Crate Training (Option 1)
Before you crate-train, please be aware: a dog that is left in a crate all day long, gets let out in the evening after work for a few hours
and put back in the crate for the night can become neurotic, destructive, unhappy and noisy. If you work all day, it is recommended
that you find someone who can take your dog out for a long walk in the afternoon. Dogs are not fish. They need something to occupy
their minds. Dogs are den animals and like the crate, but even a den animal would go crazy if it was locked up all day long. Keep in
mind that a puppy can only physically hold it for so long before its body just cannot hold it any longer. Until the pup's bladder is fully
mature it will need to be taken out often.
You must be willing to invest time and energy for just a few short weeks in house training. The effort you put in now will last for the
rest of your pet's life.
The crate training method is as follows. Buy a crate and for the first three to four weeks keep your puppy in it when you are not with
him. Make sure the crate is not too big. It should be large enough for the puppy to stand up and easily turn around but no larger.
Dogs do not want to soil their beds and the use of a crate teaches them to control their urge to eliminate. You must maintain an
eagle-eye at all times. As soon as you see him pacing, sniffing around, and turning in circles, immediately take him outside. He is
telling you "I am going to go pee-pee somewhere, and this carpet looks like as good a place as any." NO, you do not have time to
put on your shoes, just go.
Be patient and do not rush the little guy. He may have to go several times in one "pit stop." Give him about 10 minutes before taking
him back inside. Do not play with him while you are on this mission. Let him know this is a business trip.
Make sure you take him out after every meal and play session BEFORE you put him back in his crate. Be consistent and establish a
schedule. Pay attention to your puppy's behavior so you can develop a schedule that works for you and the pup. When does your
puppy naturally defecate? In the morning? Ten minutes after eating? Around bedtime? You may have to make some compromises.
Be fair to your puppy. He cannot be expected to stay alone in his crate for endless hours and not relieve himself. During your work
days, you will need to have someone go to your home at least once (lunchtime is good) to let the puppy out and take him for a long
walk. Your dog is not a fish and he needs something to occupy his mind.
Make sure everyone who is involved in the housebreaking process is using the same spot in the yard and the same word. Everyone
should agree on the place they will take the puppy. The odor from the previous visits will cause the puppy to want to go in that spot.
Use a simple word like "outside" when taking your puppy to the chosen spot. Use this word consistently and later this word will help
build communication between the family and the dog. When you notice him going toward the door and you say "outside" he can say,
"Yup, that’s where I need to go."
Until your puppy is about 5 months old you will need to take him out frequently and keep that eagle-eye on him. But before you know
it, you are going to be able to trust and communicate with your new pet. And he will learn that when he pleases you by going out to
do his business, he gets more freedom in the house.
If you plan to take him for a walk, then he should do his eliminating at home, before you go. Many people take their pups for a walk,
and as soon as they eliminate, they bring the dog home, thus sending the message that they are going home because the dog
eliminated. If you want to start your walk right away, do not turn around and head home as soon as he poops.
After a half hour of play, crate him for a nap. Every hour (or so as he ages) take him out to pee. If he pees, give him play time, if not,
back into crate. Just remember prevention of mistakes, and rewarding for good behavior.
6 weeks - elimination every hour
2 months - pup should have 2 to 3 hours of control
3 months - 4 hours
4 months and up - 5 hours
Many young dogs can go all night at 3 months.
Always take the puppy out the same door, the one you are going to want him to signal at. Bells work great for some owners. Hang
bells on the door, and give them a kick every time you open the door. Some dogs can be quiet, and stand at the door and look at it,
some will let out a little yip, but others rely on you to see them standing at the door. So bells can be a marvelous tool. They will learn
to swat them to get the door to open. Others use doggy doors. But a young pup can never be sent out to pee, he must be taken out.
Is Crate Training Cruel?
Many people are concerned about whether it's cruel to leave their dog in a cage for any amount of time. Most dog trainers agree that
it is no crueler to leave your dog in a crate than it is to leave a baby in a playpen or crib. Crates allow dog owners the peace of mind
of knowing their dog is safe when they are not there to supervise.
Also, dogs are known to be den animals. They like having a safe and secure place to call their own. If crate training is done correctly,
crates can provide this safe haven. Dog owners often report that their dogs continue to seek out their crates long after house training
has been accomplished. For others, once the dog is able to be left alone for several hours without having an accident or becoming
destructive, they stop using the crate and allow their dogs free run of their homes while they are out.
Choose a Crate for Your Dog
There are several different types of crates to choose from, including a wire cage, a plastic pet carrier, and a soft-sided canvas or
nylon crate. The wire crate is the most commonly used. It allows your dog to see what is going on around him, and many have an
extra panel which allows you to make the crate bigger or smaller depending on the size of your dog. This type of crate is collapsible,
and it has a sliding tray in the floor which makes it easy to clean.
The plastic pet carrier is also a good option for crate training. This is the kind you most often see used for airline travel. The drawback
to this kind of crate is that it is enclosed on three sides, so it does not let in as much light as a wire crate. It is also a little harder to clean.
The soft-sided crates are a good option for dogs who are not big chewers. These are lightweight, so they are great to carry along
when you are traveling with your dog. The problem with the soft-sided crates is that a dog who likes to chew or scratch at the sides
will be able to break out. It is not a good choice for young puppies.
Whichever type of crate you choose to use, size is important. The crate should not be too large. You want your dog to have enough
room to lie down comfortably and turn around. If the crate is too big, your dog may use one area of the crate to sleep and another
spot to eliminate. Many of the wire crates are sold with a divider. This is perfect if you are crate training a growing puppy. The
divider allows you to confine your puppy to a small area of the crate, and then make the crate larger as your puppy grows.
