an hour or two while doing your errands, like grocery shopping, picking up the kids from school, or going to doctor's appointments.
But, if your circumstances are different and you routinely have to be out of the house for several hours at a time, you may have to change your schedule, hire a pet sitter, or take your dog to a doggie daycare facility. The idea behind using a dog crate is to be able to use it for a few hours at a time. For example, I recently read that puppies under six months of age shouldn't stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time.
Your new puppy is probably a lively, little puppy that you will want to keep safe, healthy and happy. Dog crates have some effective use in dog care and training. A safe and appropriate dog crate can be used when you are not available to watch over your puppy for a short time. A dog crate can be like an indoor dog den for your dog. It can be your dog's quiet, safe place for him to go if he wants to relax and curl up and take a nice nap.
Dog crates are often used for housetraining purposes. The idea behind using the crate method is based on the theory that dogs do not like to soil the area where they sleep or eat. Chihuahuas are very intelligent dogs, but you may need to be patient and consistent when you are housetraining them. Crate training can sometimes take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age and temperament. The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and positive. A crate should never be used for punishment. If your puppy definitely does not like the dog crate at all after you have tried your best, you may wish to try a dog pen, which is somewhat bigger than a crate.
The dog crate used for your Chihuahua puppy should be big enough for your puppy to be able to easily stand up and lie down and get comfortable. Dog crates and dog pens come in different sizes and can be purchased at most pet supply stores or pet supply catalogs. You may decide to place a safe, comfortable, washable dog blanket in the crate. Your Chihuahua may appreciate the cozy warmth of the blanket. You may wish to take your puppy's collar off while he is in the crate for safety reasons. It is helpful for your puppy if you keep the crate in the room where you are going to be in so that your puppy will still have your company and not be lonely, if at all possible. Your puppy will hopefully learn to think of his crate as his very own special place, almost like his own doghouse or den to go where he can rest and enjoy some quiet time.
A nice feature is that the crate is very portable. You can help to make the time that your Chihuahua puppy spends in his crate enjoyable. You can easily take it from room to room with you. Puppies need love and attention from their owner, so it may be a good idea not to leave your puppy inside the crate for longer than one hour at a time during the day, if possible. It is very important that at night you can have the crate near your bed where your puppy can definitely see you and let you know when he may need to go outside to go to the bathroom.
Puppies may need to go to the bathroom every two to three hours or more during the day when they are young. The time span will increase as your Chihuahua puppy gets a little older. Puppies will usually be ready to go to the bathroom when they first wake up in the morning, after eating and drinking and also after playing.
You may feed your puppy inside the crate at times, or offer your puppy his favorite treats or safe toy inside the crate, so he gets the idea that it can be enjoyable to be in his crate. When he is done eating, carry your puppy outside close to the area where you want him to go to the bathroom. Try to use the same approximate area every time, so your Chihuahua puppy gets into a familiar routine. After your puppy goes to the bathroom outside you may want to praise him for doing good. Then, when you go back inside you may want to offer him a treat, while having him walk back into his crate.
It is important to establish a daily time schedule for your puppy to eat his meals and also his routine schedule to go outside. After your puppy is housetrained, he may voluntarily use his crate to sleep in at night or to take some naps in during the day.
If you plan on using the crate for when you leave the house for short periods of time to do errands, a good tip is to make your departures in a calm manner. You can praise your Chihuahua by giving him a treat for entering the crate, and then leave the house quietly. Crates can provide a sense of comfort and security. Your Chihuahua may think of his comfortable crate as his special cozy den. You may wish to read Crate Training : The Humane Society of the United States. You can also read Crate Training Your Puppy.
You may want to check out the The Ultimate Chihuahua Care Handbook which includes information about the history and characteristics of the Chihuahua and lots of tips on how to properly care for the Chihuahua.
Here are some examples of dog crates, dog pens and a crate training book below.