The success of the crate method is based on the den-dwelling instinct of dogs. Puppies consider a crate their den and will not relieve themselves in it unless it is absolutely necessary. The crate soon becomes the puppys 'room of his own' or retreat. He enjoys its security when he wants to nap undisturbed. It is handy for travel, to confine the puppy if he is ill, or just for general control.
An out-of-the-way spot in the kitchen is a good location for the crate. Choose an area that is free from drafts and not too close to a heat source. It is a good idea to confine your puppy to a restricted area in the house until he is trustworthy. The kitchen is usually recommended because it is the center of activity and the floor is generally tile or linoleum so it is easy to clean if there are accidents.
For bedding use a towel or a piece of blanket which can be washed. A puppy should not be fed in the crate and will only upset a bowl of water. The puppy may cry the first night or two as he adjusts to being alone in a new environment. This is normal. However, the crying may indicate his need to eliminate. Take him outside. If he does not eliminate return him to his crate, and do not provide attention.
To establish a crate routine for your puppy, close him in the crate at regular one to two hour intervals during the day (the times he chooses to nap will guide you). Close him in his crate whenever he must be left alone for a longer period of time. Give him a chew toy for distraction and remove collar and tags which might become caught in an opening. Take your puppy outside before play, when he awakens from a nap, after eating or drinking, before bedtime and before visitors arrive and before any activity which is likely to excite the puppy.
During the first week, your new puppy will be unable to go all night without eliminating. For this reason, do not feed him or give him water three to four hours before his bedtime. Set the alarm to take him out during the night. When he eliminates praise him and reward him with a small amount of drinking water. Work toward a morning feeding and watering schedule. After a week or so your puppy should be able to sleep through the night and make his first trip outside early in the morning. The goal in setting the alarm and in frequent trips outside is to help the puppy avoid making a mistake in his crate or in the house.