Introduce Your Dog to the Crate
Crate training should be kept very positive. Introduce your puppy or adult dog to the crate slowly. Put something soft in the bottom of
the crate, along with some of your dog's toys. Throw some treats inside. Let your dog explore the crate at his own pace without
forcing him to go inside. Praise him and give him a treat when he goes in on his own. Until he seems comfortable with his crate, keep
the door open and let your dog wander in and out as he wishes.
Confining Your Dog in the Crate
Once your dog is comfortable going in and out of the crate, it is time to start getting him used to being confined. Throw some treats
in the crate, and once your dog is inside, close the door. Wait a minute or so, and as long as your dog is quiet, let him out of the crate.
Slowly extend the amount of time you leave your dog in the crate while you are at home until he is comfortable being confined in the
crate for up to an hour or more.
Once your dog is comfortable with being confined, begin to get him used to be left alone while in his crate. When he is calm in his
crate, step out of the room for a few minutes and then step back in. Gradually build up the amount of time you are out of the room
until your dog or puppy is comfortable being left alone in his crate for an hour or more.
The "Dont's" of Crate Training
There are a few simple rules to keep in mind to make crate training successful. First, never use your dog's crate to punish him. Your
dog should consider his crate a happy, comfortable, and safe place. If you use his crate to punish your dog, chances are he will be
fearful and anxious when left in it.
It is also important that you never let your dog out of the crate while he is whining or barking. He should be completely calm before
you release him. Opening the crate while he is barking or whining simply teaches him that if he makes enough noise, he will be let
out. Making this mistake can lead to many sleepless nights as you wait for your puppy to settle down.
Finally, never leave your dog crated for longer than he is physically able to hold his bladder or bowels. You cannot expect the
impossible. Puppies can usually hold it for no more than 3-4 hours. An adult dog who has never been house trained should also not
be left for longer than 3-4 hours. Older dogs may be able to hold it a little longer. Dogs should not be left crated for more than this
length of time without being taken out for exercise, playtime, and time to cuddle with you.
Paper Training (Option 2)
Unless you can monitor your puppy 24 hours a day, don't expect the house training process to be completed until your puppy is at
least 6 months old. It's normal for a young puppy to be a little 'input-output' machine. Since puppies are growing and developing
rapidly at this stage, they eat more food, burn up more energy and seem to need to eliminate constantly! They also have not yet
developed bowel and bladder control, so they can't 'hold it' as long as adult dogs.
House Training When You Are Not Home
Confine your puppy to a small, 'puppy-proofed' room and paper the entire floor. Put his bed, toys and food/water bowls there. At
first there will be no rhyme or reason to where your pup eliminates. He will go every where and any where. He will also probably play
with the papers, chew on them, and drag them around his little den. Most puppies do this and you just have to live with it. Don't get
upset; just accept it as life with a young puppy. The important thing is that when you get home, clean up the mess and lay down fresh
Passive House Training or Paper Training
While your puppy is confined, he is developing a habit of eliminating on paper because no matter where he goes, it will be on paper.
As time goes on, he will start to show a preferred place to do his business. When this place is well established and the rest of the
papers remain clean all day, then gradually reduce the area that is papered. Start removing the paper that is furthest away from his
chosen location. Eventually you will only need to leave a few sheets down in that area only. If he ever misses the paper, then you've
reduced the area too soon. Go back to papering a larger area or even the entire room. Once your puppy is reliably going only on the
papers you've left, then you can slowly and gradually move his papers to a location of your choice. Move the papers only an inch a
day. If puppy misses the paper again, then you're moving too fast. Go back a few steps and start over. Don't be discouraged if your
puppy seems to be making remarkable progress and then suddenly you have to return to papering the entire room. This is normal.
There will always be minor set-backs. If you stick with this procedure, your puppy will be paper trained.
House Training When You Are Home
When you are home but can't attend to your puppy, follow the same procedures described above. However, the more time you
spend with your puppy, the quicker he will be house trained. Your objective is to take your puppy to his toilet area every time he
needs to eliminate. This should be about once every 45 minutes; just after a play session; just after eating or drinking; and just upon
waking. When he does eliminate in his toilet area, praise and reward him profusely and enthusiastically! Don't use any type of
reprimand or punishment for mistakes or accidents. Your puppy is too young to understand and it can set the house training process
back drastically. Don't allow your puppy freedom outside of his room unless you know absolutely for sure that his bladder and bowels
are completely empty. When you do let him out, don't let him out of your sight. It is a good idea to have him on leash when he is
exploring your home. He can't get into trouble if you are attached to the other end of the leash. Every 30 minutes return your pup
to his toilet area. As your puppy becomes more reliable about using his toilet area and his bowel and bladder control develops,
he can begin to spend more time outside his room with you in the rest of your home. Begin by giving him access to one room at
a time. Let him eat, sleep and play in this room but only when he can be supervised. When you cannot supervise him, put him back
in his room.
Active House Training
The most important thing you can do to make house training happen as quickly as possible is to reward and praise your puppy
every time he goes in the right place. The more times he is rewarded, the quicker he will learn. Therefore it's important that you
spend as much time as possible with your pup and give him regular and frequent access to his toilet area.
Key to Successful House Training
Consistency and Patience. Never scold or punish your puppy for mistakes and accidents. The older your pup gets, the more he will
be able to control his bladder and bowels. Eventually your pup will have enough control that he will be able to "hold it" for longer and
longer periods of time. Let your puppy do this on his own time. When training is rushed, problems usually develop. Don't forget, most
puppies are not reliably house trained until they are at least 6 months old.
|Crate and Paper Potty Training
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