Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for any dog lover and we would like to think that we’ll be the very ‘best’ owner that dog could’ve hoped for! We’ll provide the best of foods, plenty of fresh water, lots of toys and play with it after we return home from a hard day on the job. So that night you set your clock to get up early the following day to be able to have adequate time to care for the needs of the puppy. As soon as the alarm goes off you go through your calculated regime ending with a kiss on the pups head as you put him/her in the crate. Out the door you go promising to return that night, and then the new baby is left alone for the rest of the day.
Immediately the screaming, crying, and panting begins as the puppy realizes that he is totally alone. In the animal world a baby left behind is devastated as he intuitively knows that this means the end of him. There is no momma or daddy to afford him any protection from real or imaged predators. Thus, he screams and screams until he falls asleep in totally exhaustion. When he later awakens, the scenario replicates itself. You have caused your precious new puppy to live in a hell that you yourself could not tolerate. Think about the horrible experiments that were conducted years ago on newborn babies. Some were treated normally while the others had love, affection and physical stimuli omitted in their first months of life. The “rejected” ones grew up quite abnormal and remained so the rest of their lives.
We aknowledge the needs of dogs to learn about crate training. Indeed, most dogs learn to love the comfort of a crate. However, if left in the restrictive crate with no mental or physical stimulation, the dog will more than likely develop mental and physical issues due to lack of socializing skills. Yet, there is another way. With the help of an exercise pen which can be place around the crate, you offer the opportunity for the dog to have a desirable place to relax and sleep (blankets in the crate) while also providing an area outside the crate heavily layered with newspaper, to pee and poop. In this newspapered, outside area you can place many of the new toys on the market that are designed to mentally and physically stimulate the animal. You may even place the pen and crate near a window to provide exposure to sunshine, new sights and audible stimuli.
Will you be a friend to your new baby, or will you be the foe? That is what it boils down to. For more information and suggestions, an excellent book to read on this subject is Carol Lea Benjamin’s “Latchkey Dog” which can be found online from Dogwise and Amazon.
Remember these first months of life with your new friend may seem a bit taxing, but the reward for going the extra mile does last a lifetime.