Puppy Crate Training
The natural way to house train a new puppy
Although many people feel it is cruel to crate a puppy or a dog, many professional trainers believe that crate training is by far the easiest and most natural way to house train a new puppy. Dogs, whether domestic or wild, will naturally find a den or safe area to sleep. In the wild, the mother dog keeps the den clean until the pups are old enough to venture outside on their own to defecate or urinate. Puppies learn from their mother that they shouldn’t soil their sleeping area. Domestic dogs will display similar behaviour. While still in the whelping box, the mother dog will clean up after her pups. As the puppies grow older, they will crawl away from their sleeping area to an area they choose as the potty area and eliminate there. Like their wild counterparts, domestic puppies are innately predisposed to not soil the area where they sleep.
To be successful, a good crate-training programme uses positive reinforcement. The crate should be a comfortable and inviting place for the puppy. To accomplish this, the crate can be lined with a soft towel or padding. Also, your puppy should want to enter the crate.
Luring is the fastest way to associate the crate with being a good place to go. To lure the puppy into the crate, use small treats. When the puppy goes into the crate to get the treat and explore the new area, leave the door open to let it come out as it wishes.
Continue to use this process until the puppy enters the crate on its own for the treat.
Be sure to praise the puppy gently while it is in the crate and associate a word or phrase for going in the crate. Phrases such as “go to your room” work well. Use the association word or phrase as you are putting the treat into the crate and the puppy is following in.
Repeat this procedure several times to get your puppy used to going into his crate.
Time is important
The amount of time the puppy spends in the crate is extremely important. Because puppies have poor bladder and bowel control, they should not spend any more than four to five hours in the crate at a time, with the exception of sleeping in the crate during the night. Below is the crate-training schedule I recommend to those who want to use this friendly method of potty training:
Carry your puppy out of its crate and outside to toilet. It is important that you remain with the puppy. If you go inside, the puppy might be more concerned with following you instead of going to the toilet. Also, it is very important that you praise your puppy for going to the toilet in a designated location. Allow your puppy to play for a few minutes. If there is no fence around your garden, be sure to put your puppy on a lead so it can’t run away. Bring your puppy back inside and give it it’s breakfast. After each feeding, you should carry the puppy back outside to go to the toilet.
Follow this schedule for seven to 10 days. After this time period, reward the pup with more time outside of its crate. If you have to leave the puppy alone for any length of time, it should be placed in its crate. It will learn that the crate is its safe place to den while its master is away.
There are a few precautions that you should follow during crate training:
Puppies that are properly potty trained make better pets that all family members can enjoy and are more likely to be kept permanently by their original owners. By using positive and consistent training methods, a new dog owner will find that training is not only effective but rewarding as well. Crate training a new puppy will give it a good start in its new “forever” home. Remember, good dog training is not expensive…it is priceless.