Use these guidelines when confining your puppy:
- Make the confined space a good place where good things happen.
- Feed the puppy in the confined space so he will associate the confines space with good things. Praise the puppy when he is eating so he connects the praise to food.
- Put indestructible toys in the space. Occasionally add a toy that allows space for treats like a Kong with a bit of peanut butter and kibble in it.
- Most naps should occur in the confined space. Make this a normal part of the routine, not just a place for punishment.
- If the confined space is in an area where the puppy can see you and you can see him, the puppy will be more likely to accept it and even go in there on his own when tired.
- Be sure to be aware of when he wakes up, as you will want to take him out to potty immediately. I find a baby monitor to be very helpful, especially with a puppy under 3 months old.
- If the puppy whines or barks in the confined space, don't take him out. This would reinforce the behavior that you don't want. Eventually he will settle. When he is calm and quiet for 15 seconds or more, praise him and take him out of the confined space to potty and have play time. The exception is when you think the puppy is trying to tell you that he needs to go outside to potty. In that case, say nothing, and carry or take him on a leash to his potty spot. Use your word that you associate with going potty. If he does potty, give him lots of praise. If he does not, without talking or eye contact, take him back inside and put him back in the confined space. You don't want to reward him for whining or barking. Wait to take him out of the confined space after he has been quiet for at least 30 seconds.