Crate Training in Brief
Training your puppy to use a crate is not cruel and unusual punishment! Quite the contrary. When puppy is crate trained properly before long he or she will consider the crate as a "den" and go their automatically when they are tired or just want to be alone.
A few basic rules of thumb:
- A crate should never be used as punishment.
- A puppy should never be confined to a crate for longer than 3 or 4 hours when you are not home.
- If you purchase a large crate that will fit your puppy when it is full grown, then you should partition off part of it so that puppy doesn't have too much room. If the crate is too large, puppy will use it to go potty.
- Move the crate from room to room with you and allow puppy to sleep in it's crate in your bedroom at night. This gives them a sense of security and they will settle down much more quickly knowing you are right there.
A key ingredient in crate training is to make it fun for the puppy. Do this by putting some treats in the crate and letting puppy find them. Toss the treat into the crate and when puppy goes in to get it, praise GOOD DOG....GOOD PUPPY! Once in a while when puppy goes into crate to retrieve the treat, close the door for a few minutes. If puppy is nice and quiet say GOOD PUPPY. However, if puppy is making a ruckus - IGNORE. When puppy settles down, say GOOD PUPPY and then open the crate door.
Remember...make this fun. It should never be a form of punishment!
Crate training is a wonderful way to help you housebreak your puppy. Puppies will avoid using their "den" as a place to go potty. Immediately upon taking puppy out of the crate bring it outside to relieve itself.....DO NOT stop to play with it first! Once puppy has relieved itself outside give lots of praise! Praise so much that your neighbors will think you have lost your mind!!! As soon as you feel confident that puppy is "empty" you can then return to the house and have some play time or whatever.
Remember....puppies have next to no bladder or bowel control. What goes in one end very quickly comes out the other. So when you feed them, immediately take them out to go potty and when they go LOTS OF PRAISE. When you take them out to potty use the same phrase each time. Something like "potty" or "hurry" works well.
As I mentioned above, you cannot restrict a puppy to a crate for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time when you are not with them. If you work away from home all day (as most people do) you could try to enlist a neighbor to come and take puppy out several times a day. There are also pet walkers you could hire to do this.
Working people should consider using an X-Pen in addition to a crate for during the day. The X-Pen can be set up in say the kitchen with the crate (with door open) in one corner of the pen. If no one will be taking puppy out during the day you will have to "paper train" in part of the X-Pen. Puppy then will have a larger area to exercise in and can still use his/her crate for taking naps.
Puppies should not be trusted to have free run of your home. There are too many things they can get into -- things that can hurt them and destroy your property at the same time. When you are busy you can either crate the puppy or tether its leash to you so that you are constantly aware of what puppy is doing. Use constant commands and phrases such as "settle down" or "easy" when puppy is acting too wild.
If you are busy and decided to crate puppy, try putting the crate in the same room with you. That way puppy doesn't feel like it's being punished and can keep an eye on you at the same time.
At bedtime put puppy's crate in the bedroom with you. Puppies that are allowed to sleep with their humans tend to settle down much more quickly. Plus...when puppy needs to go potty in the middle of the night you will be able to hear their call.
Crate training has many additional benefits. If you plan on taking your puppy/dog with you on vacations being able to tell a hotel/motel innkeeper that your dog will be in its crate when you are not in the room is a big plus!
Helen T. Redlus
More crate training info . . .
Why should I crate train my dog?
Why should I crate train my dog?
Crate training is the fastest and most humane method of housebreaking dogs. Have you ever seen a dog under a table, chair or bed? The reason is that dogs naturally want to seek shelter, even in a house. If you don't provide it, they will create it themselves in an effort to feel safe and secure. A crate serves as a den for your dog.
Crate Training is the fastest and most humane method of housetraining
What is crate training?
Like babies, puppies cannot control their bladders until they mature (usually between 3 and 6 months). Dogs have a natural instinct to avoid eliminating in their dens. Therefore, confining your puppy in his crate for the proper amount of time encourages him to "hold it" until you take him outside for a walk.
What about housebreaking older dogs?
It is never too late to crate train your dog! The number one reason dogs end up in shelters is behavior problems. Crate training, at any age, can help break bad habits and solve most of these problems.
How safe is crate training?
Crates are not just for training!
Dog crates are the best housetraining tool available. They provide a room for your dog while protecting your home furnishings from damage. However, even a crate isn't an absolute safe harbor for your pet. As per crate manufacturer’s warnings, you should always remove standard collars before placing your dog in a crate. The only collar we recommend as being safe when inside a crate is Premier's "KeepSafe" break-away collar. Otherwise, your dog is at risk for possible strangulation if his collar or ID tags become caught in the crate's bars. Did you know:
If your dog wears a collar in his crate, he is at risk for possible strangulation.
”¢ Put appropriate toys and treats inside the crate, which will entice him to go in on his own.
”¢ Feeding your dog in his crate can develop a positive association with it.
”¢ Give your puppy lots of praise when he enters the crate.
How do I stop my dog from whining or barking the crate? Again, make sure the crate is in a good location. Veterinarians and trainers recommend covering the crate to give your dog the privacy he needs to feel secure. If your dog can see you, he'll want to be with you outside the crate. A blanket or cover lowers the number of distractions your dog sees, which reduces barking and stress.