I'm getting a new puppy next week and need some suggestions about crate training. All the overly-long special snowflake details are inside.
A year and a half ago I adopted Eddie
my first ever dog. Since he was already a year old and came to us house trained Eddie was never crated. Now we are getting another GSD but this one is just a baby.
Although initially resistant I think that I am sold on the crate idea - I understand that crate training is the fastest, easiest way to house train a puppy; I think having the puppy crated will be a good idea until we are sure that she knows the rules of the house regarding what can and can't be chewed; and to make sure Eddie doesn't constantly harass her to play with him while we are not there to intervene. Basically my understanding of a dog crate is a way to keep a puppy out of trouble until they are properly trained and no longer need the crate - I can get with that idea but what I am not clear on is the execution of it.
1. What size crate should we get? The people at the pet store showed us the giant size $200 crate that has dividers to make it smaller while she is growing which seemed pretty wasteful to me. I envisioned getting a crate that will be big enough for the next five or six months by which point she should be responsible enough to not need to be crated. Travel is not factor for us.
2. What about at night? Eddie sleeps in our bedroom with the door closed, usually he sleeps in the bed with us unless it is too hot in which case he sprawls out directly on the cool tile floor or on a bathmat by the shower. Although bed privileges are something that Eddie earned over time we have come to love having him in the bed with us because he is very polite about waiting for permission to get up, staying at the foot of the bed, not taking up more than his fair share of the bed, and always getting down when asked. Can I just add the puppy to the mix and let her choose where she wants to be in the bedroom or do I have to bring her crate into the bedroom every night? Is there any reason she can't sleep in the bed?
3. Where in the house should the crate be located? Eddie has a "place" with an old blanket under a sideboard between the kitchen and dining room. This is where Eddie hangs out while we are eating and cooking and where he gets sent when we need him to calm down and not be underfoot. Space-wise this would be the most convenient place for a crate. When we are home the living room is where most of our time is spent and Eddie also has a dog bed there, which is the spot he seems to gravitate to when he is ready to just relax and nap. Although I have read that the crate should be somewhere that the puppy can feel included this would make the living room very cramped.
4. Will it be stressful to one or both of the dogs to be able to see and smell each other but not get to one another? There are no plans to crate Eddie but at the minimum the puppy will be crated when we are not home for the next few months.
I know that this question is very long and I thank you if you have read all the way down here. If there are any glaring omissions that you think I need to know about introducing a puppy to a house that already has an awesome well-trained dog in it please let me know. Also if you have a training program that does not involve a crate I am willing to hear about that as well.
I know that I am supposed to post pictures of the new puppy but Yahoo has locked me out of Flikr, so I cry your pardon till I can get that worked out