I was curious when crate training, should I have the puppy in the crate through out the day, even if I'm home? I'm not sure how the whole thing works when I'm mostly home.
I work at a shelter and this is the handout we give to new adopters. It's from Patricia McConnel. She is a behavioral expert that has written many books on puppy and dog behavior. She is a great resource. Here is her advice on crate training...
Crate Training Your Dog
“Way to Go” Karen B London, Ph.D, Patricia B McConnel, Ph.D
If your pup is hesitant about going inside, put the treats on the lip of the crate and gradually toss the treats farther and farther toward the back. Don’t shut the door, just let him run in and out as he pleases. Do this three to five times in a row so that your dog associates going into the crate with a fun game, rather than the beginning of being trapped. Repeat this exercise every couple of hours during the day. Once your dog happily charges into the crate, begin to shut the door for just a second after he enters it. After a few more session of that, toss in a treat shut the door, then feed your dog through the gate.
The next step is to leave him in the crate with a stuffed Kong to keep him busy. Once he’s involved with licking out the food, walk away, only to return in about 30 seconds (before he has had a chance to lick up all the food), open the door, and encourage him to come out. With repetition, he will learn to love being left in his crate and he will be happy to be in there for a long enough time to finish what he’s doing.
Other ways to help your pup feel comfortable in his sleeping area are to line it with a towel that you or his littermates slept on, a t-shirt that smells like you, or something else soft and fuzzy to make it cozy. These soft cloth objects help many puppies to cope with being alone at night, but some puppies will just chew them up, so they may not work for every dog. Some puppies prefer crates that are covered and some prefer them uncovered. If you get a wire crate, you can try experimenting by draping the crate with a sheet or towel to see if your puppy likes it better covered or uncovered.
You’ll also want to put your pup in the crate when he’s sleepy, so that he gets in the habit of sleeping in it. This part is really easy-puppies have on/off switches and after playing like maniacs, will slump down like a rock in water and go to sleep in less than a minute. As soon as you see signs that your pup is about to nod off encourage him to walk into his crate and sleep there. If you find him already asleep, then carry him to it and put him inside it as quietly as you can.
Use your pups crate both at night and any time during the day when you can’t be watching him or have him outside. At night, pups settle best if they sleep in the same room as you, where they can hear and sell you. Remember that your pup may have never been alone in his life, so it helps to ease the transition by crating him close to you at night. Our preference is for the dog’s crate to e in the same room where you sleep at night, but if it’s more convenient, the crate can be in other parts of the house during the day. It’s best if the crate is not in a high traffic area of the house so that the pup isn’t disturbed by people passing by. Also, don’t put the crate by the window-from a human perspective it seems that it would be more pleasant, but often it just over stimulates and frustrates dogs. Do pick a quiet place where your pup can nap.
I agree with Jennstairs. Anything by Dr. Patricia McConnell is a great resource.
Since you asked specifically about how long your puppy should be in the crate, check out this guide from the San Francisco SPCA. The length of time your puppy can stay in the crate depends on how old it is. https://www.sfspca.org/resource/crate-training-puppy/
When you're home, as long as the puppy is in the same room with you and you're watching him, he doesn't need to be in the crate. You need to be vigilant about watching him to make sure that if he starts chewing on something you can redirect him to one of his chew toys and if he starts sniffing around like he has to go potty (or starts to go potty), you can quickly scoop him up and run him outside to potty there instead (and praise/treat him when he does). When you're distracted or doing something where you can't watch him, put him in his crate with a Kong or chew toy and comfy blanket. The SF SPCA guide gives step by step instructions to help him learn to love his crate.
Good luck! Your puppy is adorable!
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