Crate training is proven to be the fastest, most cost effective method of instilling “good dog” behavior. A dog’s natural instinct is to keep the area in which she rests as clean as possible. Most dogs are very resistant to being near their own waste and therefore will make an extra effort to control their own elimination when confined to a crate. By the owner encouraging elimination in the proper place immediately after a dog is released from the crate, the pet quickly learns when and where to “take care of business.” This is a proven method of house training recommended by nationally known trainers.
WHY DO DOGS LOVE THEIR CRATE?
Dogs are, by nature, den animals and feel secure in small, enclosed spaces. Most dogs will seek out a place in your home that will mimic a den. You will often find them sleeping under a table or desk. Dog crates make excellent dens and can serve as a refuge, a hangout and a bedroom. It is very important that the dog crate is never used as punishment; the crate must always be regarded as a safe and special retreat. The most common misconception about a dog crate is that it is a cruel form of caging a pet. This is completely false, and in fact, a dog will actually find a crate to be a secure and safe sanctuary in the same manner as a wolf enjoys the comfort of a den for resting and eating.
When selecting a crate for a puppy, go ahead and get one that will fit the dog’s size when it is fully-grown. The size of your crate should be large enough for the puppy to walk in, stand up and turn around, no larger. If the crate is TOO large, the puppy may use the restroom in the unoccupied corner. Make sure the crate you purchase has a removable divider panel to allow you to adjust the crate to the size you need.
Try NOT to put food in the crate as it induces using the bathroom. You may add a small amount of water (especially for puppies) but keep in mind this induces urination.
It is recommended that NO bedding or newspaper be put in the crate. The puppy may use the restroom on these items, cover them up and will not learn quickly.
TIPS TO CRATE TRAIN YOUR PUPPY
Your crate should be placed in a “people” area such as the kitchen, family room, or bedroom so your pet will be able to interact with his “pack”. Keep the crate away from drafts or direct heat. You may also want to put a blanket over the crate at night.
Remove any collars or tags before placing the puppy in the crate to prevent possible strangulation.
Allow your dog to explore the crate on his/her own. You can toss favorite toys or treats inside and show interest in the crate to encourage the puppies’ curiosity. Leave the door open during the introduction period, NEVER force your dog into her crate and ALWAYS praise her anytime she enters on her own. If the puppy barks or cries while inside her crate, reassure her and wait for her to settle down before allowing her out of the crate. You do not want her to associate negative behavior with being released from the crate.
In the beginning of training your puppy, take them to the same area outside. This will help the puppy associate where to use the restroom. Also, pick the puppy up and carry them outside in the beginning, this will prevent “accidents” on the way. GENERAL CRATE TRAINING SCHEDULEHere is an example of a “general schedule” you may follow to better help you and your puppy. Puppies between two – four (2 –4) months may need to eat three (3) meals per day depending on activity. Smaller puppies under three (3) pounds need to be feed every few hours to prevent hypoglycemia (Refer to page four (4) regarding hypoglycemia). If no one is able to come home for lunch, modify the schedule, place the puppy in an isolated area such as the kitchen or bathroom, and skip the afternoon schedule. Keep in mind that crate training can take days or weeks depending on your dog’s age, temperament or past experience.
7:00 Take puppy outside (DO NOT wait until after you’ve begun your morning routine)
7:15 – 7:30 “Kitchen playtime”
7:30 – 8:00 Give puppy food and water, place puppy in crate (Allow 15-20 minutes for digestion)
8:00 Take puppy outside
8:15 Place puppy in crate
12:00 Take puppy outside
12:15 – 12:30 “Kitchen playtime”
12:30 – 1:00 Give puppy food and water, place puppy in crate (Allow 15-20 minutes for digestion)
1:00 Take puppy outside
1:15 Place puppy in crate
6:00 Take puppy outside
6:15 – 6:30 “Kitchen playtime”
6:30 – 7:00 Give puppy food and water, place puppy in crate (Allow 15-20 minutes for digestion)
7:00 – 8:00 Take puppy outside
8:00 – 9:00 “Kitchen playtime”
9:00 Return puppy to crate
11:00 Take puppy outside
11:15 Return puppy to the crate for the remainder of the evening
ITEMS OF CONSIDERATION
Modify the schedule to fit your lifestyle.
If family members will be gone for more than eight (8) hours, EXPECT “accidents.”
Praise/encourage your puppy when he/she does something good.
Correct your puppy while catching him/her “in the act.” DO NOT rub their nose in any “accidents”.
PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE IS THE KEY!!!