Cozmo’s introduction to crate training took place the morning I picked him up and prepared to leave the breeder’s residence. Cozmo resisted being placed into the puppy size crate inside my vehicle and then briefly cried, screamed and carried on. By the time we reached the end of the breeder’s drive, Cozmo had quieted down. A few miles down the road I took the opportunity to take a peek into the crate and found Cozmo sound asleep.
The trip home was approximately 500 miles and almost an eight-hour drive. Inside his crate, Cozmo had no potty accidents, no tummy issues, and experienced no car sickness. A lot of people are amazed by this but I confidently had expected to have no issues. My confidence level was based on the following factors:
- German Shepherd’s are smart
- I paid extra for the alpha male in the litter
- I was placing my puppy into an appropriately sized crate
- I planned on making frequent stops
Along the way, we made four stops for potty, play, and water – no food until we made it home. After each stop, Cozmo was placed back into his puppy crate and each time he fussed something fierce before settling down and taking a snooze.
From the start, when placing Cozmo into his crate, I have been consistent with the commands “kennel” and “good kennel” and always given a food treat once inside. I have also ignored barking, howling and whining fits when first placed into the crate. Barking, howling and whining in the crate during the middle of the night, early morning hours, or after a nap initiates a swift trip outdoors for a potty break.
The picture in this post illustrates Cozmo’s initial feelings towards crate training.
Cozmo and I are three weeks into our journey together and his crate has been integrated into our daily routine. Car rides are not an issue, he willingly enters the crate on his own in exchange for a yummy treat, and initial protests are becoming fewer and farther between. Bedtime in the crate is a routine that has not been an issue from first night home.
Until Cozmo is through the antics, energy and chewing phases of puppyhood, the trusty crate will keep the house intact and everyone safe and sane.
*Originally posted February 22, 2012*