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….is one of the quickest ways to get your puppy house trained. Crate training a puppy makes use of your pup’s instinct not to dirty his den.
Crate training a puppy also has several other advantages. The crate…
- keeps your puppy and your furniture safe when you cannot supervise him
- provides a safe haven for your puppy to retreat and rest
- allows you to safely take along your dog in your car
- and often is a requirement by hotels which allow pets.
It’s important to know right from the start that the crate should never be used to discipline your puppy. It must be a place that he enjoys being in.
You should also be very careful not to abuse crating. Puppies require a lot of exercise, affection, and time for socializing. Too much crating will impair your puppy’s physical and emotional health.
Treat the crate as your puppy’s den and not his prison.
Crate Training a Puppy – Preparing the Crate
If you’ve bought a crate big enough to accommodate an adult dog, prevent your puppy from accessing the back portion of the crate. Why? you ask? If the crate is too big, your puppy still has ample space to eliminate it without it bothering him. Using the crate as a potty training aid will thus be totally ineffective.
The space that your puppy can occupy should be large enough for him to lie fully stretched out and a bit more. He should be able to stand up and turn around easily.
If your crate does not provide for moving the back wall, you can initially block the back of the crate with a cardboard box. As your puppy grows, you can replace it with a smaller box.
In the front portion of the crate lay out some blankets or put your puppy’s bed. Secure the door from accidentally closing. Put the crate in a room where your puppy can see or be with you like the kitchen. Right, you’re all set up. Your next step in crate training a puppy is to…..
….get your puppy to accept the crate as his den.
How to Get Your Puppy to Love His Crate
Your first step in crate training a puppy is to convince your puppy to enter his crate. The best way is to do this is by using his favorite treats…..
- Throw small bits of his treat near the entrance of the crate using the command “go crate” in a friendly and encouraging voice.
- When he goes near the crate to collect his treats, praise him
- When your puppy shows no fear going near the crate, throw a few treats inside the crate, but not too far inside. Use the phrase “go crate” as before. Praise him when he does go inside, cuddle him and play with him.
- Repeat this over a number of days until your puppy gladly enters his crate. You can also feed him inside.
- Once your puppy goes inside, playfully close the door, then open it immediately again. If the puppy isn’t distressed, keep the door closed for a minute or so remaining nearby.
- Steadily increase the time the door remains closed to about 30 minutes.
During this time never force your puppy inside or do something which may make him fear the crate. It’s important when crate training a puppy that he only associates positive experiences with his crate. If he gets frightened of or hurts himself on the crate, crate training your puppy will be an uphill battle.
Take it easy in the beginning. Crate training puppies takes lots of patience. Spend 5 minutes, a couple of times a day following the above steps until your puppy readily accepts his crate.
As soon as your puppy enjoys (well, at least tolerates) being in the crate, you can start potty training your puppy using the crate….
Steps for Potty Training a Puppy Using a Crate
When your puppy is at least 9 weeks old, potty training with the help of a crate may begin. Preferably not before since younger puppies have very limited bladder and bowel control. You don’t want your puppy getting used to eliminating in his crate.
Step 1: After your puppy has had sufficient exercise and has fully relieved himself, place him into his crate for a nap and close the door.
Step 2:After 60 minutes max, take your puppy outside on a leash to his designated potty area. Always accompany your puppy outside – yes, even in the cold and rain. If you don’t do this, you won’t know if the pup has done his business and won’t be able to praise him if he has. And your puppy won’t have learned anything!
Step 3:In a calm, friendly and encouraging voice repeat a command like “go potty” or “go peepee” several times. Your puppy will later associate this phrase with the act of relieving himself. Allow for about 5-10 minutes. Also, remember that puppies often relieve themselves more than once in one go. Don’t rush him.
Step 4: When your puppy starts to eliminate, praise him softly so as not to distract him. Immediately after your puppy has been successful, praise him enthusiastically and offer him a small treat. This should be something that he’s really crazy about such as dried liver. You can also use play or affection as rewards.
If your puppy has been unsuccessful place him back in the crate and after 15 minutes take him outside again.
As your puppy grows older and his bladder and bowel control improve you may gradually increase the time you confine your puppy to his crate. This should never be longer than 5 hours at a stretch. Remember that a puppy needs a lot of time for playing, socializing, and affection. If he doesn’t get that, his physical and emotional development will be affected negatively.
Crate Training a Puppy – What to Watch Out for
When crate training a puppy you should be aware that there are instances when your puppy shouldn’t be crated…..
- If the puppy is younger than 9 weeks old
- If he vomits or has diarrhea
- After he has eaten or drunk a lot
- If he hasn’t relieved himself before
- If he’s had insufficient exercise
- If it’s too hot
- If he’s already been crated for a total of more than 5 hours during the day
Crate Training a Puppy – How Do I React to Accidents?
Despite your best efforts ‘accidents’ in the house will still happen. After all your puppy is still learning to control his bodily functions. He’s also still learning what you expect of him.
If you discover that your puppy made a mess in the house, don’t scold or punish him. He’ll have no idea what he’s being punished for even if you take him to the place of the accident. At best he’ll be confused. At worst he may start to fear you. Both of which will be counterproductive to his potty training.
If you discover your puppy in the act, say NO! NO! firmly and take him to his potty area immediately. Praise him and reward him when he’s successful.
Clean up the mess thoroughly using an enzymatic or deodorizing cleaner to make sure that no smell remains.
Crate training a puppy can speed up his potty training considerably. At the same time be very, very careful that you don’t confine your puppy unnecessarily or for too long periods. Use it sensibly. Relax and have fun!